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Counseling Center hires full-time psychiatrist

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January 26, 2016

7:43 AM

The College of William and Mary has hired Patricia Roy as a full-time psychiatrist. She will begin working at the Counseling Center by the end of February.

The Counseling Center first sought approval for the position in the fall of 2014. After receiving the go-ahead from the Division of Student Affairs, they engaged the psychiatry recruitment firm Monroe and Weisbrod to search for applicants in the spring of 2015.

The hiring of a full-time psychiatrist has been a charged issue on campus. There was a part-time psychiatrist who worked seven hours a week through the Student Health Center, but he was a member of the military who was called back to serve on active duty. Student Health Center director Dr. Virginia Wells previously said that his appointments were consistently booked. The organizers of a sit-in that occurred over Homecoming weekend outside the Sir Christopher Wren Building demanded that the College hire a full-time psychiatrist.

“More than anything, I was looking for a colleague that will invest in the community,” Crace said. “Not someone that clocks in, does clinical work, and clocks out. I wanted them to invest in the Tribe.”

Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness Kelly Crace said that a national shortage of psychiatrists made it difficult for the College to offer a competitive pay. He described the yearlong process of sifting through applicants.

“What we were looking for, and what we were really stingy about, was we wanted someone who was very experienced in psychiatry and the complexity of psychiatry as it relates to what we typically see in a university setting, but that … also seeks to understand the individual behind the symptomatology,” Crace said. “We were looking for a psychiatrist that didn’t define someone by their symptoms, but really wanted to understand the uniqueness of the individual who also happened to have a mental health condition.”

Crace said that he also wanted to hire someone who was excited about the Integrative Wellness Center, and who could potentially facilitate the eventual adoption of a psychiatric residency program at the College.

“More than anything, I was looking for a colleague that will invest in the community,” Crace said. “Not someone that clocks in, does clinical work, and clocks out. I wanted them to invest in the Tribe.”

Crace said that Roy was an excellent fit for the role. She attended medical school at Drexel University and interned in internal medicine at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City. Roy said that she first realized she wanted to be a psychiatrist during this internship.

“I found that I was drawn toward disorders of the mind because they affect our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors essentially who we are,” Roy said in an email. “I really enjoyed getting to know patients and taking the time to sit and talk with people. Psychiatry allows me to that.”

She then completed her residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and also completed a fellowship in mood disorders and served on the faculty.

“Dr. Roy’s hiring marks a wonderful development in our efforts to advance health services,” Whitaker said in a statement. “I am excited for the work she will do here. It is important to note, however, that the job of expanding health services on campus remains our combined responsibility. At the end of the day this is our family and it is up to us to support each other.”

For the past four years, she has been the medical director of the Behavioral Health Department at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va.

“I really enjoyed working in academics during my time at Hopkins,” Roy said. “I greatly value education and I consider it a privilege to support others in pursuit of education. William and Mary is a wonderful school.”

Crace said that upon joining the staff in February, Roy will primarily perform clinical services.

The number of students she takes on will depend on the complexity of the cases she encounters.

She will join a team of three psychology doctoral interns, three psychology doctoral practicum students and 10 other professional staff members.

Crace said the now 11 member professional staff includes seven clinicians with doctorates in psychology, one with a graduate degree in counseling, one with a graduate degree in social work, one with a doctorate in sport psychology and now Roy with her MD in psychiatry.

Crace said that the Counseling Center has recently reduced its practicum student and intern staff and increased its professional staff.

Student Assembly President Yohance Whitaker ’16 released a statement saying the hiring of a full-time psychiatrist was a historic and proud moment for the College. Whitaker’s campaign last spring included a focus on improving the College’s health services.

“Dr. Roy’s hiring marks a wonderful development in our efforts to advance health services,” Whitaker said in a statement. “I am excited for the work she will do here. It is important to note, however, that the job of expanding health services on campus remains our combined responsibility. At the end of the day this is our family and it is up to us to support each other.”

SA Undersecretary of Mental Health Delaney McAleer ’18 also weighed in on the hiring.

“The hiring of William & Mary’s first full-time psychiatrist is a tremendous step forward in our community’s continued efforts to provide stronger mental health resources to students,” McAleer said in an email.

Roy said that her first task will be getting acquainted with the College community.

“I have a strong clinical background in psychiatry working with a variety of mental health problems in a variety of settings but I have to get to know the students at William and Mary to best understand particular concerns and frustrations,” Roy said. “I have been very impressed with the professionals at the Counseling Center and look forward to joining the team.”

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About Author

Áine Cain

Senior Staff Writer Aine Cain '16 is a history major from Bronxville, NY. She was previously Editor-in-Chief, News Editor, Variety Editor and an Associate Variety Editor. Follow @ainesane on Twitter.