Health Services Maintained Despite Stagnant Budget
Students check in at annual health fair.
October 20, 2003 3:43 PM
Alongside the vital medical care the Student Health Center provides to the nearly 30,000 students at SF State, the school-funded center puts an emphasis on providing health education and preventive care -- but these services are in jeopardy if the center doesn't receive a much-needed increase in funding, officials from Student Health Services said.
Despite the recent cutbacks and a stagnant budget, Student Health Services hosted a steady flow of students for their annual health fair Wednesday. Hundreds of students took advantage of free services, how-to demonstrations and informational booths on topics ranging from HIV prevention to stress management.
Health Educator and event coordinator Eva Wise feels that the fair not only brings attention to the center and the extensive and mostly free services it provides, but also is a great reminder of what students can do to avoid health risks.
"A lot of things we offer are free and it is good because in general a lot of what the Student Health Center does is to help young people take care of themselves," Wise said.
Arturo Gomez, a nursing student, feels the center needs to publicize its events and services more.
"It would be helpful if the health center provided more information or a reminder," Gomez said. "The health center is very important. If you have an emergency you should come here. Especially if you live on campus, you should come here for problems that can be prevented."
Free services at the fair included flu vaccinations, HIV tests, body fat and bone density measurements, along with educational information on healthy eating and overall good nutrition.
"I came in to get nutritional advice. I lost a lot of weight and I'm trying to gain it back," said Sally Morey, a special education major. "I was missing things and they spelled it out for me."
According to Wise, the fair was held at no cost to the center, which has felt the burden of campus-wide budget cuts over the last year. The center has lost its psychologist, seen the number of full and part-time physicians dwindle and has not received a cost of living increase in 11 years.
The center is funded by student money, which is included in each semester's fees. Currently students pay $84 a semester, up from $60 last year, and there is a referendum to raise the fee to $114 starting next year.
Schafle has tried to coordinate care with the county, but she said San Francisco Health and Human Services, like most publicly funded programs, is facing its own crunch.
Despite the tight financial situation, Wise feels the nearly 60 employees at the center are providing a great service to the campus.
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