Establishment of Health, Well-being, and Safety organization

May 14, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
May 14, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

Following the recommendations of the Campus Safety Task Force, I am writing today to announce the reorganization of several departments into a new division for Health, Well-being, and Safety to be led by Associate Vice Chancellor Denise Woods, who will report to me beginning July 1. 

With the objective of enhancing overall campus safety while being more responsive to the full range of student and community needs, the new division will bring together several departments including UCPD, CARE (Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education), Basic Needs, and those departments previously organized under Student Health & Wellness Services—Student Health Services (SHS), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), The Well, Student Affairs Case Management, and the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). The new organization will also have a dotted line relationship to Student Affairs.

Associate Vice Chancellor Woods joined UC Riverside in 2019 after serving as director of Student Wellness and the Basic Needs Initiative at the Office of the Chancellor, California State University. Prior to that, she worked as project manager of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health project through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant at UCLA, where she also obtained her doctorate in public health. In her time at UC Riverside, Associate Vice Chancellor Woods has led a dedicated team of professionals committed to helping students and members of the university community navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This included greater collaboration among students, faculty, and staff while creating an open and collegial environment through health and well-being efforts.

I want to thank UCPD and especially Interim Chief John Freese for his leadership and continuing commitment to students. Many of the members of the UCPD are UCR alumni who continue to show their dedication to our community every day. Thank you also to Vice Chancellor Gerry Bomotti for his collaboration on a smooth transition. 

Along with Associate Vice Chancellor Woods, these individuals have given UCR the opportunity to lead the way in creating significant change and redefining a holistic approach to managing campus health, well-being, and safety.

As I have stated in previous messages, our work with campus safety is ongoing. Implementation of additional task force recommendations include establishment of the Campus Safety Workgroup (led by Provost Watkins) and the Campus Safety Accountability Board (led by Vice Chancellor Lam), two groups that will work in collaboration with the new division as we set a new course for safety on our campus.

Over the course of the last year, I have often reaffirmed that the health and safety of the campus community are our first priority. Today we are forging new ground in this regard while also reinforcing that our commitment to health and safety is a lasting promise.