UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Retiring, But Not Tired

Joel Grossman, coordinator of the Health Promotion Program of University Health Services.
MiMi Yeh
Joel Grossman, coordinator of the Health Promotion Program of University Health Services.

Joel Grossman, coordinator of the Health Promotion Program of University Health Services, is retiring from his position, which he has held for the past 13 and a half years. The job he held here is exactly what he went to school for. He majored in community counseling and although he spent his first years as a private psychologist first, his far reaching programs here at the university have affected the UMass community indelibly.

For example, on May 8, his office cosponsored “Faith Alive,” an interfaith panel presentation by UMass Boston students. “It was a wonderful panel,” he says, of the eight students, who explained to the audience how their various faiths help them get through tough times. Reverend Grossman is an interfaith minister, and realizes that everyone is a spiritual being.

He feels that events such as “Faith Alive” are at home in a public college, with students from religious and non-religious backgrounds, “It is very good for people who aren’t particularly connected to a certain religion. It honors what path works for you.”

In the Health Promotion Center, their general mission is to help students maintain and enhance their health and well-being.

“Well-being,” Grossman explained, “means mental, emotional and physical and spiritual health.” The health promotion program offers meditation, yoga, tai chi, smoking cessation, stress and time management, weight management, and a spirituality club.

Although he knows that actually attending these activities is the best way of experiencing them, Grossman smiles as he looks at a flier for “Faith Alive” and says that just posting fliers saying “Faith Alive” or “Spirituality Club” is an effective way to remind the university community that spirituality is all over the place.

Other contributions Grossman has made to UMass over the years include getting 960 pieces of the Aids quilt to the gymnasium for a display four years ago. Also, he was the chairman of the Chancellor’s Committee on Implementation of a Smoke Free Campus.

He presented at two national conferences on spirituality and higher education. He also contributed a chapter in a book called Transforming Campus Life, his chapter was titled “Innate Mental Health: Tapping the Divine Gift for Learning and Well-being.”

After he bids farewell to UMass Boston, Grossman plans to practice psychology in a private practice. In addition to his work at the university, he visits Essex County Prison once a week, and told The Mass Media that he hopes to start a faith-based, post-release prison project. He will still be here on campus to teach a class called “stress-management,” which is listed in the nursing section of the course catalogue, but is available for all students. It is a seven-week class, held one day a week, earning one credit and a good life-skill, as he described it.

Although Grossman isn’t sure what will be offered in his impending absence, he says that he leaves the Health Promotion Program in the capable hands of Donna Durfee, who has a holistic approach, and Linda Jargonson, whose life-coaching abilities are helpful.

“Being a student is stressful,” the retiring director noted, but he positively is sure that “whatever path you take, it’s going to take you where you need to go.”

About the Contributor
MiMi Yeh served as arts editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2001-2002; *2002-2003; 2003-2004 *Evan Sicuranza served as arts editor for Fall 2002 Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.