Mortenson named chief mental health officer in Student Life

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Student Life has appointed Lindsey Mortenson, currently the acting executive director and medical director for University Health Service, as the campus’ inaugural chief mental health officer.

The new position is part of a strategic realignment in Student Life to strengthen collaboration between campus clinical mental health services for undergraduate and graduate students. The role aligns with the university’s commitment to a comprehensive, collaborative and inclusive approach to student mental health and success. 

Photo of Lindsey Mortenson
Lindsey Mortenson

“Lindsey’s spectacular leadership helping guide our COVID-19 campus response demonstrated a creative, innovative and data-driven approach that she brings to this role to strengthen mental health care across the continuum of care,” said Robert Ernst, associate vice president of student life for health and wellness and executive director of University Health Service.

“We are excited to have a leader with such a broad range of experiences and commitment to college mental health to lead these important efforts.”

Mental health is a significant predictor of academic success and quality of life. As Student Life’s chief mental health officer, Mortenson will support implementation of the Student Mental Health Innovative Approaches Review Committee recommendations and serve as a liaison to Michigan Medicine and community mental health resources.

At the same time, Mortenson will move into the role of UHS associate executive director after serving nearly two years as acting executive director. She played a pivotal role in several public health-informed initiatives, including the expansion of on-campus COVID-19 testing resources and the establishment of a UHS Public Mental Health Internship.

In her two new roles, Mortenson’s portfolio will include direct supervision of the clinical, diagnostic and administrative services of UHS, as well as Counseling and Psychological Services. Mortenson will continue reporting to Ernst.

“College and graduate school are a time to build purpose, meaning and belonging, but many students struggle with this,” Mortenson said. “I look forward to continuing to strengthen the breadth of services to support their education, social and emotional development — from screening, counseling, peer support, medication, emergency care, hospitalization and recovery services.”

Mortenson received her medical degree from Columbia University and completed adult psychiatry residency training at U-M, where she was an outpatient chief resident and received the national psychiatry resident award for excellence in education, teaching and administration.

Her previous roles at U-M include UHS medical director, UHS psychiatry clinic chief, and coordinator of psychiatric services at CAPS from 2014-17. With a clinical experience in outpatient, inpatient and emergency psychiatry, as well as supervision of primary care and specialty mental health services at UHS, she brings a breadth of experience to the CMHO role.

Mortenson is a national leader in college health policy and strategy. In recent years she has written, presented and collaborated on numerous projects related to college mental health access and public health. Prior to medical school she worked in corporate finance and also served with AmeriCorps VISTA.

“These formative experiences taught me so much about stewardship, sustainability and data-informed approaches that have informed my work in college health,” Mortenson said.

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