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Focused on wellness

Student health and wellness supports expand to meet students’ needs

Student Life

By Laura Barron

Memorial’s Student Wellness and Counselling Centre is piloting evening appointments for the health clinic and planning renovations to the fifth floor in the University Centre (UC).

In recent weeks, the Student Health Clinic has offered evening appointments for students. Participation in the evening clinics held so far has been high, and there are plans to offer more evening clinics as demand arises.

‘Flexible access’

For clinic hours or to book an appointment, call 709-864-7597 or visit the clinic in UC-4023.

“In order to ensure we are addressing the changing needs of students in a timely and effective manner, we continuously review and adjust our programming in response to objective outcome monitoring and subjective satisfaction,” said Dr. Peter Cornish, director, Student Wellness and Counselling Centre.

“This is important because we hear repeatedly at Memorial, and across the country, that access to the appropriate health care at the appropriate time is a priority. This flexible access is especially important to students who have busy schedules and may be juggling employment, studies and family responsibilities.”

“There are some exciting changes ahead for wellness on this campus.” — Dr. Peter Cornish

The health clinic is part of the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre and is open to currently registered students of Memorial University. Children and spouses of students are also welcome. The clinic offers primary care, or family medicine services, emphasizing first contact care, health maintenance, primary prevention, and management of common acute and chronic illnesses.

Demand for medical care and counselling at Memorial is high. In the 2015-16 academic year, there were more than 13,000 student visits at the clinic. The counselling centre had 4,971 individual appointments in 2015-16, and 586 group appointments.

Changing structure

Based on input from students, and recommendations by internal and external consultants over the past five years, the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre has been engaged in a process of restructuring and realigning programs to better meet the changing needs of students.

With the goals of improving care, reducing administration and redirecting resources to direct student supports, the Student Health Clinic became part of Memorial’s Student Wellness and Counselling Centre in 2014.

“Unlike most universities, which have long health and mental health service wait times, this restructuring has enabled Memorial to provide expanded and rapid access to innovative, more empowering, health and mental health programming,” said Dr. Cornish.

In order to further streamline and increase student access to health and mental health supports, the centre has since implemented a leaner administrative structure. The savings are being invested in expanded access and more innovative, effective programming for students.

“Through this restructuring, we are already increasing the availability of physicians by offering evening clinics.” –Dr. Peter Cornish

“In this new structure, all physicians will be working directly with students, and will not spend time on administrative responsibilities,” said Dr. Cornish. “Through this restructuring, we are already increasing the availability of physicians by offering evening clinics,” said Dr. Cornish. “Over the next year, we will achieve further efficiencies and expand collaborative care options through the co-location of medical and mental health supports in a newly renovated interprofessional space on the fifth floor of the UC.”

Standard model

Historically, Memorial’s health clinic had a chief physician role, which had key administrative functions. In the new structure, the director of the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre is responsible for leading and overseeing the work of the health clinic, counselling centre and wellness programs.

Dr. Cornish was appointed as director of the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre in September 2015, and has been assuming administrative responsibility for this area since he began in the role.

Now, all physicians at Memorial’s Student Health Clinic work within a fee-for-service model, whereby patient visits and services are billed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan (MCP). This is the standard model for medical services, both provincially and nationally.

New centre

This past October, Dr. Cornish announced plans for the new Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre, which will include an expansion of health and wellness supports for students. The centre will bring wellness researchers, educators and service providers from wide-ranging disciplines together in an incubator space designed specifically for developing and evaluating innovative health and wellness programing.

1/ Design for Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre

Photo: Facilities Engineering and Development, Facilities Management

2/ Design for Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre

Photo: Facilities Engineering and Development, Facilities Management

3/ Design for Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre

Photo: Facilities Engineering and Development, Facilities Management

4/ Design for Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre

Photo: Facilities Engineering and Development, Facilities Management

Renovations

The Student Wellness and Counselling Centre is currently housed on the fifth floor of the University Centre, while the Student Health Clinic is located on the fourth floor of the UC. There is space available on the fifth floor, next to the counselling and wellness space. This space will undergo renovations to welcome the health clinic to the fifth floor and to create one floor focused on student wellness, including one integrated waiting room for all student appointments.

The first phase of the renovation, beginning in winter 2017, will allow family physicians to join the existing counselling and wellness space in May 2017.

“There are some exciting changes ahead for wellness on this campus,” said Dr. Cornish. “We expect to continue leading the country with innovation and outcomes.”


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