KU completes transition of Watkins Health Services oversight to regional healthcare partners


For decades, Watkins Health Services has provided outstanding healthcare for students on the Lawrence campus. In doing so, Watkins has enabled us to prioritize excellent and convenient medical care in a way that has differentiated KU from many of our peer institutions.

In an effort to proactively position Watkins for continued success, in 2019 we began exploring new management options for Watkins that would enhance the level of care and address emerging challenges we observed at other university healthcare facilities across the nation. In exploring options, we were fortunate to have two outstanding partners in The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health, with whom we had previously launched the groundbreaking new Kansas Team Health model for student-athlete care.

After months of hard work, we are pleased to share that The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health will assume responsibility for medical management and oversight of Watkins beginning this month. This new model makes the resources of The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health available to provide expanded care for students in the future while establishing a clear medical-oversight model today.

More specifically, this partnership will:

  • ensure a legacy of quality, affordable healthcare for students
  • provide seamless continuity of care when students need specialized services not provided within the student clinic
  • sustain Watkins’ expertise in providing care and education to students
  • connect KU medical providers to multi-disciplinary medical teams who are leading the way in addressing some of the most complicated health issues
  • maintain a friendly, collegial working environment while providing the security of medical oversight from a major health system
  • develop attractive and competitive medical jobs capable of attracting the most talented and diverse workforce possible to serve an increasingly diverse student population

We want to thank the student leaders, staff and partners who have worked on this initiative. We especially want to thank staff in Student Affairs and Watkins Health Services for implementing this initiative while also managing KU’s response to the pandemic. This was a heavy lift, but it was worth the effort, and it was the right time to do it for our students given the new challenges presented by the pandemic.

Additionally, we want to introduce two new interim leaders at Watkins: Kory Barrett, who is serving as interim administrative director, and Sherri L. Vaughn, MD, who is serving as interim medical director. We plan to fill these positions permanently prior to the beginning of the next academic year. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming these interim leaders to our campus community.

Watkins Health Services has been a point of pride for KU for decades. This new oversight model ensures that will continue to be true for future generations of students and employees.


Doug and Tammara

Douglas A. Girod

Tammara Durham
Vice Provost for Student Affairs