California State University, Sacramento Associate Vice President, Student Health & Counseling Services
After a 20-year career working for a large hospital health care system in Austin, Texas, overseeing several clinics and departments, Dr. Joy Stewart-James made the leap to higher education in 2007, landing on her feet at Sacramento State. Since then, the seasoned public health professional has been widely credited with keeping the Sacramento State community safe, healthy and calm, even as the campus navigated the global COVID-19 public health crisis. She has become a recognized leader not only within the CSU system, but across the state and national college health communities.
After joining Sacramento State as executive director for Student Health and Counseling Services, Dr. Stewart-James was promoted to associate vice president in 2017. In her current role, she provides strategic leadership, management, fiscal oversight and programmatic direction for a comprehensive model of health and wellness for a campus of over 30,000 students. She oversees and manages Sacramento State’s fully accredited, multidisciplinary health care services, including urgent and primary care, mental health counseling services, pharmacy, radiology, nutrition, athletic training, sports medicine, health promotion services, basic needs, case management and student peer education programs.
While juggling a demanding portfolio and evolving student needs, Dr. Stewart-James has advanced numerous innovations that have transformed the way Sacramento State cares for its students. Most notably, she led the move away from a traditional medical-based model to a proactive and holistic wellness model, integrating medical and mental health services so that campus practitioners could better coordinate student care. She has dedicated herself to improving the patient experience and helping students to become better health care consumers. With a new paperless system that allows students to access appointments, view records and message their providers via their patient portal, use of the student health center has increased dramatically.
At the same time, Sacramento State successfully designed and constructed a new state-of-the-art health and recreational facility, The WELL. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Stewart-James stepped in to lead Sacramento State’s response, organizing an on-site community vaccine clinic, a testing site and contact tracing. She has also been tapped to lead systemwide initiatives, including efforts to implement Senate Bill 24, The College Student Right to Access, at all 23 campus health centers.
Dr. Stewart-James holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Miami, a master’s degree from the University of Oregon, Eugene and an Ed.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.