A more holistic approach to health and wellness.
At Pomfret, we treat the whole person. Our dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and counselors work together as a team to offer the preventative care, comprehensive treatment options, and social-emotional guidance our students need to stay happy and healthy on the Hilltop.
The nexus of this work is our Health and Wellness Center, which opened its doors in the fall of 2018. This $4 million state-licensed facility features four single bedrooms with private baths, a multi-bed observation room, intake and consultation rooms, and three soundproofed counseling rooms. It also includes a $600,000 multi-use wellness studio (annex), where students can take yoga, meditation, and mindfulness classes.
The center employs five registered nurses and three certified counselors. It also maintains close ties with two local doctors. Dr. Nancy Austin, who serves as medical director for the school, is available to meet with students on campus every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. She is also available for scheduled appointments in her Putnam Office as needed. Dr. Perry Mandanis, our visiting psychiatrist, is available by request.
Our Health Center is staffed by a team of registered nurses who perform routine physical assessments, treat common illnesses and injuries, and administer medications under the direction of the school physician. These skilled practitioners are also available for private consultations. In the event that a student needs care after the Health Center is closed, a nurse is always on-call, and if necessary, will accompany the student to Day Kimball Hospital in nearby Putnam to seek medical treatment.
The goal of the Counseling Department is to provide students with a safe, appropriate, and effective resource for managing the difficulties of everyday life. School Counselors are available to evaluate treatment needs, and/or see students on a short-term basis of 3 to 5 sessions. If additional support is needed, our counselors will make arrangements for private therapy either on or off-campus. Appointments are made at the request of the student or at the suggestion of the advisor.
Beyond these core services, Pomfret also offers a number of programs, classes, and workshops that focus specifically on helping our students to cope with the stresses of life, understand the importance of healthy relationships, and the benefits good nutrition and regular exercise.
Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are staples of our wellness curriculum. Encompassing breath work, postures, meditation, and self-discipline, Pomfret promotes Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, or MBSR as a way to help students de-stress — a practice that they can take with them into their every day lives.
During adolescence, young people learn how to form safe and healthy relationships with friends, parents, teachers, and romantic partners. Both boys and girls often try on different identities and roles during this time. Peers, in particular, play a big role in identity formation, but relationships with caring adults – including parents, mentors or coaches – are also important for adolescent development. At Pomfret, we are working hard to make sure our students can identify and avoid unhealthy relationships, now and in the future.
Dr. Austin was trained in Canada, a fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada with a special competency in emergency medicine. Today, she oversees the Group Family Practice located in Putnam, CT, with office hours at Pomfret three mornings a week. Her professional interests include pediatrics, minor surgical procedures, management of diabetes, hypertension and chronic conditions, and the evaluation and triage of orthopedic injuries, acute infections, and illness. She is the president and chairman of ProHealth Physicians Corporation of CT.
After graduating from Wake Forest University, Dr. Mandanis earned his MD degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, where he also completed an internship and residency in pediatrics. He then moved to New England to complete both a residency in general adult psychiatry and his fellowship in child and family psychiatry at Brown University School of Medicine. His care is wholistic and biopsychosocial, with a focus on psychotherapies and psychiatric medicine when necessary. He fully understands the needs of our students and how to help them thrive through an integrated, multimodal, and collaborative approach.
Health Center Hours
Monday – Friday
7:30 am to 10:30 pmSaturday
10:00 am to 12:00 PM *
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm SUNDAY
10:00 A.M. TO 12:00 PM
6:00 PM TO 10:30 PM
* When testing or QUEST occur, the center opens at 7:30 a.m.