New Student Health Center Director Excited to Build on Progress
By Wyatt Crosher, Communications Coordinator for Student Affairs
Before Nicole Piscitelli arrived at UNC Charlotte as the University’s new Student Health Center director, she had been on campus in 2003 while working as assistant director at UNC Greensboro.
While she had been back to this campus sparingly in the 19 years between those moments, Piscitelli said seeing how much the campus has developed over time was eye-opening for her.
“Being in the state system for 20 years, I've been on this campus a couple times. I've been here for intramural sports state tournaments, when they ran the state flag football tournament here, but I hadn't been in a long time,” Piscitelli said. “When you think about how the campus has exploded since 2003, it was really a 'Wow.' I actually came when the rec center opened and that was really an eye-opener. I was like 'Oh my goodness, this campus has just grown so much in the last 10-15 years.'”
Piscitelli returns to Charlotte after working as director of campus recreation and wellness at North Carolina Central, where she had been since 2015, and executive director of student health since 2020. As mentioned, she is bringing more than two decades of experience not only from within the North Carolina system, but also from a variety of areas that all relate to health and wellbeing.
"I've been in higher ed for 20 years in a combination of recreation and wellness, as well as student health,” Piscitelli said. “I've worked in both worlds, which has been great, especially with the big push in the integrative health approach and bringing all of those units together on college campuses. Knowing the other sides of those areas I think helps me to be creative, look at things differently and provide a fresh perspective.”
Over the years, Piscitelli said her field of work has continued to change. Instead of just taking care of students with illnesses, there has been more of a push on educating the community and making sure those on campus are informed on how they can get the help they need.
That was already advancing prior to 2020, but health and wellbeing evolved more rapidly with the COVID-19 pandemic, which Piscitelli said led to increased education about infectious diseases and community responsibility
“It really is outreach, education and being a part of how students engage in healthcare, even from understanding insurance to understanding preventative health,” Piscitelli said. “How we educate the students is more than just going to the doctor when they're sick, but taking control of their health and understanding the importance of preventative care. Also being familiar with when to go or not go to the doctor.
“COVID added that extra layer to working with students and educating students on infectious diseases, what they mean, how many are out there and exposing students to this health care field. It's much bigger than just doctors and nurses. It's health educators, outreach and community health. That's been where I've seen student health evolve in this past decade."
Since starting in February, Piscitelli said she’s had a great start to her time at Charlotte and that it’s “just been a whirlwind, but it’s been good.”
Once she’s fully settled in, Piscitelli's goals are to continue to work toward the same goals that the Student Health Center has had in place while adding a unique perspective to the picture.
"I'm excited about being here and working with this team. One thing in this department that is evident is the amount of care and concern this staff has for students and the type of care, the quality of care and the level of care they provide,” Piscitelli said. “My goal is to continue to expand our outreach. How do we take student health outside the four walls and what are some different aspects of health that we can bring to the table?”
But, above all, what Piscitelli is most excited about is getting to interact with the Charlotte community. As the new Student Health Center director, she is excited to work to find out what is needed from her on campus, the same campus that she has watched transform over the past 19 years.
"I'm just happy to be here. I'm happy to serve the students,” Piscitelli said. “I think the reason why many of us get into higher ed in general is for the students, and I'm really happy to dig in and really get to know what our students need, then figure out how we can make that happen."