First candidate for Health Services Director visits UNA

Director of Sports Medicine and Health Services at Bethel University Ty Butler shakes hands with current Director of Student Counseling Services Lynne Martin after his presentation regarding the Director of Health Services April 15.

by Student Writer Spencer Brooks

Students, faculty and staff gathered in The Commons April 15 to meet the potential next UNA Health Services Director.

Current Director of Sports Medicine and Health Services at Bethel University Ty Butler provided a presentation as part of the interview process for the position.

After current UNA Director of Health Services Kyrel Buchanan announced her family is relocating to Huntsville for her husband’s job, a search committee was created to fill the position.

“I think the person who comes into this position will be working at a great university,” Buchanan said. “They are going to inherit a very competent and passionate staff.”

University Health Services provides outpatient health care for students and employees at UNA while promoting healthy lifestyles and practices to create a positive college experience, according to its website.

“I feel Butler was a good candidate in his interview earlier today. He really showed his strengths,” said nursing major Candice Sanders, a member of the search committee. “During the interview he was able to give exact examples on what he would change at UNA.”

Butler provided examples of student-based programs, including a “Biggest Loser” competition, in which students win awards for being healthier, and a “Lunch and Learn,” where students are given a free lunch and a lecture on being healthy, Sanders said.

“We certainly had a very good presentation today,” said Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields. “If the other three candidates are as good as this one, we’ll have a very tough decision.”

Shields said the committee hopes to bring at least three more candidates to campus before making a job offer.

During his presentation, Butler said he wants to provide the highest quality student health care in an ethical and timely manner and to create a “safety net” for all students battling either physical or mental illness.

The National Institute of Mental Health found 30 percent of college students feel “so depressed that it is difficult to function,” according to a 2011 study of two- and four-year universities.

“I think it is really important to care, to let students know they have a safe place to go,” Butler said. “I want to treat everyone the same and provide sufficient care in a professional matter.”

Buchanan said she wants to see campus partners collaborate to benefit student health.

“I think the main thing is to seek out student and employee feedback to see what some of the services are that they would like to see offered,” Buchanan said.

She said it is vitally important to reach outside campus and make relationships with outside health providers to give more to students.

“I like to be around people,” Butler said. “I like to follow up on students and check up on them on their road to recovery.”

Butler said being financially conscious maximizes the health care programs.

“It is important to make good financial decisions with the funds available and to utilize those funds for the maximum mobility,” he said.

He said he believes college health care is all about compliance, and everyone involved will be properly certified for any help they provide relating to health care.

“I am humbled by the experience,” he said. “I’m humbled to be even picked as a candidate.”

Shields said the goal is to have the position filled by midsummer so the new director is ready to “hit the ground running” in the fall.