Health center director Susan Kitei to retire at end of year

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Susan Kitei, the director of the Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center, will retire at the end of the academic year, according to an email from John Smeaton, vice provost for Student Affairs.

Kitei was the first female physician to work in the Health and Wellness Center. She started working at Lehigh in 1985 and has served as the center’s director since 1996.

It has been a pleasure and privilege caring for the students of Lehigh and working with colleagues across the university,” Kitei wrote in an email. “It is gratifying that advances that I could only imagine years ago, including online appointments and the MenB vaccine, have become realities.”

Susan Kitei (courtesy of lehigh.edu)

Susan Kitei (courtesy of lehigh.edu)

Throughout her years at Lehigh, Kitei managed a growing staff and worked closely with local and national healthcare professionals. She played a significant role in promoting early health education on campus by giving informal talks on sexual health and providing support to peer education programs.

Kitei also played a role in coping with health crises on campus, including preparations for the 2009 pandemic flu and the 2011 meningitis outbreak.

Lehigh now requires immunizations for incoming students largely due to Kitei’s efforts. This past year, she also worked alongside her staff in promoting the Meningitis B vaccine, which approximately half of the class of 2019 received.

“We’ll be in touch regarding an opportunity to collectively express our gratitude to Susan for her service and her friendship, but we wanted to make you aware of her decision. She will be deeply missed,” Smeaton wrote.

Kitei wrote she will miss interacting with students, as well as advising and teaching them on matters surrounding their own health.

“I have most valued working as part of a team to continually improve services,” she wrote, “and will especially miss the terrific Health and Wellness Center staff.”

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