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Tori Fisher / Gavel Media

University Health Services Unveils New Initiatives

The University Health Services office at Boston College has moved to 2150 Commonwealth Avenue. While the new location was officially opened on July 27, 2016, traffic is just starting to pick up with flu season approaching.

UHS’s new location has both inpatient and outpatient services. In fact, BC is one of only a few universities in the United States with inpatient services for students, an advantageous service that often expedites recovery.

While the new location is no bigger than the old one, it boasts a more efficient layout and improved technology.

Thomas Nary, Director of University Health Services and Sports Medicine here at BC cites the most significant addition to UHS is, “a student portal where students can make appointments online, getting the provider they want and/or the time that suits their schedules.”

Other new additions include  moveable tables and adjustable lighting in examination rooms. The new diagnostic tools station and electronic vital signs measurement panels are also huge improvements, as well as the additional storage space and meeting rooms which serve to improve UHS’s efficiency.

The facility is also now equipped with an HVAC system and motion-sensored lights and faucets, reducing UHS’s environmental impact.

The inpatient services have 10 beds where students can rest and recuperate in the Health Center. This allows students to receive more immediate and effective medical attention from the doctors, nurses, and nurse-practitioners on-hand, thus improving UHS’s ability to aid students.

Aside from the inpatient and outpatient units, UHS provides various other specialty services. These include dietary and nutrition counseling, women’s health services, STI screening, immunizations, and skin consultations.

While many of these services are not new, UHS’s new layout and improved technology makes it more accessible to students.

The new facility can be accessed through St. Thomas More Road, which is adjacent to the new Thomas More apartments.

While the BC UHS is well-equipped to treat sick students, they are also emphasizing the need to be proactive during flu season in order to minimize the risk of contracting an illness. The simplest way to do so is washing one’s hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

Additionally, avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth can help prevent the spread of disease. UHS also recommends getting a seasonal flu shot. UHS has been working to contact students with health issues who may be more susceptible to contracting the flu by directing them to local pharmacies.

Pharmacies work with UHS and bill the student’s health insurance, making it “hassle free," according to Nary.

With the approach of flu season also comes midterm season, and stress can often lead to headaches, nausea, and a weakened mental state. 

UHS’s campaign “BChill” offers tips to help students manage stress, such as reading, getting exercise, or taking time to hang out with friends at least once a day.

Stress can also lead to reduced sleep, and exhaustion can often cause students to contract illnesses more easily. Students in need of additional support can contact UHS at (617) 552-3225 University Counseling Services at (617) 552-3310.

Additionally, UHS is working with the office of Health Promotion in order to combat problem drinking on campus, Nary said.

UHS is increasing alcohol screening for students not necessarily with a ‘problem’. The goal is to recognize a problem before it gets worse,” he commented.

This initiative looks to create a healthier drinking environment at BC,  one in which students feel more comfortable seeking help.

With its new location, new technology, and proactive initiatives, UHS is looking to help students have the healthiest semester possible.

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