SF State Student health care under one roof
August 29, 2007 9:52 PM
Student Health Services staff members greeted incoming freshmen and their parents during Welcome Days, SF State’s first annual two-day orientation, and informed them of the variety of on-campus medical services offered to students.
From behind a table covered with brochures outside the Health Services Center, Barbara Salge, the program’s insurance coordinator, jests with a new student and her mother.
“Who’s the student here?” said Salge as a joke she likes to break the ice with. But mainly she is there to answer a question that lingers in parents’ minds as they send their ambitious young offspring off to their formative college voyage: “What happens if my child gets sick?”
She is approached by freshman Austin Granda’s mother, Elsie, wants to know precisely what is available if he runs a fever or has a stomachache.
Salge explains that Student Health Services has a staff of 60 that leaves it well-prepared to deal with such ailing. There are 10 physicians but also skilled nurses, lab technicians, educators and administrative workers.
The center, Salge said, has an urgent care facility and most of its services, such as doctor’s appointments, X-rays and lab work are included in the $103 health fee students pay during registration. Additionally, there is a full pharmacy to fill prescriptions.
Granda, who is worried about the portability of her son’s current medical coverage, said she feels put at ease.
“It seems like everyone is on the same page, watching out for our kid,” she said.
“It’s important to inform freshmen what we have here and that it’s very comprehensive,” she says. “And Welcome Days gives us the chance to educate and comfort parents.”
The health center itself is a therapeutic environment with a plush garden that sits at the building’s core and lets in plenty of natural light. Located below ground across from Burk Hall and the Psychology Building, it has all the appeal of a high-end private practice complete with a computerized touch-screen check-in system.
The center even has a psychiatrist on staff to help students cope with stressful times of student life and deal with mental health.
Unfortunately, while many students know of the services provided, the center’s Health Educator Albert Angelo says that most students do not use it enough.
“We would like more students to take advantage of what we offer,” he said.
In an effort to raise awareness for the center’s resources, Angelo says that Student Health Services will hold 50 educational workshops throughout the fall semester. The workshops, which cover topics such as stress management, smoking cessation, and dealing with breakups, are offered in cooperation with faculty and give extra credit as incentive for students to attend.
“The stress and breakup classes were really useful,” says senior Health Education major, Zabrina Olivares. “They helped normalize my feelings and I realized that I wasn’t crazy.”
While Olivares admitted to attending the workshops because her instructor made them mandatory, she said that both the classes and services at the health center have met many of her needs.
According to Angelo, the center will continue to offer its popular Family PACT program. Offering an array of reproductive health services, including free birth control, the government-funded programs made a splash among students when it debuted last year.
“It was a big success,” he said. “They loved the free services.”
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