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New director of McKinley Health Center named

Photo+of+the+McKinley+Health+Center+on+1109+S.+Lincoln+Ave.+on+April+17%2C+2016.
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New director of McKinley Health Center named

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Photo of the McKinley Health Center on 1109 S. Lincoln Ave. on April 17, 2016.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Dr. Robert Parker will serve as the new director of the McKinley Health Center at the University, if formally approved by the Board of Trustees.

“I believe Dr. Parker is passionate about the general welfare of our students and certainly understands the holistic approach to health and well-being,” said Dr. Danita Young, vice chancellor for student affairs, in an email.

The former director, Dr. Robert Palinkas, served for 15 years until he retired in December 2016. Lowa Mwilambwe, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, was the interim director.

Parker is a board-certified internal medicine physician who spent 18 years at Carle Foundation Hospital. He completed his medical training at the University of Virginia and residency at North Carolina Baptist Hospital.

During his time at Carle, Parker also achieved an Executive MBA through the University’s College of Business.

“As an expert in college health, Dr. Parker is committed to providing medical care in a culture that supports equity, inclusion and respect, and will expect the McKinley team to have the same standards,” Young said.

Parker served as Carle Clinic’s CEO for five years before accepting a CEO position at Mount Sinai Health System in Chicago, while also acting as an active physician and educator at Health Alliance Medical Plan.

Parker remained at Mount Sinai for nine years before returning to Health Alliance as chief marketing officer. He left that position in December 2014 and went on to hold practices at McKinley Health Center and at Mile Square.

Parker is also involved with other University of Illinois campuses, serving as an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he teaches and co-directs the Executive MHA program.

Parker is set to begin his duties on Nov. 1.

“I trust he will build upon current outreach efforts and peer education initiatives already established,” Young said.

Young said she is certain that Parker will encourage students to make healthy decisions in their college careers.

As Mr. Mwilambwe stated, ‘We feel very fortunate to have a talented physician and experienced administrator of Dr. Parker’s caliber join us in this role,’” Young said. “‘His background and experiences fit well with McKinley’s needs and should help make the transition a seamless one.’”

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