Chen center for Health and

A team of professionals provides Deerfield students with comprehensive health care and counseling services at the D.S. Chen Health and Wellness Center. The medical services are staffed by a full-time physician and nurse practitioner and by registered nurses who are on duty 24/7. With a 12-bed infirmary and a busy outpatient clinic, the Chen Center is well equipped to care for a majority of illnesses and injuries common to students. Our closest hospital is the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, a 93-bed community hospital with a medical staff of approximately 150 physicians, located five miles away in the town of Greenfield. Our tertiary care center, and Level 1 trauma center, the 700+bed Baystate Medical Center, is in Springfield, MA, 30 miles away.

Appointments at the Chen Center are provided 24 hours per day by the nursing staff. Doctor’s appointments can be scheduled Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Students may also walk-in anytime to be seen by a nurse who can address many common symptoms (ie seasonal allergies, headache, congestion, cough etc) and can arrange a timely follow up with the physician or nurse practitioner if needed. If a student needs to be seen urgently they should come to the Chen Center or call 413-774-1600 to speak with a nurse. If a student feels they are experiencing an emergency they should call Campus Security at 413-772-9880 who will assist the student and either contact emergency services directly or transport the student to the Health Center.

Leaving Campus for Medical Reasons

Students and families are encouraged to schedule elective medical appointments and procedures while they are at home over break. Students may leave campus for appointments as long as they make the Chen Center of their plan ahead of time and check into and out of campus through the health center. Transportation to local appointments typically can be provided for a reasonable fee by the Chen Center if given at least 72 hours notice. Transportation to appointments outside the local area will need to be arranged by a student’s family. Please reach out to Ms. Carol Rogalski, our Office Manager, for details (413-774-1600).


The Outpatient Clinic

If a student feels unwell or sick they should immediately call the health center at 413-774-1600 to speak with a nurse. Failing to do so puts your friends, faculty and staff at risk of becoming ill. Remember, your health and the health of the community is more important than missing class or other obligations. If you have any questions please feel free to call the health center at 413-774-1600 at any time to speak with a nurse.

Due to COVID-19, all appointments with the health center will be scheduled. There will be no walk in appointments except for emergencies and students who need to pick up daily/weekly medications. If you feel your medical concern is emergent, please call Campus Security at 413-772-9880 for assistance. Otherwise, to discuss your symptoms/concerns with a nurse or make an appointment to be seen, please call the Health Center at 41-774-1600. After asking a few questions, a health center staff member will determine when you should be seen and whether you should be seen in the Dewey House or the D.S Chen Health and Wellness Center.

Please wear your cloth face covering when you come to your appointment. All testing for illnesses (including COVID-19, Strep throat, flu and other respiratory pathogens) will occur at the Dewey House. The Chen Center will be used for visits where there is not a significant infectious concern such as concussions, migraines, mental health etc. Due to heightened infection protocols you may not bring a visitor with you into either the Dewey House or the Chen Center.

Medical Excuses for Classes, Meals, or Other Required Events

Students who feel sick or are concerned they are becoming Ill, must immediately call the Health Center to discuss their symptoms and concerns with a nurse. They should not go to class, cocurricular or any other obligation until they have spoken with or seen a nurse at the health center. A medical excuse will be granted for any such encounter if the student has called or visited the health center to discuss their condition with health center staff. The nurse or medical provider will determine the appropriate parameters of the excuse (i.e. a late slip as opposed to being excused for the entire class period or entire day) based on the duration of the encounter. If a class is missed, students should inform the teachers by email regarding their situation. If unable to complete or to hand in any graded assignment when medically excused from class, students should notify their teachers as soon as possible to discuss when said assignments can be completed. Students who miss class due to illness or concern for illness will be instructed by health center staff per their clinical discretion regarding upcoming participation in cocurricular, classes, other campus obligations and whether they need to remain or return to the health center to convalesce.

Medical Excuses for Cocurricular Activities

Sick or injured students may be excused from cocurricular activities only by a school nurse or physician. In such cases, students are expected to communicate with their cocurricular supervisors. In certain cocurricular activities where the unexpected absence of a student may create a hardship for the group, it is important that the student notify the appropriate adult in a timely fashion.

