Cornell University

Mental Health at Cornell

Resources for student & campus well-being

MHR History

In September of 2018, President Pollack announced that the university would conduct a comprehensive review of student mental health.

In response to the President’s call for a Comprehensive Review of Student Mental Health, the Campus Health Executive Committee (CHEC) oversaw the development of a proposal for the review. During the Fall 2018 semester, students, staff, and faculty, including the members of the university-wide Coalition on Mental Health, provided input regarding the mental health needs of the campus community that should be examined in the review. The consensus was that the comprehensive review should include two broad themes:

  • Exploring how best to meet the growing clinical needs of students facing mental health problems
  • Identifying ways in which the campus environment / campus culture might change to better support student mental health

The CHEC then approved a plan for a comprehensive review of clinical and campus mental health issues (including suicide prevention) to be conducted by a combination:

  • A internal university Mental Health Review Committee comprised of staff, students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional), and faculty
  • An External Review Team, comprised of professional evaluators from different professional backgrounds

The process of preparing for and conducting the Mental Health Review spanned many months.

Internal Committee

Tasks

The internal or Mental Health Review Committee (MHRC) was tasked with examining the Cornell campus context, including issues pertaining to the academic and social environment, climate, and culture related to mental health. The MHRC shared its findings with the External Review Team which was charged with a comprehensive review of clinical services and campus-based strategies.

The committees reviewed previous self-studies, external reviews, surveys, and other existing data.  

In the fall, the MHRC began a series of listening tours and focus groups to engage the Cornell community and provide data to the External Review Team submitted its findings via a final report in spring 2020.

Members of the Mental Health Review Committee (MHRC)
Co-Chairs
  • Marla Love: At the time of the Mental Health Review, Marla Love (now Dean of Students) was the senior associate dean of students in the Office of the Dean of Students, Student and Campus Life where she oversees the LGBT, Asian and Asian American, and Women’s Resource Centers, First-Generation and Low-Income, Undocumented and DACA student support, Student Development Diversity Initiatives, and the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making. She also co-chairs the Bias Assessment and Review Team. Marla has worked in student affairs for 15 years at various institutions across the country including Scripps College and Phillips (Andover) Academy, most recently serving as the director of Graduate and Professional Student Affairs at Azusa Pacific University. In her various roles, Marla has served as a deputy Title IX coordinator, Dean-on-Call, Behavior Intervention Team member, Mental Health First Aid trainer, sexual assault response team, and advisor to a student peer sexual assault hotline.
  • Miranda Swanson: Miranda Swanson is associate dean for Student Services in Cornell Engineering where she oversees the offices of undergraduate admissions, advising, engineering learning initiatives, the registrar and the career center. Miranda came to Cornell from the University of Chicago where she spent 16 years working in student affairs, most recently serving as dean of students in the Physical Sciences Division, but prior to that working for 11 years with graduate students in the Humanities Division. At the University of Chicago, Miranda also served as a Dean-on-Call, Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call, and Bias Response Team member.
General Body
  • Conor Bednarski ‘21, Law School
  • Marcus Brooks, Cornell Team and Leadership Center coordinator, Cornell Outdoor Education, Student and Campus Life
  • Tanzeem Choudhury, associate professor, Computing and Information Sciences
  • Chelsea Kiely ‘20, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Reba McCutcheon, associate dean of students, Office of the Dean of Students, Student and Campus Life
  • Laurence Minter ‘21, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Manisha Munasinghe, graduate student, Computational Biology
  • Nana Sarpong ‘20, Dyson School of Applied, Economics, Business and Management
  • Dawn Schrader, associate professor, Communications, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Catherine Thrasher-Carroll, mental health promotion program director, Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, Cornell Health, Student & Campus Life
  • Rob Thorne, professor, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences

External Review Committee

Members of the External Review Team
Chair
  • Michael Hogan, PhD, is consultant and advisor at Hogan Health Associates, LLC. He directed state mental health systems in Connecticut, Ohio, and New York for 25 years. He chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health under George W. Bush and was on the board of the Joint Commission for nine years, serving as the Board Chair of Standards and Survey Procedures Committee, which guided accreditation and certification programs. Hogan served two terms on the National Advisory Mental Health Committee, the National Institute of Mental Health. He was the architect of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Zero Suicide Initiative. He is also a Cornell alumnus (CALS, Class of 1969).
General Body
  • Henry Chung, MD, is senior medical director of Behavioral Health Integration Strategy at the Care Management Organization (CMO) of Montefiore Health System and professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has longstanding research and academic expertise in improving the integration of behavioral health access and treatment in primary care, particularly for racial and ethnic minorities. Prior to joining Montefiore, Chung was associate vice president for Student Health and executive director, Student Health Center, New York University. He founded and led the award-winning National College Depression Partnership–Collaborative Action Network Project. Chung was a member of the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which provided guidance on behavioral health policy reform. Chung is a Cornell alumnus (A&S, Class of 1984) and completed his psychiatry residency at New York Presbyterian-Cornell.
  • Karen Singleton, PhD, is associate medical director and chief of Mental Health & Counseling Services at MIT Medical. She is a clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma, multicultural psychotherapy, and bereavement. Prior to coming to MIT, Singleton directed the student health service at Columbia Medical School. She advises on a variety of mental health topics, particularly on the impact of oppression on psychological well-being as well as developing multicultural competency. Singleton consulted the U.S. Department of State on university counseling services in India, and she serves on the Princeton University Health Service advisory board and on the Harvard Mental Health Task Force. She completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at the City University of New York; her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University; and her postgraduate studies in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at New York University.