Introducing our new-look Health & Wellbeing team

Monday 27 September 2021


St Catharine’s is delighted to announce two new roles that have been purposefully created to enhance the wellbeing and health support available to the College community, thanks to the generosity of donors: Head of Wellbeing, and Community Health Practitioner. They will work alongside a wider welfare team led by the Senior Tutor, including ten Undergraduate Tutors, five Postgraduate Tutors, the Chaplain, four College Counsellors, Porters and elected student representatives.

Dr Holly Canuto, Senior Tutor, commented, “St Catharine’s has earned a reputation for being at the forefront of welfare provision because of the dedication of our existing team, who stepped up to help us navigate the additional challenges posed by the pandemic. Our Head of Wellbeing and Community Health Practitioner will take our provision to the next level, for the benefit of students, staff and Fellows alike. On behalf of the College, I am enormously grateful to Honorary Fellows Peter and Christina Dawson for funding these important new roles. Peter arrived to study Natural Sciences in 1974, and he and Christina have shared our vision for health and wellbeing at St Catharine’s over a number of years.”

St Catharine’s is delighted to welcome Janette Dougal in the role of Community Health Practitioner, which builds on the more traditional position of College Nurse with an enhanced remit and availability throughout the year (including vacation periods). Janette will be joining the College’s COVID-19 Response Team, leading preventative health initiatives and providing clinical support in response to the physical and mental health needs of the College community. Janette is a Registered Nurse accredited in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Occupational Health) and her previous work in occupational health has spanned a diverse range of settings: from wood yards to law firms.

Janette explains, “My earliest impressions of St Catharine’s were of feeling welcomed and supported – first on a tour of the College led by the late Dr Philip Oliver when I was a parent of a prospective student, and later during milestone events in my son’s life once he matriculated. Fast forward to 2021 and it is an exciting time to be joining St Catharine’s. I have been impressed that the College is seeking to lead the way in Cambridge by going far beyond what we are legally required or expected to offer. The new, more modern role of Community Health Practitioner will involve me working closely with students, staff and Fellows to deliver preventative health initiatives alongside one-to-one clinical appointments.”

St Catharine’s is also proud to announce that Mary Simuyandi has been appointed Head of Wellbeing, having been the College’s Welfare Officer since January 2020. Mary will be responsible for ensuring that the wider Health & Wellbeing Team has access to the support and resources necessary to enable students, staff and Fellows to thrive at St Catharine’s. Mary explains the change in terminology from welfare to health and wellbeing:

St Catharine’s has not been alone in experiencing an increase in demand for health and wellbeing support: for example, the number of adults in Britain experiencing some form of depression more than doubled during the pandemic, and this increase was particularly marked in young adults under the age of 29.* We have shared how we deliver this support at St Catharine’s with others in the Collegiate University and this has coincided with other Colleges implementing similar models, which have tended to be framed in terms of community health and wellbeing. By using this shared terminology for our own team, we intend to strengthen our connections with colleagues across Cambridge.

“I have already learned a great deal from my first 18 months here, and intend to use this experience to integrate wellbeing into all facets of College life. With the generosity of donors like Peter and Christina, and now Janette’s arrival, I am confident that our team is in a great position to continue to improve the support available at St Catharine’s in the months and years ahead.

Mary Simuyandi, Head of Wellbeing (left), and Janette Dougal, Community Health Practitioner (right)

* ONS. Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: January to March 2021


Visit the College's welfare and wellbeing resources.