Student Health Services Director Departing David McBride will move to the University of Maryland

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Outgoing Student Health Services Director David McBride has been credited with improving staffing and overseeing a number of improvements in student care. Photo by Cydney Scott

David McBride, who as director of Student Health Services for the past eight years has been a powerful advocate for evidence-based solutions for medical and behavioral problems and a responsive ear to students’ suggestions, has accepted a job as director of the University Health Center at the University of Maryland. McBride will begin his new job in September.

“David has greatly improved the breadth and depth of staffing at Student Health Services,” says Peter Fiedler, vice president of administrative services. “He has done a particularly good job with behavioral medicine, which is an increasingly important component of health care for students. He has always had students’ best interests in mind.”

McBride’s tenure saw many notable improvements in Student Health Services (SHS), from the introduction of electronic medical records to AlcoholEdu, an online alcohol prevention course that is required of all first-year students. Under his tutelage, the department also instituted the Stress Buddy program, in which Student Health Ambassadors help peers by teaching them simple stress management strategies; the Condom Fairy program, which provides free condoms to students; and a “sexperts” seminar, a Q&A with a group of campus “sexperts,” including Sophie Godley, a School of Public Health clinical assistant professor of community health sciences.

McBride also moved his department toward high-quality, comprehensive, evidence-based interventions addressing dangerous alcohol use. His department’s suicide prevention efforts earned BU recognition as a JED Campus, administered by the JED Foundation, a national nonprofit suicide prevention organization focused on the mental health of college students.

“We have been trying to decrease the likelihood that students will get in trouble,” says McBride. “We are taking a harm-reduction approach, not advocating that students abstain, but that they just be smarter about the choices they make.

Margaret Ross, former director of behavioral health at Student Health Services, worked closely with McBride and says he is the most visionary leader she has worked with during her career. “His special talent is his ability to deal quickly and effectively with whatever came our way,” says Ross, who is now medical director at BU’s Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders(CARD). “When there was a threat of an H1N1 epidemic, David responded immediately, working to make sure that everyone was protected to the greatest degree possible.”

Ross says McBride carefully studied input from student surveys and made many changes based on the feedback. He also moved the department much closer to accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care(AAAHC).

“He really enhanced the quality of service and the staff,” says Ross. “BU is very much on the college health services map now, and that is a result of his leadership.”

McBride, a MED assistant professor of family medicine, attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and was chief resident in family medicine at York Hospital in York, Pa. He will remain at BU until September 10.

Judy Platt, an SHS staff physician, will serve as interim director until a permanent replacement is named. Platt, who has been working part-time during the academic year, has extensive experience in family medicine. She received her MD from Jefferson Medical College, and has served as chief resident and clinical instructor at Albany Medical College and as assistant clinical professor and director of maternity care at Tufts University Family Medicine Residency.

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