Denise Woods named vice chancellor for Health, Well-being, and Safety

November 2, 2023
Kim A. Wilcox
November 2, 2023

Dear Colleagues,


The focus on creating a culture that supports holistic health has become increasingly imperative to campuses across the country. Here, at UCR, we’ve taken on that task by creating a more robust support ecosystem to help give students a boost to meet their personal and scholarly goals. Under the direction of Denise Woods, UC Riverside has become a change leader in higher education, creating a new model that prioritizes enhancing the overall wellness of the UCR community to address a wide range of needs through Collective Impact and an integrated framework. 


To align with that vision, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Woods to Vice Chancellor for Health, Well-being, and Safety, to better fit with the responsibilities of this critical work.


Dr. Woods began her professional journey at UCR as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health, Counseling & Wellness in 2019, and played a critical role in leading efforts to support students and members of the university community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, following recommendations from both the Black Student Experience Taskforce report, as well as the UCOP Campus Safety Taskforce report, she provided leadership for the creation of the Division of Health, Well-being, and Safety that brought together several key departments, streamlined access to services, and adopted a guardianship model for campus safety using a tiered response model. 


Additionally, Dr. Woods provided pivotal guidance related to the newly built health clinic on-campus, which looks to provide a “one-stop shop” for wellness to students including primary care, expanded capacity for student mental health, case management services, crisis intervention support, basic needs resources, and health education and promotion activities. This state-of-the-art building will make it easier for students to access multiple well-being support services in one place.


She holds a doctorate of Public Health from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, and an undergraduate and Master’s degree from the USC Annenberg School of Communication. She also serves as the Campus Chief Well-being Officer, and Campus Responsible Officer. 


Please join me in congratulating Dr. Woods on her appointment.