Director Oversees Expanded Student Health Services

Lea Coakley says the improved well-being of students will be a top priority in her new position as director of UT Dallas’ expanded Student Health Center.

The center, which cares for students with acute illnesses and minor injuries, recently began offering treatment for stabilized chronic illnesses such as asthma, hypertension, hypothyroidism, hypercholesterolemia and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

“We’re a busy health center with board-certified providers, and our top priority will always be students,” Coakley said. “They come first in all we do, from their questions and concerns to the services we offer, to promoting new services for them.”

In addition to Coakley, the center is staffed with a full-time physician, three nurse practitioners, two licensed nurses, two certified medical assistants and other healthcare professionals. It features 10 patient exam rooms.  

Coakley is working toward several goals in her new position, including the implementation of electronic medical records.

“As mandated by the new federal healthcare reform laws, all medical records must be available electronically by 2014,” she said.

Separately, she is overseeing the student health insurance program’s move from International Student Services to the Student Health Center and working toward accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). That process involves an assessment by the AAAHC to ensure that the facility is a quality provider of outpatient healthcare services. 

The Student Health Center was relocated to the new Student Services Building last fall. Open Monday through Friday, the center handled about 7,000 patient visits in 2010. 

As director, Coakley collaborates with a range of campus departments, especially the Student Counseling Center and the Student Wellness Center. Coakley arrived at UT Dallas late last month.

She joins the University with six years’ experience in college health and is the former assistant director of student health services at Texas Women’s University in Denton. 

“I made a good choice to work in a department with an abundance of knowledge and peers and coworkers to help me get acclimated,” Coakley said. “The staff has the skills to better the lives of students, and the new facility makes it easy for us to work together to quickly and efficiently serve patients.” 

She reports to Sue Sherbet, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. Sherbet said Coakley will provide leadership, management, budget oversight and overall direction to the student health program. 

“I’m thrilled to have someone with Lea’s expertise join us,” Sherbet said. “She brings an administrator background and the knowledge and understanding of the student healthcare process. I know she’ll help to enhance the services we already provide to our students.” 

Coakley received both her B.S. and M.S. in health administration and health systems, respectively, from the University of Central Arkansas. She is working toward her doctorate in health administration from Central Michigan University.

Lea Coakley


Student Health Center Services

Office visits are offered at no additional cost to currently enrolled UT Dallas students with a valid Comet Card. 

The center offers immunizations, women’s wellness exams, birth control and pregnancy counseling, and specialist referrals for students with problems that exceed the center’s capabilities.

Nominal fees may be assessed for lab work, medications, procedures and some medical supplies. The center does not offer care for faculty, staff, visitors or family members of students.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].