Students who may have needed medical attention but were too busy to receive it may have better luck this semester.
On Jan. 17 Student Health Services expanded its hours to include the early evening and more time on Saturday. The center has also moved to a new facility, which will offer more privacy for patients.
“We’re going to be open an extra hour every day of the week,” Assistant Director of Student Health Services Mark Denys said.
The extra hours are intended to give students who work, have late classes, or who otherwise have a busy schedule the opportunity to utilize Student Health.
Denys said the new Student Health space will be more geared toward the confidentiality that is essential in a medical setting.
“Our front desk area is individualized now with sound absorbent panels so that a lot of the problems with confidentiality that we had in the old place are much more limited here in the new place,” Denys said. “Students sometimes felt uncomfortable because it really was all very on top of each other, especially in the old waiting room and the old front desk area, and there just was no room to spread out.”
In December, Student Health moved from the basement of Mitten Hall to the fourth floor of the newly renovated 1810 Liacouras Walk.
“It gives us a lot more space. We were a little cramped in the basement, not to mention the basement was never really set up for a doctor’s office.” Denys said. “We saw patients there with very limited facilities. We now have 20 exam rooms. We used to only have 10.”
The move is the result of a 14-monthlong construction project. Part of the reason for the move is because so many students are now living on or near campus. Newly constructed housing complexes like University Village, The Edge and the planned Avenue North Project mean that Student Health and other Temple departments will have to serve a higher volume of students.
“We have probably 8,000 students living on or near campus and that certainly has increased over the years,” said Theresa Powell, vice president of Student Affairs.
“If you think about it logically,” Powell said, “if you’re living six or eight miles from campus and you can go to your doctor or a doctor close to where you live, you’ll probably do that. But the more students that we have living on or near campus, they’re going to access the health center as they should.”
Denys said the center had about 35,000 visits per year over the last three years.
“During the semester we see about 200 students a day.” Denys said. “In the new place we should be able to see more and now we’re going to actually publicize and go out and market and really try and push student health forward.”
To spread the word about the new facilities, Denys said Student Health plans a kickoff celebration in February.
Denys also said he and the rest of the Student Health department are listening closely to feedback from patients and the Student Health Advisory Committee.
A group of 12 students, including 11 undergraduates and one graduate student, regularly attend committee meetings.
“[We ask] what do they expect from student health? What services do we offer that they’d like us to increase? What services that we don’t offer that they would like us to?” Denys said.
“Some of them are just patients who have been in with a complaint and I’ve talked to them and said, ‘Listen, you’re the kind of person I want to give us feedback. We can’t fix it if we don’t know it’s broken.”
Student opinions have been mixed.
“I’m kind of skeptical. I have to see it for myself, but it’s about time they made some changes,” sophomore entrepreneur major Shaundai Person said.
Kristen Cortez, a sophomore tourism and hospitality major, said she didn’t feel the same way.
“I think it’s a safer and more noticeable location,” she said.
At the Tyler and Ambler campuses, similar changes also took effect on Tuesday. Previously, the satellite campuses only offered students health services on campus one day a week.
“They nearly doubled the amount of hours they’re open,” Denys said.
Tulin Ozturk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.