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Tenille Gaines joins Emory Campus Life as executive director of CAPS

Tenille R. Gaines will join Emory University Oct. 2 as executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services.

Tenille R. Gaines will join Emory University as executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), beginning Oct. 2. Bringing a decade of counseling experience in higher education, Gaines will report to Campus Life’s James D. Raper, associate vice president for health, well-being, access and prevention.

“I look forward to joining the Emory community as it continues to cultivate collaboration and a community of care to meet the needs of its students,” Gaines says. “I am honored to work with Campus Life executive leadership and the other members of this phenomenal team.”

Under Gaines’ leadership, Raper explains, CAPS will continue to evolve its clinical service delivery methods to remain innovative and flexible — a critical component of excellence in university counseling service.

She will utilize quantitative and qualitative data to establish and implement strategic goals for CAPS while remaining deeply engaged in the university community to ensure a positive impact. As a member of Campus Life’s health and well-being leadership team, Gaines also will serve as an integral advisor for university responses to crises.

“During our highly competitive national search, Tenille impressed all who engaged with her. She brings a range of student-oriented leadership and clinical experience that will have a long-lasting impact on how we care for students’ mental health,” Raper says. “I cannot overstate the importance of Tenille’s role or the ongoing contributions of the CAPS staff in ensuring that Emory students continue to flourish. We are delighted to have her join Emory and our Campus Life team.”

Emory’s commitment to and investment in the health and well-being of its students is evident, according to Gaines, and aligns completely with her personal and professional values.

“As a first-generation college graduate and woman of color, I understand the importance of community,” Gaines says. “I want to help ensure we continue to find new ways to be in community with all of our students, destigmatize mental health care, and foster inclusivity, belonging and equity in delivering exceptional mental health services.”

Student-centered, seasoned leadership

Gaines currently holds a dual role at Michigan State University (MSU), serving as interim director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services and as director of Counseling Services.

Her MSU responsibilities include developing and coordinating an innovative and culturally informed stepped-care clinical service delivery model. She leads a multidisciplinary team, making clinical support available to 50,000 students and managing more than 20,000 annual counseling appointments.

Earlier in her MSU tenure, Gaines served as interim assistant director of counseling, providing administrative oversight for the day-to-day operations of a newly developed satellite location, after having served as CAPS’ co-coordinator for outreach.

Gaines previously served as special projects coordinator at the Auburn University College of Education’s Truman Pierce Institute,

A licensed psychologist, Gaines earned her PhD in counseling psychology from Auburn University, a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Georgia Southern University and bachelor’s degree in psychology from Winston-Salem State University.

She enjoys leisure time with family (including her significant other and their dog), traveling and catching a great movie — during which popcorn is a must. She also values performing community service as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and The Links, Incorporated.

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