Inpatient/Overnight Stays

Students stay overnight in the Health Center at the average rate of one night per student per year. Students are expected to call their parents any time that they are admitted for an overnight stay. If a parent has a question about their child’s admission they may at any time call the nurse of duty to discuss. The Health Center will allow no visitors except for family to pick up the student or deans who must be present due to administrative reasons.

Day Student Health Care

It is assumed that a day student will continue under the care of their primary care provider. However, the Health Center is available in an emergency. Also, as with boarding students, day students are subject to the school’s health center policies and medical supervision when participating in sports or when illness or injury occurs at school.

Sexuality, Intimacy, and Health Care

Deerfield Academy feels that adolescent development includes issues of friendship, romantic attachment, and intimacy. While affirming young people’s needs to understand and express their sexuality, the school feels that intimate sexual contact is not appropriate within the context of school life. However, it is recognized that there will be occasions that necessitate counseling and care in specific areas relating to sexuality. The school addresses these concerns through academic and Health Services programs that provide necessary information for students to make responsible decisions.

With the full understanding that adolescents are legally free to obtain contraception, pregnancy testing, and counseling on their own from doctors and clinics in this area or home communities, the Health Center will offer these services in the hope that the student will instead choose to talk with those who have the health and well-being of that student as their foremost concern. Contraceptive counseling will be offered through the Health Center. Counseling will focus on the nature and availability of contraception and if the discussion results in the student deciding to obtain contraception through on-campus services, a follow-up visit can be scheduled with the school physician or nurse practitioner.

Pregnancy testing will be offered through the Health Center as requested. In the event of a student pregnancy, a health staff counselor will assist the student in obtaining information needed to make an informed decision about possible courses of action. The counselor will encourage the student to include parents and partner in the decision making process and will facilitate bringing those concerned together if requested.

The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the D.S. Chen Health and Wellness Center. More information can be found here.

The Health Center nutritionist has hours during the week to provide nutritional and dietary counseling to students regarding healthy eating habits and knowledge about nutrition.

The Athletic Training Office is in the Athletic Center and is staffed by three full-time athletic trainers, who work with injured athletes. They coordinate a weekly Orthopedic/Sports Medicine Clinic staffed by a local  orthopedic surgeon.

Psychiatric consultation is offered through the Health and Wellness Center as part of our integrated approach to providing health care. For the convenience of students and their families, our psychiatrist offers consultation on site at the Health Center.

Written consent for consultation must be granted by parents in advance.

Psychiatric consultation typically includes:

  • Completion of a psychiatric history form by parents. This form is quite detailed and we appreciate the thoughtful attention it requires.
  • Discussion by the psychiatrist with clinic staff and when appropriate with the academic staff regarding referral.
  • Review of available past records.
  • Initial interview with the student.
  • Telephone conference with the parents. When treatment with medication is recommended, informed consent for treatment will be obtained from parents, including an explicit review of target symptoms, potential risks and benefits to medications, and alternative treatments. A signed consent to the proposed treatment plan will be obtained by email or fax.
  • A brief letter will be sent to parents for their records.

Follow up appointments with the psychiatrist, when appropriate, will occur in accordance with the treatment plan (typically every other week for the first month or two, then decreasing to monthly).

Costs for psychiatric consultation fall outside of the health fee, and parents will be billed directly for the services provided. Parents may then submit the bill to their health insurance company for reimbursement. Please note that not all insurance companies reimburse for these services.

For more information regarding psychiatric consultation at Deerfield Academy, please contact the Health Center at 413-774-1600.


