IHC recommends SCC make room for more appointments

In an IHC survey, students reported problems scheduling appointments, staff that trivialized patients’ symptoms, and a lack of privacy at the front desk.

By Asher Klein

Inter-House Council (IHC) published the results of a survey on students’ views of the Student Care Center (SCC) over the weekend. Students reported having a number of problems, including scheduling appointments, staff that trivialized patients’ symptoms and a lack of privacy at the front desk.

The report, executed in March and April on SurveyMonkey.com, recommended expanding the size of the SCC to meet students’ need for appointments and training staff on sensitivity to a number of issues, as well as fostering a larger presence on campus to raise awareness of the services the SCC provides.

Third-year Richard Ruiz, the outgoing IHC president, said the report was meant as a fact-finding mission. “We attempted to go in this without expectations,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect because the stories that you hear vary.”

Ruiz, who was on the committee that wrote and compiled the survey, noted one area of great concern is the SCC’s alleged problems scheduling students to see a doctor. According to the report, 11 percent of respondents said their appointments had been changed or canceled without their consent, a “notable” number given that just under half of the students said they had trouble scheduling an appointment within a week of an accident or contracting an acute illness.

“Many feel that the trouble of getting an appointment outweighs the quality of care and thus would forgo health care from the SCC than actually go to the SCC,” the report said.

The report said one in two respondents were satisfied by the sexual health care service they received, with one in three women wary of going to the SCC for a pregnancy test. A third of those surveyed felt staff had trivialized their symptoms.

“Since these are people who have gone to the SCC—these are based off people’s experiences in the past year—I hope [SCC director Kristine Bordenave] takes these recommendations into consideration, especially because it is a statistically significant report,” Ruiz said. Bordenave was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Not all results were negative. Ruiz said responses indicated the friendliness of the staff stood out, and the number of these responses, though not overwhelming, points to a positive attitude.

“What I’ve seen so far is how interested [patients] are, how concerned they are about their own health care,” he said.

The report was not sent to administrators, who had not read the report Monday and declined to comment on the findings.

“We recognize that the SCC has been a concern for some students, and we take those concerns very seriously,” said Martina Munsters, deputy dean of students, who added she would be reading the study in the near future.

She continued: “In part as a response to concerns about access, the SCC has increased its hours in recent months. We have also undertaken a thorough study of student health care, including engaging outside experts to examine our services and the student experience. We will continue to work to improve health care, broadly, for all students.”

That study, implemented by Vice President for Student Life Kim Goff-Crews, is currently in the questioning stage, according to Ruiz. “Dean Goff-Crews’s survey will add to the collective data. If her results are correlated to our results, then we’ll know what’s fact.”

The five-person committee that compiled the survey questions consisted of the Hitchcock, Filbey, and Bradbury IHC members, as well as Ruiz and one other executive committee member.

Starting winter quarter, the committee sought help from students and a number of organizations and administrators, including Student Government, Graduate Student Union, Bordenave, and housing director Katie Callow-Wright. With their input, the committee wrote 53 questions, touching on scheduling appointments, general health concerns and sexual health concerns. 1,293 responded, but only 769 College students, and 13 graduate students passed a screening process that ensured responses were based on “personal experiences and not anecdotal information,” according to the report’s methodology.

Ruiz, who said people have raised issues with the SCC to IHC since he was a first-year, lamented that students haven’t had an outlet for their concerns.

“Until now, there had been no organization that made the effort to take up their problems. There are so many groups on campus and these issues have been raised so many times. Why was it only now that a group took the initiative to address these issues?”

Ruiz will send the report to Goff-Crews on Tuesday after IHC votes on whether to endorse the results.