Dominic O. Vachon, M.Div., Ph.D.
Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care
Dominic O. Vachon earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Notre Dame, graduating in 1980 with a degree in psychology and philosophy, and earning his master of divinity degree in 1985. In 1993, he earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago.
As director, he is responsible for management, programs, research, student outreach, and scholarly engagement. In addition to teaching undergraduates, his work with the Center includes researching the physician-patient relationship, teaching effective communication skills, and collaborating with local and national organizations to advance the science of compassionate care in healthcare.
Prior to joining the Hillebrand Center, Vachon served as director of Behavioral Medicine and Caring Science Training at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center's Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Vachon is also is a practicing psychologist specializing in neurofeedback therapy. Past research has focused on the relationship between empathy and burnout. Other areas of interest include factors in maintaining caring behaviors in difficult work, the psychology of helping interactions, physician-patient dynamics, and the role of spirituality in helping others. Dr. Vachon provides workshops nationally in the area of maintaining balanced caring behaviors in the helping professions.
His upcoming book, "How Doctors Care: The Science of Compassion and Balanced Caring in Medicine," will be published in early 2019 through Cognella Academic Publishing.
Contact: Dominic O. Vachon
Father James K. Foster, C.S.C., M.D.
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Director, Center for Health Sciences Advising
Fr. Foster directs the Center for Health Sciences Advising and serves as chair of the Department of Preprofessional Studies. He closely monitors developments within the health profession admissions process including new schools, course requirements, and curriculum developments. Fr. Foster joined the Department of Preprofessional Studies in 1997 and became chair of the department in 2005.
Fr. Foster earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned his M.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine. He completed his training in Internal Medicine (1984) and Infectious Diseases (1986) at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. and was board certified in both areas. After several years in private practice, Fr. Foster entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1989 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He also completed a Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1997.
Contact: Fr. Foster
Kathleen Kolberg, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Kathleen Kolberg is responsible for advising preprofessional students in the Center for Health Sciences Advising. She not only advises them regarding preparations to apply for health profession schools, but also assists students experiencing medical, emotional or academic crises. Additionally, she teaches courses concurrently in the Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Psychology.
Kathleen earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and her doctorate from Notre Dame. Her professional interests include studying the impact of environmental stressors on prenatal and early postnatal development. She also studies the effects of stressors on function and medical conditions, and how these stressors affect adults being treated in medical facilities. Kathleen assists with National Newborn Developmental Care Recommended Standards and Recommended Standards for Newborn ICU Design.
Contact: Kathleen Kolberg
Lynn A. Damitz, M.D., FACS
Dr. Damitz '89 currently serves as the Chief of the University of North Carolina Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Director of Aesthetic Surgery and a Professor of Surgery. In addition, Dr. Damitz is active in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). She is also the representative to the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Center, and a trustee of the Southeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons.
After graduating from Notre Dame, she earned her medical degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in 1993. She then completed her general surgery and plastic surgery residencies at UNC. She also completed a general plastic surgery fellowship with Charlotte Plastic Surgery, and a breast and aesthetic fellowship with Nashville Plastic Surgery.
As an adjunct professor for the Hillebrand Center at Notre Dame, Dr. Damitz offers clinic insights for student training and partners on common research interests for compassionate care in medicine. Her professional specialty areas include facial and body aesthetics, breast and oncologic reconstruction, general reconstructive surgery of the face and body, and facial trauma.
She also serves as the vice president of the ND Club of Eastern North Carolina.
Marcus Engel, M.S.
Marcus earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree in narrative medicine from Columbia University. Marcus is proud to inspire compassionate communication in healthcare by putting an unforgettable name and face to the patient experience movement. He is a Certified Speaking Professional through the National Speakers Association, and a designated Certified Patient Experience Professional who advocates for consistently positive experiences across the continuum of care.
The author of five books, Marcus has more than 20 years of experience as a public speaker. He began the I'M HERE MOVEMENT, a global effort to help health care professionals embrace their power to comfort patients by simply being present. The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine awarded Marcus an honorary doctorate for his contributions to the field of healthcare. Marcus lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Marvelyne, and his Seeing Eye dog, Elliot, who is a 2017 graduate of The Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, New Jersey. Elliot enjoys belly rubs and interacting with his adoring fans on his Instagram (@TheBlondeLeadingTheBlind).
Contact: Marcus Engel
Rose Carroll, MBA
Operations and Strategic Coordinator
Rose Carroll '82 joined the Hillebrand Center in 2018 as operations and strategic coordinator. She graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in biology and in 2011 earned a Master of Business Administration from Clayton State University in Georgia.
Rose most recently served as the executive director of the Healing Bridge Clinic, a non-profit clinic providing free primary health care to the uninsured. She has previously worked as a surgical technician at Touro Infirmary & Mercy Hospital, and as a research assistant at Louisiana State University Medical Center & Tulane University School of Medicine. Rose has held leadership roles with the Notre Dame Alumni Clubs of New Orleans, Atlanta, and St. Joseph Valley, and serves as 1982 Class President.
Contact: Rose Carroll
Carry Teshka, Senior Department Coordinator
Kay Ernsberger, Office Coordinator
219 Jordan Hall of Science
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Phone: (574) 631-9536