October 21, 2011

Student care unified under SHCS

Efforts by the University’s Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) to revamp its image and consolidate its care providers are moving forward, though students are complaining that the flurry of administrative changes lack clarity.

The SHCS effectively consolidated the University’s two main health services, student counseling and primary care, into one agency when it launched last winter. The agency formerly known as the Student Care Center (SCC) is now the Primary Care Service (PCS); what was once the Student Counseling and Resource Service (SCRS) is now simply the Student Counseling Service (SCS).

Assistant Vice President for Student Health and Counseling Alex Lickerman (M.D. ’92), who directed the creation of the SHCS, said the name changes were part of an effort to “rebrand” and consolidate the health services on campus.

Reactions have been positive among students who know about the SHCS’s changes, such as the new Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) unit, a division focusing on helping students establish positive long-term and future-oriented habits to better manage mental and bodily wellness.

“I think it’s great that the [HPW] unit wants to promote techniques for positive self-image and better health to students,” second-year Safiya Johnson said.

For some, however, the reshuffling has only muddied the alphabet soup of a health network that encompasses several agencies.

“Renaming the facilities was arbitrary, particularly when the school does not do much to notify students that these changes have been made,” second-year Jose Medina said.

Second-year Edgar Gonzalez acknowledged the University’s good intentions but found certain changes to be poorly contrived.

“The name changes are confusing,” Gonzalez wrote in an e-mail. “While the University may be doing all it can to make sure these programs are organized in the most efficient manner, changing their names is not going to automatically cause any sort of improvement.”

In an interview last year, Lickerman said that making health services more accessible to students was one of his highest priorities.

“The most immediate [goal] really is improving access—getting students into appointments at the Student Care Center in a timely way,” Lickerman said.

Johnson, Medina, and Gonzalez suggested ways in which SHCS can better promote these recent changes to health care services, such as explaining changes via e-mail and social networking and putting fliers around campus and on dining hall tables.