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Health and Wellness to offer more services at new location

October 11, 2012

By Samah Assad

After more than a decade of residing in the Science and Research Building, Cleveland State University’s Health and Wellness Services will combine its efforts with the Counseling Center by moving to a new, restored facility in October.

The future site, which is a building located on 1836 Euclid Ave. directly across from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, is currently being renovated to accommodate several units that will share the same space. Health and Wellness will be on the second floor along with Counseling Services, which is presently located in Rhodes Tower.

According to Dr. Henry Eisenberg, director of Health and Wellness Center, coupling Health Services and the Counseling Center is the main purpose of the move. It will put in motion the university’s goal of converting the current centers to a true medical facility.

“This is being built as a clinic with nicer facilities in terms of patient comfort and our ability to function as a health care provider,” Eisenberg said.

This is the greatest advantage that the new location holds for students, said Eisenberg. An important concern, he explained, is that students’ interactions with medical providers will be much easier for referrals to be made back and forth with health and counseling services working alongside each other.

“It’s a concept of one-step shopping for medical and mental health issues,” Eisenberg said.

“We can do referrals for people that we see suffering from disorders or depression, and it’s easier to get appointments this way in a back and forth, cooperative effort.”

Health and Wellness was first located in Fenn Tower, but after Fenn was reclaimed as a residential hall, the university’s health services moved to a new location that was originally a chemistry lab. Despite it being closer to dormitories for students, this was not an ideal space for the potential health and medical services that Cleveland State wanted to offer its students, Eisenberg said.

“This wasn’t built for the purpose of being a health care clinic in the first instance,” Eisenberg said. “It’s a little bit dated.”

Described by Eisenberg as “a throwback to the 1960s,” the current waiting room is a tight space for the 90-100 students that visit the center on its busiest days, as well as the multiple services that must be done at one time. The new facility, however, will have additional space that is better designed for a health clinic. Restored walkways, hallways, ceilings and cabinets will replace the current space that is framed by aging and windowless walls.

“It’s very dreary in the winter, and the new location is brighter, more cheerful and more upbeat,” Eisenberg said. “It tends to make you feel better walking in this environment.”

NEOmed administrative offices, teaching facilities and treasurer’s and university advancement offices will also be located in the new building as part of the medical facility.

Despite being located a bit farther from campus, Eisenberg added that it will be in a more distinct location instead of being hidden in Cleveland Sate’s chemistry department. The current space will revert back to a chemistry lab.

Currently, Health and Wellness Services is a primary health provider for all students whether or not they have health insurance. Many of the services that were once out-of-pocket expenses are now covered by insurance, or are at little to no cost to students.

The center provides services for virtually any problem that students would see a family physician or urgent care center for — and at much lower costs than private practices. Services include wellness exams, routine physicals, vaccinations and cholesterol screenings.

Health and Wellness also assists students with issues such as birth control, infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

Eisenberg stressed that students’ medical information is confidential and cannot be released without their permission.

Health and Wellness Services are not trying to duplicate Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals, Eisenberg said, but they are in the position to make informed referrals to provide quality care for students. Their staff consists of two certified full-time physicians and nurse practitioners. And although it is not a walk-in clinic unless there is an emergency, same-day appointments can be made by students if they need quick medical attention on campus.

“Cleveland is a great medical city, but you can’t just get an appointment within a day or two at the Cleveland Clinic,” Eisenberg said. “It just doesn’t work that way.”

Eisenberg sees another advantage of the new location — the correlation between student health and college success. One of the main reasons students drop out, he said, is for various illnesses. If this can be reduced, graduation rates will increase.

“One of the university’s goals is to have students stay well and graduate,” he said. “If we can maintain the health, it should improve students’ success in terms of graduating on time and not having to drop out of school.”

The distinct location of the renovated building is key to having more students stop by if they need any assistance, whereas currently, some students may not know where Health and Wellness is located on campus.

Dunya Abrahim, a junior Art major, was aware that the center existed on campus, but she had no idea where it was located and what services were offered.

Because she spends a majority of her time in the new art facilities, which is a closer walk to the renovated health centers, she feels like she may utilize the services more often.

“It will be more convenient and out in the open now so every time I pass it, I’ll know that it’s there and the services they have,” Abrahim said. “A lot of people walk past Euclid Avenue, whether they’re going to lunch or walking to classes. But not everyone is in the Science and Research Building.”

Eisenberg looks forward to the move, hoping that the word about Health and Wellness can spread so students can benefit from the newly improved health services.

“All of our professional staff is very dedicated to student health,” he said. “They know the problems unique to college students, and we’re here to serve and keep students healthy.”