Assistant Vice Chancellor Claudia Covello will retire this year after working 37 years at UC Berkeley’s University Health Services, or UHS, according to a campuswide email sent by Interim Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton on March 21.
Covello began her journey at UC Berkeley as an undergraduate studying clinical psychology and volunteered much of her time at various health care organizations, such as Cowell Hospital — the original name of UHS.
After her graduation in 1978, Covello was asked to return to UHS to help develop the campus’s first women’s health clinic with the goal of redesigning the health care of women so they were “empowered” and informed about their bodies, which she said would foster a partnership between women and their clinicians.
Covello added that her role in developing this clinic led to her long-term career with UC Berkeley’s health care system.
During her time at UHS, Covello held “dozens” of roles, and in 1990 she was tasked with developing the Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP.
“Claudia has provided institutional expertise and strong stewardship over SHIP, developing a robust insurance plan for our undergraduate and graduate students,” Sutton wrote in the email.
After working as the deputy director of UHS, Covello was promoted to the role of UHS executive director — a position she held for 10 years. She was appointed assistant vice chancellor in July 2017 but remained in her role at UHS to continue her work in promoting student and faculty well-being across campus.
Covello’s most recent project — the Collaborative Care Initiative — placed mental health counselors in primary health clinics to respond to concerns from students who would not go to counseling centers. Covello said she received feedback from students who said they would not have visited a mental health professional had it not been so easily available.
“It was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on because it was so clearly needed and appreciated by students,” Covello said.
In her retirement, Covello said she plans to be a “world traveler and a free spirit.” Covello added that she and her husband want to begin checking items off their bucket list, and that she knows UHS will be well-run in her stead.
“Working with people who share my same passion and mission at the UHS was one of the joys of my life,” Covello said. “I may have been the leader these past 10 years, but I leave it in good hands.”
Covello’s last official day will be June 28.
“She will be missed here on campus, and she is leaving a great legacy for UHS and our university,” Sutton said in the email.