Rice bid a warm farewell to Dr. Mark Jenkins after nearly a quarter of a century of caring for the health and welfare of Rice students, including 17 years as director of Student Health Services.
Staff, faculty and students gathered at Brochstein Pavilion Feb. 27 to honor Jenkins as he departed Rice to become the executive director of the Hall Health Center at the University of Washington.
Matt Taylor ’92, associate vice provost for academic affairs and associate dean of undergraduates, said Jenkins shepherded Student Health Services through an era of enormous growth and change. When Jenkins became director in 1998, Rice had 4,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Today, health services are available to approximately 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students in a building that Jenkins helped raise funding for to consolidate medical and counseling services on campus.
“Under Mark’s leadership, health services has not only kept pace with the huge increase in student patients but continued to deliver sensitive and educational care,” Taylor said.
Jenkins and the “culture of care” that characterizes the work of Student Health Services have had a significant impact on the well-being of generations of Rice students, Taylor said.
Always an advocate of promoting community health, Jenkins served as a panelist during Sexual Responsibility Week to discuss issues that some students have difficulty talking about. Over the years he treated and educated students about everything from AIDS and West Nile virus to meningitis and influenza. Last year he made sure his staff was informed about guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for screening and treating patients with Ebola in case Houston was affected.
Dan Fu, director of planning and projects, said Jenkins was an invaluable resource to the Rice community during the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 flu (swine flu). Jenkins advised Rice’s Crisis Management Team on precautions and education efforts.
“He was in regular communication with the state of Texas to procure and provide the H1N1 vaccine to at-risk students at Rice,” Fu said. “Furthermore, Dr. Jenkins continually updated the Crisis Management Team about any changes in the CDC guidelines and shared his expertise for the Q&A document about the flu that was used to help educate our community.”
Jenkins ’83 earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Rice and a medical degree at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. In addition to his leadership of Student Health Services, he served as associate team physician for NCAA sports at Rice and chaired the Institutional Review Board.
Dr. Stacy Ware has been promoted to director of Student Health Services, and Dr. Jessica McKelvey ’93 has been promoted to associate director. A search is underway for third physician to join the department.