Lehigh has selected David Rubenstein to be the first executive director of the Health and Wellness Center. Rubenstein already has plans to improve accessibility to health services on campus and focus on mental health. (Courtesy of Lehigh University)

David Rubenstein to oversee future of the Health and Wellness Center

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David Rubenstein was named the first executive director of the Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center following previous interim director Thomas Novak’s suspension. Rubenstein was previously the vice president of Health and Wellness at Rowan University. 

Rubenstein said he left Rowan because his work was completed there. He said health and wellness needs to be improved at Lehigh because he said the current structure reminds him of where Rowan’s was eight years ago.

He said he enjoys creating and developing programs for student needs, so he is excited for his position at Lehigh.

“Putting health and wellness as the forefront of the campus experience with the Path to Prominence initiative is critical to the success of the student, as well as the university,” Rubenstein said.

Lehigh’s Path to Prominence agenda includes the expansion and enhancement of health and wellness across campus. 

Working in the industry for over 30 years, Rubenstein said people between 18 and 25 years old face an abundant number of mental challenges. In his new role, Rubenstein said he is looking to implement three initiatives: employing the necessary number of staff in all services to meet the growing student need, increasing efficiency of the services with special attention toward improving access to care, and integrating medical, mental health, substance abuse, and health and wellness promotion services.

“We had a very strong candidate pool,” said Maddy Eadline, chair of the search committee that picked Rubenstein. “David, throughout the whole process, was the obvious choice. He had great experience and dedication to health and well-being.”

Eadline said the collaboration and energy Rubenstein brought was telling of his character, especially upon first meeting him.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Ric Hall said Rubenstein stood out immediately in the search process. 

“On paper, he has the skill set to be successful in this position,” Hall said. “When we met in person, all of that came to life. He is someone who commands respect from staff, has a positive aura and has a high level of expertise with personal interaction.”

Hall said Rubenstein represents the university’s intended direction of becoming a better campus for health and wellness services.

Lori Friedman, Lehigh’s director of media relations, said in an email “the creation of the new role followed an extensive review of health services at Lehigh that began more than two years ago.” 

Rubenstein joined Lehigh’s community on July 30 after a search process of about a year.

“It has been great so far,” Rubenstein said. “I have been intentionally going out of my way to meet leaders across the university, departments, and divisions so I can begin to get an idea of where opportunities to integrate health and wellness activities can be implemented. I have enjoyed meeting students too, across the board and being surrounded by a beautiful university.”

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