Long-time health clinic director plans to retire this summer

Susan Glasso (left), health services specialist and Cindy Wood (right), executive director, discuss the day’s business in the Health and Wellness Center on campus. Wood has worked in the wellness center for 11 years.

Aer 11 years at UNA, the director of UNA Health and Wellness Services is retiring this year, leaving behind a program that has grown rapidly since she joined it.

Cindy Wood, who has served as the director for the last eight years, is retiring from her position in June to spend more time with family.

“Having retired from the military 15 years ago, this is the longest I’ve ever done any job, and I feel it’s time for new energy and new ideas,” Wood said. “Also, I’ve been in nursing for 35 years and I still love it. I want to keep it that way.”

Wood said since she has been at UNA, the UNA infirmary has grown from serving 4,500 people a year to a full-service clinic that serves 10,000 a year. Both the Student Counseling Center and Disability Support Services have also seen and served numerous students.

“She doesn’t have to retire, but she has reached a time in her career that she wants to,” said David Shields, vice president of Student Affairs. “The health center at UNA is the envy of the state, and most of the region. A lot of that is Cindy. Her tenacity, her ability is phenomenal.”

Shields said over the years they have worked together, Wood has been one of his strongest advisers and a source of leadership for all areas of Health Services.

“I’ve tried everything I can to keep her here,” Shields said. “When we get to that point, we just say, it’s time. I think where Cindy is, it’s her time.

“You just have to say a job well done. And she’s done a job well done.”

As for the next director, Shields said that he plans to advertise the position and put together a search committee by the end of April consisting of people across campus to decide on the new director of Health Services, though he first wants to evaluate the department.

“Whenever someone leaves, I review and see if there’s anything we need to change,” Shields said. “If I keep the structure, we’ll interview in summer and try to get a director back by fall.”

Wood will be a part of the search committee, which Shields said will help ensure the best candidate is chosen for the job.

Though she is retiring, Wood said that she loves being the director of Health and Wellness Services, and wants all students to know what the department offers in the way of medical services and aid.

“I love my job because I love the people and the community,” Wood said. “It’s very much like a military base in terms of community and a specific population that you serve. It’s the opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the well-being of others.”

With the good parts of being director, Woods said she has also had challenges in the forms of resource management of all areas of UNA Health Services and informing students what resources they can access.

“Our mission in Health Services is to provide targeted medical, counseling and disability support services to aid and equip UNA students to successfully reduce the individual roadblocks to their personal and academic success,” Wood said. “We take that to heart every day and put it into practice.

“I would encourage all of the students to know about the services available to them, use them, and tell others when you see the need. You, the student, have been and will continue to be an important partner in the growth and direction of Health Services.”