7 Questions for Campus Health’s New Executive Director

Sept. 18, 2023
David Salafsky

David Salafsky started as Campus Health's Executive Director in July 2023.  

What was your path to Executive Director at Campus Health? 

I started as a Health Educator back in 2004 and worked here as a graduate student before that.  Before and during COVID, Dr. Mike Stilson and I led Campus Health in an interim capacity, and I served as Director of Health Promotion from 2009 - 2023.  Long story short, they haven't been able to get rid of me.  I'm also a proud UA Alum, and received both my Master's and Doctorate in Public Health here.  

Where does your passion for health and wellness come from? 

Health is the foundation for most things in life.  Many of the choices that students are making now, they will carry forward, one way or another.  It's great to be a part of that.

What is Campus Health’s role as part of the campus community? 

I think we have played an important role for a long time, most recently in our collective response to COVID.  Of course, that is just one of the most recent chapters.  Hopefully, we are known as being good colleagues on campus.  First and foremost, we are the place our students go to get high quality care when they need it.  

What is your favorite thing about working at Campus Health? 

The people, no question about it.  We have an incredible team, and they go the extra mile to help students however they can.  Whether it's a receptionist, nurse, physician, counselor, medical assistant, health educator, or anyone on the team - we are all here to help.  We're proud of that. 

What’s something you really want people to know about Campus Health? 

We offer more than you might think.  Most places, health care tends to be fragmented.  Campus Health is a unique in that we are a medical home for students, with medical, behavioral health, health promotion, pharmacy, lab and x-ray, all under one roof.  It's unique and not all that common.  But importantly, it allows us to care for students better - and our students tell us that.  

What are you excited about for this upcoming year? 

With COVID receding, we are back to what I call the other pandemic - the ongoing crisis of mental health.  We often address this on an individual level when people seek out care, but at its root I think we are fundamentally dealing with a social crisis.  One of the first lessons of public health is that we need to do more than just help pull people out of the river who have fallen in.  We need to go upstream to see the causes of how people got in the river in the first place.  We need to ask why so many are feeling alone, anxious or depressed.  Campus Health is focusing on building connection, community and belonging - key factors that make our campus community so special and delivering more programs with that in mind.  Health Promotion may not be the first thing people think of when they think of Campus Health, but chances are students have experienced one of our programs or events.  There are aspects of college life that are challenging, but there is also no better place to build a strong community where people feel they belong and are part of something greater.  And that takes everyone.  It's an old idea, but some lessons we have to relearn from time to time.

What’s a fun fact about yourself? 

I'm weirdly competitive when it comes to ping pong.