Oregon State University
Skip navigation

Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

New Wellness and Counseling Program Serves Many Needs

July 3rd, 2017

Alex Rowell had a busy year as the first-ever counselor and wellness coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine. He lectured in the third-year Practice Management class, coordinated three guest lectures, served on a PVMA wellness panel, had private appointments with dozens of DVM students, and gave a presentation to hospital staff on compassion fatigue.

In addition to providing in-person counseling to faculty, staff and students, Rowell also focused on making a long-term impact on the CVM culture in general. One step he is taking toward a culture shift is the dissemination of information on good nutrition. “I don’t think I would have been very popular if, right off the bat, I took everyone’s Red Bulls and iced coffee [out of the vending machines],” he says “Mainly, I just want to bring awareness to healthy decision-making and awareness of certain non-healthy food and drink options. For example, an 11-ounce Red Bull energy drink has 48.5 grams of sugar in it when the recommend sugar intake for adults is about 25 grams per day.”

Rowell also writes a Wednesday Wellness email to share the latest research and useful information on topics like getting enough sleep, finding time to exercise, and treating yourself with kindness. His online survey revealed that a large majority of the college found these emails helpful.

All this hard work is not without rewards. “When I arrived last August, I was not sure what this position would look like, but I have really enjoyed meeting with faculty, staff and students who are so passionate about their work and education.” He has been assisting some of the students throughout the entire year and really enjoys that. “To see them grow, not just as professionals, but as people is truly amazing,” he says. “I am amazed at how brilliant, motivated, empathic, loving, and funny our students are.”

With a program that is so new, Rowell is on the lookout for ways to keep improving it. “One thing I got from the surveys I have done is that yoga is really popular here at the college, so I want to bring that back.” He is looking for a certified yoga instructor who can conduct onsite classes next school year. He also wants to provide more flexible office hours. “This positon was created to meet the needs of the students, so if someone can only meet for 15 or 30 minutes that it totally fine.” He also would like to collaborate with faculty at the college. “The faculty I have met have been very nice and welcoming, but as a mental health profession in a veterinary medicine world, sometimes I feel like a fish out of water.”

Dean Susan Tornquist worked with OSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to create Rowell’s position. “Having Alex on our staff adds important support for students in maintaining their emotional, mental and physical health,” she says. “The feedback we’ve gotten, after Alex being here almost one year, is that he is serving an important role in the College and students very much appreciate the attention we are giving to their well-being.”



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.

Recent posts


July 2017
  • Categories

  • Popular Tags