  1. Bear Benson

    Director of Medical Services
  2. Kim Coombs

    Medical Assistant
  3. Sharon DeWitt

    Health Care Assistant
  4. Jennifer Dekoschak

  5. Daika Diefendorf

    Assistant Director of Nursing/Medication Nurse
  6. Pamela Drexler-Lopez

  7. Katherine Harris

  8. Jacinta Hunting

  9. Jini Kolakoski

  10. Stacie Lewandowski

  11. Karyn Mancari

    Nutritional Edu, Ther. & Outreach Coord, Health Teacher
  12. Addison Massa

    Leave Pool Hourly Staff
  13. Esti McCoy

    Quality Improvement and Immunization Nurse
  14. Carol Rogalski

    Health Center Office Manager
  15. Kate Rolland

    Director of Nursing
  16. Lise Ross

    Student Travel Medicine Coordinator/Evening Nurse
  17. Cara Soifer

    Nurse Practitioner
  18. Abigail Tokarz


Frequently Asked Questions

In general, we consider it the responsibility of the student to inform parents concerning illness and injury. Parents are not called for routine use of Health Center services, including care of minor injuries and illnesses. Sometimes routine referrals may be made to local specialists for routine uncomplicated injuries without notifying parents. However, parents are always notified by the school doctor of significant illnesses and injuries, especially when anticipated treatment is prolonged or complex. In the case of emergencies, parents are contacted as soon as it is practical after emergency medical care is begun and/or transport to the emergency room is initiated.

It is the responsibility of the student to inform teachers when he or she misses a class for medical reasons. This can be easily done by phone, voicemail, email, or in person. It is particularly important for students to talk to their teachers if they are unable to complete a graded assignment because of illness or injury, whether it is an in-class assignment such as a test or quiz or an out-of-class assignment such as a paper or project. It is the student’s responsibility to clarify with teachers as soon as possible when the assignment will be made up. A student’s advisor and the Student Life Office are notified of Health Center visits that occur during class-time as well as overnight stays in the Health Center. When a student misses a class because of being in the Health Center, the Student Life Office will excuse the absence and Accountability Points (AP’s) will not be given. Although teachers are not automatically notified when students miss their class for medical reasons, teachers can and often do check with the Dean or the Health Center to verify whether a student has been in the Health Center during their class.

We do strep tests and urinalyses at the Health Center at no charge. Blood tests are drawn at the Health Center and sent to the local hospital, the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, in Greenfield. We do not have X-ray facilities at the Health Center. Students are transported to the Baystate Franklin Medical Center for X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, etc. The Baystate Franklin Medical Center will bill your insurance company directly for lab tests and X-rays done at their facility.

Health Insurance

The healthcare landscape in the United States is uniquely complicated and unfortunately illness and injury in teenagers can occur unexpectedly. Therefore, all students at Deerfield Academy are required to be enrolled in a US based health insurance plan with adequate provisions for local coverage. International students are required to enroll in the Student Resources Plan offered by United Healthcare. To be a boarding student at Deerfield Academy it is requisite you have documented insurance coverage at all times during the school year. If you have any concerns about your insurance coverage please speak with your broker.


The Health Center fee covers most on-site expenses associated with routine outpatient use of the Health Center and stays in the infirmary. Charges will occur for additional services and are handled in the following way:

  • Orthopedic equipment will be charged to the individual student’s account.
  • Fees for transportation to medical appointments (such as doctor, dental and radiology) will be billed to students’ accounts through the Finance Office. Fees will be set annually and determined by distance.
  • Services provided outside the Academy including, but not limited to, consultant visits, emergency room visits, ambulance transport, laboratory services and x-ray services are billed to the student’s health insurance and families are responsible for any additional fees not covered by insurance.
  • Immunizations not covered by state-funded resources will be charged to the student’s account.
  • The bill for an appointment with the health center’s consulting psychiatric provider or disordered eating counselor will be sent to the student’s family who are responsible for payment and submitting the claim to their insurance company for reimbursement

The school physician frequently refers students to specialists in the local area, usually in Greenfield. Most commonly these referrals are for specialists in orthopedic surgery, general surgery, and oral surgery. However, a wide variety of medical and surgical specialists are available in the local area and those referrals are made as the need arises. Transportation is provided to and from doctor’s offices in Greenfield by the school for a small fee. The local hospital is the Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. The closest tertiary care center is the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA, a major teaching hospital associated with Tufts University Medical School.

The Health Center staff does not include a dentist or other medical specialists. If such services become necessary, the Health Center will arrange appointments and transportation to area offices.

Contact the Health and Wellness Center
Fax 413-772-1118

Mon-Sun, All Day
D.S. Chen Center

PO Box 55
Deerfield, MA 01342