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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Student Health Center to offer weekend, evening hours; expand staff

Officials added evening and weekend appointment times, as well as a new gynecology advanced practice provider.
Chuckie Copeland
A student lounges outside of the Student Health Center’s Foggy Bottom hub.

Officials hired new staff and expanded the Student Health Center’s hours this semester to include weekend and evening appointment times.

The SHC is now open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays — after previously operating only on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. last academic year. University spokesperson Julia Metjian said the expanded hours will better serve students who have classes or work during the day.

Metjian added that Medical Services hired a gynecology advanced practice provider this fall and that Counseling and Psychological Services hired a clinician who specializes in LGBTQ+ student concerns in response to student feedback. She said CAPS currently has 13 counselors and “several” additional positions to be filled later this semester — an increase from 12 last semester, according to website archives.

Metjian said officials also expanded SHC service to the Mount Vernon Campus this semester by adding appointment times in Merriweather Hall Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and CAPS walk-in hours from noon to 4 p.m.

“Increasing our hours and increasing our staff numbers opens more appointment slots for students to establish a relationship with our providers and to access our services,” she said.

In January, officials partnered with telehealth company AcademicLiveCare, which Metjian said “expanded” access to SHC services, like counseling, psychiatric and medical care, to 24 hours a day. She said the partnership supplements the SHC’s hours, especially after the SHC closes and when students are not in the District.

“As the number of students presenting with health concerns has grown at various times, SHC advocates for more staffing, supplies, virtual platforms, changes in hours, etc. to keep the Center fully accessible to all of our students,” Metjian said. “We have been consistently supported by the institution in these efforts.”

More than 20 students said they find weekend and evening hours more accommodating, with more than a dozen saying they are now more likely to make an appointment with the SHC than before the change. More than half a dozen students said they previously experienced long wait times and difficulty getting in touch with SHC staff when trying to make an appointment because of the SHC’s limited appointment slots.

Jordan Fields, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, said adding Saturday appointments is a “step in the right direction” to give students sufficient opportunities to seek help. She added that the later weekday hours would improve the “well-being of students” because students with classes until 5 p.m. can still visit the SHC.

Fields said last fall, SHC staff told her she could not get an appointment for two weeks when she was “more sick” than she’d ever been and could barely talk. She said she hopes the expanded hours will increase the number of available appointments so that students can get an SHC appointment sooner.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the hours that would make me more inclined to make an appointment,” Fields said. “If I saw that the more hours were increasing the availability of appointments, then that would maybe make me more inclined to schedule an appointment.”

Aurea Gingras, a senior majoring in creative writing, said she used to play for the women’s basketball team and that the SHC’s old hours made it “stressful” to schedule an appointment between practices and afternoon classes.

She said she is more likely to make an appointment with the SHC if she is sick — as opposed to an outside medical provider, like a CVS MinuteClinic — because of the expanded hours, which work with her schedule.

“With my current schedule, it would make a lot more sense based on the current hours,” she said. “If they had stuck to the hours from last year, I probably would not consider it just because I don’t have time.”

Stella Meserve, a junior majoring in data science and geography, said she visited the SHC her freshman year when she had bronchitis and that SHC staff were “difficult” to reach because they would put her on long holds or not answer her calls. She said the Saturday hours are helpful because students who get sick on Fridays don’t have to wait until Monday to get an appointment.

“It’s definitely beneficial to have it open on the weekends because your body isn’t going to decide that you have to get sick on a weekday when on-campus stuff is open,” Meserve said.

Anna Ristic, a sophomore, said it was “annoying” that she could not visit the SHC on weekends last year because most of her free time is during the weekends. She said she had to wait a few extra days to be seen during the week because the SHC hours did not work with her class schedule, which was “frustrating.”

She said the Saturday hours are “easier,” but that four weekend hours might not be enough.

“I like that they added hours on the weekends, but I feel like four hours is not significant enough,” Ristic said. “I don’t think they can see everyone in four hours.”

Fiona Bork and Skylar Blumenauer contributed reporting.

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About the Contributor
Rory Quealy, Assistant News Editor
Rory Quealy is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications from La Grange, Illinois. She is the 2023-2024 assistant news editor for the Health and Research beat.
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