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Counseling Services

VCOM Internal Counseling Services

Academic Counseling services are provided free of charge on each campus. The Academic Counselors hired by VCOM have a degree in Educational Counseling, PhD, or a PsyD degree. They are available for students who are experiencing academic difficulty but are also available to advise those students who are experiencing challenges in their personal life that may be affecting academic performance.  Occasionally, a student might be recommended or required by VCOM administration or the Promotion board to meet with an Academic Counselor due to an inability to make academic progress or if identified as needing academic assistance.  When an Academic Counselor recognizes a need for clinical counseling the counselor may recommend outside services.  More information regarding mental health services is below. 

Academic Counseling is confidential and information is not shared with administration, faculty, staff, or other students unless the safety of a student is in question. 

Students are informed prior to the Academic Counselor sharing student information.

Meet the VCOM–Virginia Director for Academic and Counseling Services

The Director for Academic and Counseling Services is Dr. Ed Magalhaes, PhD.  Dr. Magalhaes provides counseling for students who need assistance with academics, relationship issues, anxiety, life transitions, organizational skills, and stress management. These are the most common issues medical students tend to encounter; however, this list may include anything else that surfaces as a barrier to success in medical school like substance use, grief, and perfectionism. Sometimes students just feel overwhelmed and are unsure of the next best steps to take. Dr. Magalhaes can assist with problem-solving and also provide recommendations for outside services that may be beneficial. No issue is too big or too small, so don’t hesitate to reach out to him; his doors are always open!  Appointments may be conducted as in-person meetings or via SKYPE if a student is located away from campus.  To schedule an appointment, students should call or email Dr. Magalhaes or contact the Student Services Department or The Center for Institutional, Faculty, and Student Success for assistance.

Ed Magalhaes, PhD

Email: emagalhaes [at]
Phone: 540-231-1944

Dr. Edward Magalhaes is a clinical faculty member who specializes in behavioral medicine. He provides academic and student counseling at the VCOM - Virginia Campus, lectures on various topics in psychiatry and ethics, and serves as the humanistic expert for the Standardized Patient program. Dr. Magalhaes received his Doctoral degree in Education Curriculum & Instructional Design focused on Health Promotion & his Masters in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech. He has experience working as a short term crisis counselor; working as an outpatient counselor dealing with various mood disorders, addiction, anxiety, and PTSD. Dr. Magalhaes is also the immediate-past president of the Virginia Counselors Association.

Access to Counseling Services Across Campuses

Students may also Skype or have phone sessions with VCOM's Directors of Academic and Counseling Services from any of the three campuses regardless of student’s home campus.

External Counseling Services

In addition to the mental health counseling services provided on-campus, VCOM contracts with external mental health providers for student counseling services to assure that all VCOM students have readily accessible mental health services as preferred by the student.

  • By offering both on-campus and off-campus counseling services, students who are in their OMS 3 and OMS 4 years who are typically away from campus, have a variety of options for accessing mental health counseling services due to the multiple modalities of services offered.  If OMS 3 and OMS 4 students prefer to seek counseling services outside of these VCOM provided resources, they may contact VCOM’s Mental Health Counselor who can assist them in identifying a counselor in their area or the clinical site coordinator at their core rotation site who can provide information on local counseling services.
  • Students may use mental health services outside of these agencies at their own expense.

Counseling is confidential between the student and counselors of these agencies. Only in cases where the student is required by the Promotion Board, Professional and Ethics Standards Board, or Campus Dean to seek counseling for the purpose of student safety or patient safety is communication required between the counselor and VCOM administration.


New River Valley Community Services

For VCOM–Virginia students, VCOM has contracted with New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS) as the local mental health care provider (contact information below). NRVCS will provide mental health services to VCOM students and their immediate families (e.g., spouse and children who reside with the student). Upon the request of a student and/or their immediate family, NRVCS will provide the necessary number of sessions. The fee for the first four visits, per issue, is covered by the agreement between VCOM and NRVCS and is free to students and their immediate families.  Visits beyond this will be at the expense of the student (or the student’s family member). Psychiatric medication consultations are part of the services available to students and will be scheduled following an initial assessment.

New River Valley Community Services (be sure to identify yourself as a VCOM student)

700 University City Boulevard
Blacksburg, VA 24060

To make a non-emergency appointment, call: 540-961-8300
For 24 hour emergency care, call NRVCS ACCESS: 540-961-8400



VCOM has also contracted with WellConnect to offer confidential, voluntary counseling and resource referral services, to VCOM students and their immediate families (e.g., spouse and children who reside with the student). The program is specifically designed to help students manage and improve their mental health as they work to achieve their academic and career goals.

WellConnect provides confidential solutions to address:

  • Anxiety, stress and depression
  • Anger management
  • Substance use
  • Relationships and parenting
  • Student life balance
  • Housing and transportation issues
  • Financial and legal assistance

With a digital platform and a library of resources at, students can obtain the help they need no matter where they are. Students can take advantage of in the moment support (telephonic), local face-to-face counseling through WellConnect’s extended network of licensed mental health providers or structured telephonic counseling. VCOM students and their household members have up to 5 free sessions per issue, per year.  Multiple modalities reduce barriers such as distance, complex schedules or customary time commitments. With WellConnect, students are equipped with vital resources at their fingertips, 24/7, to ensure they have the support they need.

WellConnect (be sure to identify yourself as a VCOM student and to provide the access code previously provided to you)

For 24 hour emergency care or to make a non-emergency appointment, call:  1-866-640-4777


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to talk with a Crisis Counselor. For additional resources regarding suicide prevention, please visit: