Students at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center have a new resource to help them when facing difficulties in their academic, professional, and social lives. Carla Gool, a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in the field of mental health, has joined the university as a CARE navigator.
In this role, Gool serves as a crucial point of contact and guide for students and residents, connecting them to a wide range of resources both on and off campus to help them overcome personal challenges such as food insecurity, stress, or crisis. She also helps students and residents connect with academic coaches, counselors, social supports, and other needs for success.
The CARE navigator, who works with the CARE Team in the Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion, aims to create a safe and non-judgmental place for students to be understood and supported before their challenges interfere with their academic success and emotional well-being. Additionally, Gool will offer case management services to ensure ongoing wraparound support, helping individuals thrive during their time at the UT Health Science Center.
Upon beginning her work as a CARE navigator, Gool said she feels a strong sense of compassion and commitment to provide support during difficult times. “CARE navigators play a role in building a sense of community among students,” she said. “Additionally, we facilitate connections between students, faculty, and staff, creating a supportive network that enhances the overall well-being of students. This support contributes to a positive and successful academic journey.”
Gool’s journey in social work began with her education at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, a Master of Science in Consumer Science and Education, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her career started with Case Management, Inc., where she gained valuable experience working with the mental health population. This early experience laid the groundwork for her career in state government and the private sector, giving her a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges individuals and communities face.
“We are so excited for Carla to fill this essential position serving our students and our residents,” said Charles Snyder, PhD, associate vice chancellor for Student Success. “Having an experienced case management professional ready to hit the ground running is a great asset to the CARE Team and to UTHSC as a whole.”
Gool’s expertise in crisis intervention, whether dealing with severe mental health disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or community mental health, has consistently demonstrated her profound commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of those she serves. Moreover, as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Memphis, she actively engages with the community and advocates for policy changes addressing systemic issues affecting vulnerable populations.
The arrival of Gool as a CARE navigator is anticipated to further enhance the support and resources available to students and residents. Her presence at UTHSC exemplifies the institution’s dedication to providing holistic support for its trainees, reinforcing its commitment to their academic, professional, and personal success.