After three years of preparation, the Student Health and Counseling Center earned its accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare (AAAHC) during the association’s inspection in February.
The AAAHC’s stamp of approval is one of the highest levels of accreditation the health center can receive, said Janell Morillo, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Administration.
The inspection occurs once every three years over a two to three day period by a team from AAAHC. The health center was visited by one physician and one nurse who reviewed the center’s documents, website, policies and procedures, as well as interviewed all clinicians.
According to Morillo, AAAHC standards are ranked into one of four categories: substantial compliance, partial compliance, non-compliance and non-applicable.
Of the 743 standards applied to the student health center, 730 passed with substantial compliance and 13 with partial compliance.
“It is a rigorous process to go through the AAAHC accreditation,” Morillo said. “I’m incredibly proud to work with this group of staff. There are 43 staff members in the health center and having gone through this experience and read through every single standard, I am just incredibly proud and impressed with the level of service we provide to the university.”
Morillo has been with Fresno State for 22 years and was appointed to the health center last June. Knowing the visit was in approaching Morillo said that while at first daunting, she “rolled up” her sleeves and got to work.
Morillo praised her fellow staff members for their hard work and preparation. “This is a huge team effort of staff and clinicians and physicians and counselors that made this happen.”
Malia Sherman, the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, reflected on the rigorous accreditation process.
“I very much appreciate the accreditation process because it helps us make our programs and services the best that they can be and gives us new ideas for improvement,” Sherman said.
But the work doesn’t stop here. Sherman expressed goals to be met over the next three years before the center’s next accreditation.
“I would like to see our health center become even more integrated in providing medical and counseling services in sync with each other, and I would like to continue refining our existing services and expanding our service offerings, as needed,” Sherman said.
As for Morillo, her goals for the health center focus on marketing campaigns to spread awareness of the clinic to students on campus.
“I think the health center is a gem in the university that a lot students don’t know about or don’t utilize,” Morillo said. “It’s interesting to me to know that students pay a health fee every semester. It’s required as part of your student fees. Yet only about half of our students utilize our health center.”
The health center recently underwent a remodel and is set to improve its landscaping within the next month. Morillo hopes to host an open house as a way to kick off the marketing campaign of services provided through the center.
Morillo expressed her hope to highlight through these campaigns the role the health center plays in the life of university student.
“The health center really plays an important part in student success. I don’t think people always realize that but if you stop and think about it, if you don’t feel well or if you’ve got a lot of things going on in your life, you’re probably not going to do so well in the classroom,” Morillo said. “It’s part of that puzzle, that big puzzle, in coming here to Fresno State, doing well and earning that degree.”