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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Changes in student health services

Hall Wellness Coordinators (HWC):

Hall Wellness Coordinators (HWC) are students trained in first aid, alcohol care, birth control and other health care concerns that commonly affect students. With one assigned to each dorm cluster, they are meant to be approachable and can guide students to professional help, on or off campus, if needed.

“We’re specialists for awkward questions,” said HWC Julius Mannix ’11.

The idea to create a new student staff position to promote wellness on campus stemmed from Wellness Coordinator Jen Jacobsen ’95. She wanted students to have easy access to trained individuals to help them, even after the Health Center closes. She worked with Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life and Orientation Andrea Conner in order to create the position.

Jacobsen and Conner made sure the HWCs were exposed to both health care training and Student Adviser (SA) training. Conner made sure they were a visible part of New Student Orientation (NSO).

“During NSO, it was really helpful to have six … energetic, really excited students about health and wellness committing to some of these sessions,” Conner said.

The HWCs are working to make sure students know who they are and feel comfortable asking them for help.
“I went around during NSO and met all the first-years [in my cluster],” said Smounker HWC Diane Meisles ’12. “I’ve been introducing myself to the upperclassmen also.”

Meisles was an SA last year. She feels the HWC position combines her previous role with her interest in health.
“I’m really interested in wellness,” Meisles said. “I’m pre-med, and have volunteered in hospitals before. … It seemed like this was a little more geared toward my interests.”

So far, Mannix and Meisles think the presence of HWCs has been helpful for students. Along with others, Mannix wants to see even more HWCs positions added so that they can work more closely with students.

“I’d like to see one per dorm,” he said.

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS):

The familiar Health Services in the basement of the forum has recently expanded. The new facilities— now called Student Health and Counseling Services—includes additional staff. The new, experienced staff is now offering more advanced care for students, including new services such as on-campus counseling and phone consultation for urgently needed care after business hours.

Psychologist Stephanie Brown, Ph.D., was hired last spring as the Lead Psychologist and Director of SHACS. Along with Brown, Dean for Academic Support and Advising Joyce Stern has been working on projects that will fully shape the newly-renovated department.

“I’m excited to build up a program tailored specifically to promote student wellness,” Brown said.

One main goal of SHACS is to make health care and improved wellness more accessible to students. To this end, Brown plans to work with the HWCs and independently to create outreach programs to spread awareness of SHACS’ services and de-stigmatize mental health care.

Brown and Harriet Dickey-Chasins ’82 are also providing professional counseling on campus for students. Unlike in previous years, students will need to make appointments for counseling sessions. However, emergency care will be available as needed without an appointment.

Many of the changes were recommended by committees made up, in part, of students. Students, including members of SGA, are working with Stern and Brown to continue improving health services at Grinnell.

Future plans include adding a third, full-time psychologist—which the Office of Student Affairs intends to do this academic year—and creating a doctoral training program, which would hire students who have earned their M.D.s to complete parts of their degrees at Grinnell.

“[A doctoral training program] would bring in people from around the country,” Brown said.

SHACS is still located in the basement of the forum and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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