Following a national search, Joel Schwartzkopf has been named executive director of Cougar Health Services (CHS) at WSU Pullman. He begins his position on Oct. 12.

Schwartzkopf most recently served as interim associate executive director of Colorado State University’s Health Network. He has worked in college health and wellness for the past five years, serving as the immediate past president of the Rocky Mountain College Health Association and co-chairs the American College Health Association’s Leadership Institute.

Schwartzkopf has been a licensed physician’s assistant (PA) since 2006 and has practiced in urgent care and ER medicine. Prior to becoming a PA, he worked as a paramedic, firefighter, and served as a medical officer in the Army National Guard.

Ellen Taylor, associate vice president for student engagement in the Division of Student Affairs, said she is excited that he brings experience both as a provider and as an administrator.

“Accessible and quality healthcare is a critical part of the student experience,” Taylor said. “I am excited about Joel’s passion for working closely with students and his deep commitment to ensuring they receive the best health care possible.”

Schwartzkopf said he is a firm believer of WSU’s land-grant mission and its commitment to access, diversity, and inclusion. As a result of COVID-19, he said the importance of having an integrated approach to campus health and wellness is more evident than ever before.

“Cougar Health Services will play a vital role in ensuring our students remain healthy and successful, not just throughout this pandemic, but as we recover and continue our drive to become one of the nation’s premier public research universities,” he said. “I’m honored to be a part of this team.”

The executive director position oversees a wide array of health services including student-oriented primary medical care, mental health and counseling services, vision services, pharmacy services, health promotion and educational outreach, and campus-based community health services. Cougar Health Services serves approximately 20,000 students on the Pullman campus.

Among its responsibilities is providing a vision for CHS that promotes holistic health for all students, further operationalizing the integration of services, adapting CHS’s financial infrastructure to support healthcare delivery and sustainable growth, serving as a community leader that promotes the importance of student health for student success, and inspiring and supporting growth of staff and the CHS organization.

Reflecting CHS’s far-reaching impact on campus, search committee co-chair Matthew Jeffries, who also serves as director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, said representatives from a wide variety of areas and groups were involved. The search committee included three students, one of which, Jhordin Prescott, served as a co-chair. Among the many areas represented were WSU Academic Affairs, Athletics, Police, Whitman County Coroners Office, and Pullman Regional Hospital.

Prescott, a senior majoring in political science and philosophy, is particularly excited about Schwartzkopf’s passion for serving underrepresented communities. It is an asset that will help him connect with all WSU students at a time when it has never been more critical.

“He will bring a lot of energy and fresh ideas which are especially needed now as the pandemic continues to bring about much uncertainty,” Prescott said. “From a student perspective, he is a perfect fit for the position.”

Schwartzkopf holds an MBA from Colorado State University, an MPAS from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and a BS from Creighton University. He is a native of Laramie, WY and enjoys hiking and running.