The only telltale sign that distinguishes the building that houses University Health and Psychological Services from other campus buildings is the bright blue emergency sign that adorns the outside of the building along Shaw Avenue.
Students may not know that there is a health center on campus that focuses on them. And, the best part â€” most visits and services are included in semester enrollment fees.
Director of University Health and Psychological Services Joyce Harris said that the one time semester fee is $89 but is subject to go up $2 every year until 2010.
Services include but are not limited to: immunizations, laboratory services, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries, and health care services available for women.
Mental health and counseling services are also available to students as well as an on-site pharmacy where students can fill their prescriptions at cost.
Harris said that most students donâ€™t even know all the elective services available.
â€œWe have a physical therapy program here and a health education/wellness program,â€ Harris said. â€œWe also have an alcohol prevention program. We are trying to work with students to make good choices.â€
Although most services are provided free of charge, some services require payment, like tetanus shots, pregnancy tests and other lab tests.
Harris believes that most students know about the health center.
â€œWe had about 33,600 visits last year,â€ Harris said. â€œHalf of the students use [the health center] two to three times each.â€
Students come in for a variety of issues, but Harris said that she sees some trends among students.
â€œThey come in mostly for womenâ€™s health, sore throats, colds, urinary tract infections and injuries,â€ Harris said.
The centerâ€™s closeness to the residence halls is a prime location, Harris said. She is planning to put up more signs so students know that they are in the right place when they come to the center.
Fermina Martinez, a junior majoring in theatre arts, does not have health insurance, so she sees the services of the health center as a major asset.
â€œI go there when Iâ€™m sick with my asthma or other stuff,â€ Martinez said. â€œI had to get an allergy shot with steroids recently.â€
Martinez sees the mandatory health fee included in registration as an acceptable charge for its services.
â€œI think it is very reasonable,â€ Martinez said. â€œI know you have to pay like $200 for stuff if you do not have health insurance.â€
Martinez learned about the health center and its services in a University 1 class. She likes the accessibility of the center as opposed to other health care services.
â€œIf you go to UMC Family Health Clinic you have to make an appointment,â€ Martinez said. â€œAt the health center, I usually walk in and get seen pretty quickly.â€
Harris said members of the medical staff go though a recruitment process like everyone else.
â€œGenerally we are looking for someone in family practice and someone who enjoys the young population,â€ she said. â€œUrgent care experience is good also.â€
Harris said that they also check the licenses to make sure everything is up to date.
Regardless of whether students use the health center, Harris wants to stress to students the importance of basic health coverage.
â€œWe donâ€™t cover the services if we have to send the students to the emergency room,â€ Harris said. â€œIt is important that students have health insurance in these cases.â€
Basic health coverage is available through the university. Cost varies depending on semester and age of student. More information is available at the health center.
University Health and Psychological Services is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with most services provided on a walk-in basis. More information is available at 278-2734.