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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

VCOM contracts with mental health providers in the campus community for student counseling services. Students are provided with contact information at the time of orientation. For VCOM–Virginia students, New River Valley Community Services is the designated mental health care provider (contact information below). Mental health counseling provides behavioral healthcare services to VCOM for the benefits of its students and their immediate families (e.g., spouse and children) who reside with the students. Upon the request of a student and/or their immediate family, New River Valley Community Services will provide each participant with the necessary number of sessions per year. The fee for the first seven visits, per issue, is covered by the agreement between VCOM and these agencies 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). The purpose of the sessions will be: (1) to provide crisis intervention and counseling services; (2) to determine the participant’s need for assistance, counseling, and treatment; or, (3) if appropriate, to refer the participant to one or more resources for assistance or treatment. 

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

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

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:

  • Students may use mental health services outside of these agencies at their own expense.

Counseling Services for Third and Fourth Year Students

In the student’s third and fourth year of medical school, students are provided with other options for counseling services, since they are typically away from campus during that time and the utilization of the above services would be inconvenient. Information concerning counseling services for third and fourth year students may be obtained through the clinical site coordinator at each student’s rotation site or follow the link below for the opportunity to contact them on your own. Students may also Skype with VCOM's academic counselor.

Mental health providers available to third and fourth year students