Meet the Staff

  • Dr. Brenezza (Breny) Garcia

    Dr. Brenezza (Breny) Garcia
    Associate Vice President - Student Health & Wellness

Message from the Associate Vice President

The 2021-2022 academic year brought our “new normal”. We saw increased student engagement post-pandemic, which also yielded increased utilization across many of our units. According to a new BestColleges.com survey, 95% of college students have experienced negative mental health symptoms as a result of COVID-19-related circumstances. Almost half (48%) believe the mental health effects have directly affected their education. Understanding how we could improve services to meet these new and growing demands was critically important to our leadership team, and led us to proactively and intentionally listening to the student body and experts in the field.

In October 2021, we launched a student health fee survey to learn more about our services and marketing initiatives. That survey yielded 10,000 responses! In November 2021, we contracted the American College Health Association (ACHA) for a consultancy visit to evaluate our services and organizational structure. They used the survey results from October, historical documents, and several interviews with staff and students to inform their final recommendations. Collectively, this feedback led to – among others – the following outcomes: (1) a unified communication approach - shw.fiu.edu and @FIUSHW (2) the expansion of counseling services - Togetherall and BetterMynd (3) the return of free HIV and STI testing (4) moving the Student Health Clinics under Student Health & Wellness effective July 1, 2022.

For this coming year, we hope to continue implementing the feedback gained from the ACHA consultant report, through this year’s student health fee survey, and via our partners in Student Government and other university departments. For any reader that may have questions or feedback, please contact us at shwad@fiu.edu.

  • Mariela Gabaroni

    Mariela Gabaroni
    Associate Director - Health Promotion Services, Interim Director - Student Health Clinics

  • Vanessa Gondar

    Vanessa Gondar
    Director Administrative Services - Student Health & Wellness

  • Dr. Todd Lengnick

    Dr. Todd Lengnick
    Director - Counseling & Psychological Services

  • Wendy X. Ordoñez

    Wendy X. Ordoñez
    Assistant Director Marketing & Communications - Student Health & Wellness

  • Devin Parra

    Devin Parra
    Director - Student Conduct & Academic Integrity, Assistant Dean of Students

  • Dr. Saara Schwartz

    Dr. Saara Schwartz
    Medical Director - Student Health Clinics

  • Elisabeth "Lisa" Simpson

    Elisabeth "Lisa" Simpson
    Assistant Director - CAPS Victim Empowerment Program

  • [Vacant]

    [Vacant]
    Dean of Students

  • Vacant

    Vacant
    Office Manager - Student Health & Wellness