The Counseling Center

Scott House and Hitchcock House
(413) 542–2354

Hours of Operation

Business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Counseling services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To access these services after business hours, just call our main phone line at (413) 542–2354.


The Counseling Center is now located in two buildings: Scott House, which is directly across the street from Orr Rink (the entrance is in the back, on the parking-lot side of the building); and Hitchcock House, which is across the street from Scott House (14 Hitchcock Road) and across from the Alumni Gymnasium.


The Counseling Center offers a wide array of confidential and free services, and students can access our counseling services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our purpose is to help students thrive while they are at Amherst. Often students face dilemmas or painful events and need a confidential place to sort out their thoughts, feelings and concerns. We help students develop skills to manage their emotions, understand and/or change their relationship patterns and develop social intelligence and resilience so that they are better able to respond to life’s challenges and opportunities. A list of our services follows below.

Individual and couples’ counseling is available to all enrolled students. Students can call (413) 542–2354 or drop by to make an appointment. Most students can be seen the same day they call. Common concerns students present include anxiety, depression, academic struggles, relationship concerns, transition to or from College, recovery from trauma, family issues, eating concerns and identity development.

Urgent care is provided to students who need same-day service and cannot wait for a scheduled appointment.

Morning Urgent Care Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

Afternoon Urgent Care Hours: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

After-hours counseling is available by phone to all members of the Amherst community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To reach an after-hours counselor on evenings, weekends or holidays, simply call the Counseling Center’s main line at (413) 542–2354.

Let’s Talk is an opportunity for students to have a 20-minute confidential consultation, with no expectation or requirement of subsequent appointments. Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit our website to find the hours and location.

• Support groups: Call the Counseling Center or visit our website for a current listing of the support groups we offer.

Psychiatric medication management is available to all enrolled students. Either a Counseling Center or Student Health Service provider must refer students for their first appointment.

• Consultation is available to faculty, staff, students and parents seeking advice on how to respond to students of concern or other issues that are related to another person’s mental health. Consultations are also available to students considering careers as psychologists or social workers.

• Presentations and workshops on mental health topics are available upon request. Simply call our office at least two weeks ahead to discuss the event and assure that we can meet your needs. 


The Counseling Center staff is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of student mental health information. Such information will not be released without the written consent of the student unless required by law or other special circumstances, which are outlined in the Counseling Center privacy practices policy. If a student has not reached 18 years of age, we will seek permission from parents or guardians to provide services.

To Schedule an Appointment

Appointments can be arranged by calling the Counseling Center at (413) 542–2354 or by stopping by the Counseling Center between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. If the situation is urgent, please let us know so that a counselor can meet with you on the day of your call. Please see our website for additional information, including our 24/7 after-hours care:


Jacqueline Alvarez, Ph.D., Psychologist and Director

Mary Breen, Office Manager

Debra Edelman, Ph.D., Psychologist

Sarah Erickson, Psy.D, Psychologist and Clinical Director

Laura Fusari, LICSW, Psychotherapist

Darien McFadden, Ph.D., Psychotherapist

Bryan Mendiola, Psy.D., Psychologist

Zamir Nestelbaum, M.D., Consulting Psychiatrist

Deborah Potee, LICSW, Case Manager

LuAnn Steele, Administrative Assistant

Thomas Wahlund, Psy.D., Psychotherapist and Groups Coordinator


Keefe Health Center

95 College Street

Phone: (413) 542–2267
Fax: (413) 542–2647

Office Coordinator:

Silvia Cummings 

Medical Director:

Warren H. Morgan, M.D., Board-Certified in Family Practice 


The Keefe Health Center staff members emphasize prevention and early intervention. We recognize the influence of physical, emotional, social and environmental factors on students and incorporate these factors into health care and educational programming. In addition to providing direct patient care, the professional staff plays an important liaison role with other campus departments and services.

Outpatient Services

The Keefe Health Center is located at 95 College St. It is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. when school is in session. Appointments are recommended and readily available, but walk-in care is also available for more acute medical problems.

When the Keefe Health Center is closed, outpatient walk-in care is available at University of Massachusetts Health Services. Please visit the website for current hours of operation. Transportation to University Health Services is provided by Amherst College Emergency Medical Services (ACEMS) and may be accessed by calling Amherst College Police at (413) 542–2111.

Although students are not charged for Health Center visits, health insurance cards are required at each visit in the event that laboratory tests, X-rays or other tests are necessary.

Hospital Services

For students with more serious medical or emotional problems, services are available at Cooley Dickinson Hospital (30 Locust St., Northampton, MA, (413) 582–2000) and at other nearby hospitals if complex medical care and/or surgical services are needed. Inpatient care and extended-stay outpatient services are not included in the tuition fee and require supplemental health insurance.

Supplemental Insurance Plan

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts mandates that every student is enrolled in a qualifying health insurance plan. Amherst College offers an insurance plan underwritten by United Healthcare Student Resources and managed by Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk. See also the Handbook section concerning medical insurance.


Amherst College Emergency Medical Services will transport a student to the appropriate health center—the Keefe Health Center, when open, or University Health Services at other times. The student must arrange for transportation to all other medical facilities.

Services Covered by Tuition

A student’s medical and mental health care is covered by tuition, if it is provided by the Amherst College staff. Available services are listed below: 

  • physician, physician assistant and nurse practitioner care, including gynecologic
  • injections for allergies and travel (there is a fee for travel vaccines)
  • nutrition consultations
  • health education programs
  • minor laboratory tests performed at the Keefe Health Center
Services with Additional Costs

Pharmacy: Most insurance plans, including the college plan managed by Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk, require a co-payment for prescriptions. Prescriptions written by the Amherst College medical staff can be filled through the Health Center or at any local pharmacy. 

Eye Care: Examination by the optometrist at University Health Services or other local optometrists requires additional fees.

Services Not Covered by Tuition

Health care that cannot be provided by the Keefe Health Center staff is not covered by tuition. Examples are as follows: 

  • hospital emergency room care
  • most surgical procedures
  • extended-stay services at University Health Services
  • specialty consultation
  • ambulance transportation
  • dental emergencies and routine dental care
  • physical therapy
  • X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI and CAT scans
  • laboratory tests that are performed off campus
Summer Care and/or Out-of-Area Care

The Keefe Health Center operates on a reduced schedule during College breaks (see our website for details).

Students enrolled in the Gallagher insurance program are covered for emergency services outside the Amherst area while in the U.S. The policy year terminates at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 15 each year, or at the end of the period through which the premiums are paid, whichever is earlier.


The Keefe Health Center staff is committed to maintaining the confidentiality of student medical information. Such information will not be released without consent of the student unless required by law or other special circumstances, which are outlined in the Health Center privacy practices policy. If a student has not reached 18 years of age, the parent(s) will be asked to give permission for certain procedures or hospitalization.

Sports Medicine

The Keefe Health Center provides pre-participation medical clearances for all varsity athletes, as well as medical care for athletic injuries. In addition, athletic trainers and physicians with training and experience in sports medicine are available to care for student athletes at the College’s athletic facilities. Health Center staff and training-room staff have a close working relationship to ensure coordinated and comprehensive care of student athletes.

Health Education

Please see the health education website for more information.