Destigmatizing Wellness at Pace and Beyond


Molly Feldman

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Harriet Feldman, Pace University’s Chief Wellness Officer. You may know that a Chief Financial Officer’s job is to keep track of the finances of a company, but did you know that Dr. Feldman’s job is to keep track of the “eight wellness dimensions”— emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, spiritual— of the student population? Pace’s wellness program was started as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on mental health and overall wellness of teens and young adults. The Student Government Association on all three campuses, including the Law school, will be meeting with Dr. Feldman in the coming weeks.

          What does your job entail? How do you help students?

            HF: “Since this is a brand-new initiative at Pace, my job has entailed learning about the wellness programs that already exist, understanding where the gaps are, [and] developing strategies to close some of the gaps. Wellness at Pace is for the entire Pace community: faculty, students, and staff. Since mental health is an important component of wellness, much of our focus has been on this topic and students are the primary population we seek to help. I have been meeting with student leaders from the different campuses to spread the word about what my team and I are doing.”

In addition to the program itself, there is a brand-new Zoom counseling service entitled “Protocol,” which runs 24/7 and is completely free for all students. Dr. Feldman is also looking for volunteers to help with ideas for wellness programming, setting up the website, and filming short wellness videos.

          How did you get to Pace, and where have you worked before?

            HF: “I was recruited to Pace in 1993 to be Dean of the Lienhard School of Nursing; in 2006 I was asked to add the School of Education to my portfolio as Interim Dean.”

“During the time I was Interim Provost, the College of Health Professions was created, which included the Lienhard School of Nursing. This was something I had advocated for years earlier, and it finally came to fruition. So, my next step was to be Dean of both the College of Health Professions and the Lienhard School of Nursing. I held that role from January 2013 until June 2021, at which time I became the Chief Wellness Officer. This is a 2-year appointment that will be ending June 30, 2023, so we will be recruiting for a new CWO to start July 1st.”

          What is the best part of your job here?

            HF: “Creating new programs and initiatives is what I have been doing since I came to Pace, so this was a good fit for me. [The] best part has been the opportunity to work with many talented and committed individuals, some of whom I didn’t know at all or very well until I took on this position. As a dean [I was] very focused on [my] own area and ensuring that it is high quality and working well.”

“I would love for people to tune into the programs,”  says Dr. Feldman.

“The October program is on social wellness, November on financial wellness, and December on physical wellness. We have an incentive for program attendance: 5 out of 8 programs entitles you to be entered into a lottery to get $100 in Pace flex dollars to be spent internally in the bookstore or on food. Programs are mainly on Zoom to expand attendance, and all are at the common hour of the day they are scheduled. They are all being recorded for later viewing for those unable to attend. Credit will be given for viewing recorded programs as well.”

The October program, which will be held this week, focuses on kindness. Students can send in stories about kindness that they have experienced and have these included in the program itself.

The upcoming November program is on financial wellness and the loan forgiveness of the Biden administration. Students will learn how this policy can help them avoid financial turmoil.

The last program of 2022 is the December holiday cooking class, which will include plant-based recipes that you can make in person, or on Zoom. All other programs will be conducted on Zoom, though you will be able to view them at a later date on video.

If you are interested in attending one or more of these programs, you can visit this link.

Dr. Feldman is an advocate for the  Pace community and aims to help all of us do better mentally and physically while in college. As she said, “There is so much enthusiasm within and beyond the Wellness Advisory Committee to support the Pace community along the continuum of wellness.” Even though Dr. Feldman may not be with us our whole “careers” as Pace students, the Wellness program is sure to stick around for generations.