MMA Health Services Department has been growing faster than the student body. Eighteen months ago, Dr. Jeffery Cukor MD, joined the staff as full time Medical Director. Cukor first came aboard as a Ship’s Physician during the 2007 Sea Term. He obviously liked what he saw.
Cukor spent seventeen years at U Mass Medical Center, serving in various capacities, emphasizing emergency medicine. “My prime function at MMA is to care for acute injury and illness. My broader goal is to educate and encourage good health and wellness among the cadets,” Cukor stated. “After years working in emergency medicine, I embrace the opportunity to grow the health education piece with both staff and students at this Academy.” “I love what they do here,” he continued. “MMA is doing some great things, not just going through the motions. When you have good people and good ideas, you can get anything done – and have some fun.” Cukor concluded.
Judith Kaechele, Director of Health Services, is an Advanced Practice Nurse specializing in college health. She is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and holds a Master’s of Nursing degree from Fairfield, CT. Kaechele has worked extensively in pediatrics where she developed an interest in the unique health needs of adolescents and young adults. She has also earned a Master of Health Administration and is currently matriculated in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Fairfield. “I enjoy evaluating and treating health issues but I really love helping the cadets learn to navigate the health care system. This is normally the first time students have had to find health care on their own. They need to know how to ask the right questions. I want to give these kids a safe place to talk about anything,” she declared.
Kathleen Shine-O’Brien is Assistant Director of Health Services, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. In the six years she has been on board, she has counseled students with issues from homesickness to more serious mental health concerns. Shine-O’Brien has trained over five hundred gatekeepers in suicide prevention, on campus and off. “It is imperative that students, staff and faculty are using the same language when identifying and referring mental health concerns. There are multiple challenges and rewards in working with college students. The rewards aren’t always evident but being present when a student experiences a true “AHA” moment is wonderful,” she affirmed.
Office Manager, Rosemary Morrissey is likely to be the first friendly face you see when you walk through the door. She is the organizer, the welcoming committee, the Mom! Morrissey is also working on a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health and Spiritual Care. She is already a Reiki Master, “I’m really here because of the kids. Being with the cadets, listening to all their stories and watching them grow from the first day of orientation to their graduation day, is a journey I enjoy. Anything I can do to help along the way, makes both our days a little brighter,” she concluded.
Health care at the Academy is not all about illness. It’s about feeling better, learning about yourself and a place for some warm fuzzy safe time. It’s waaaaay beyond bandaids.