The Division of Student Affairs has announced the appointment of Dr. James Wilterding as executive director of University of New Mexico Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). 

Wilterding initially joined SHAC as a medical provider in 2012 and served as its executive director from 2017-2019 before taking a position in Boston at Fenway Community Health — a nationally-recognized leader in addressing health disparities faced by LGBTQIA+ communities.

Dr. James Wilterding
Dr. James Wilterding

“I feel grateful for the experience I had in Boston,” he says. “But New Mexico is home and I missed it — friends, colleagues, our diverse population, the climate, the mountains and green chile.” 

Then, last year, in the midst of unprecedented times, Wilterding returned to serve as the co-director of SHAC with Dr. Beverly Kloeppel.

“The pandemic has opened up a whole new set of challenges for all of us,” he said. “We have witnessed a student body that has suffered, but that has shown perseverance and resilience in the face of this pandemic.”

Wilterding said among other things, the pandemic has emphasized the essential role healthy campus communities have on student success.

“I think stakeholders across the University and the Health Sciences Center have increased awareness of the important role a strong and vibrant student health service plays in support of a healthy community.”

Unlike many UNM departments that are working remotely, SHAC has not closed its doors since the pandemic began.

“We have been open continuously providing the full range of medical and mental health services and have expanded into numerous roles as needed in support of UNM’s pandemic response to “Bring Back the Pack” and continue operations as safely as possible,” Wilterding said.

Wilterding said he feels fortunate to have the support of his colleagues and relies on the partnerships and collaborations that have become stronger.

“We have witnessed a student body that has suffered, but that has shown perseverance and resilience in the face of this pandemic.” - Dr. James Wilterding, SHAC executive director

“SHAC is staffed with dedicated and seasoned professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to our mission to serve the students and campus community since day one,” he said. 

Wilterding completed his medical degree at the University of Texas, and his residency in family medicine at The University of New Mexico. His background includes an undergraduate degree in engineering and management experience with a large telecommunications company. Wilterding’s service with the Peace Corps in Uganda and provision of medical services at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless have added to years’ worth of experiences in the constantly changing medical field.