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The Carletonian

SHAC looks to expand service repetoire

<ents looking for what once was the Wellness Center will now find Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) in its place. 
The new name, as well as other changes, were made in response to SHAC’s regular departmental review, and SHAC staff and the Carleton administration are eager for students to experience the improvements to their on-campus programs.

“We surveyed students, staff, and faculty to get their perspective in the Wellness Center and what it could be doing better,” said Kathy Evertz,  head of the Wellness Center Re-evaluation Committee.

The Committee consisted of students, staff, and faculty charged with examining how well the Wellness Center was serving the Carleton student body. Among those who shared their opinions with the Committee were reviewers from the American College Health Association (ACHA) and the psychiatrist parent of a current student.

“We’re a different type of campus office and held to different standards,” said Marit Lysne, Director of Student Health and Counseling.

Starting this term, students can look for extended hours at SHAC over the noon hour and later in the evening, a direct result of concerns voiced by students. 

“We wanted greater access for students,” said Lysne. 

SHAC is in the process of hiring a third Nurse Practitioner to improveaccess to medical services. 

Additionally, two new Administrative Assistants have been hired to work at the reception desk and run the SHAC office. 
In addition to increased access to services, “we wanted a warm and welcoming environment, where students feel they are being attended to and cared for,” explained Lysne.

Some changes have yet to be implemented, including a transition to electronic health records, which will permit students to login to a secure website to view lab results and communicate confidentially with providers.

Another new initiative coming this term will be a travel medicine clinic, run in collaboration with the Allina Clinic of Northfield. Allina will send doctors and nurses to SHAC to provide physicals and travel-related immunizations to students who will be going abroad this winter on Carleton off-campus study programs. SHAC staff hope that this will serve as a precursor to future collaboration with Northfield area medical facilities. “We couldn’t do it all ourself, but we looked at being creative to get students the services they need,” added Lysne.

SHAC is also offering walk-in care and a phone triage system to its services. Now students can call and speak to a member of the medical staff who will determine how they should handle their particular issue.

“We listened and heard what you have to say. We’ve made the changes we could to add more of the services you’ve been looking for,” Lysne said.

SHAC staff highlight the counseling services available to students. Presently, SHAC offers services for a host of general psychological issues as well as specific services for psychiatric and dietary care. “Counseling is totally private and safe. You don’t need to have a crisis, it’s a place to go and talk about anything,” said Lysne.

The SWA program, formerly the Student Wellness Advisor program, now stands for Student Wellness Advocates, a name change devised after the program was reviewed in conjunction with SHAC. 

Drew Weis, the SWA program co-coordinator and a clinical psychologist, said the changes will provide a way to strengthen the program and include more students in its programs. “At this point, the changes taking place represent a refinement of how we train SWAs and how we program,” he said.

SWAs will follow a new training regimen established by the BACCHUS Network which will enable them to be Certified Peer Educators. “Training through a national certification program aids in the professionalism, reputation, and quality of SWA conduct and programming,” Weis said.

A more noticeable change to the program is that SWAs are no longer required to live in first-year residence halls and will now be allowed to participate in Off-Campus Study programs. Weis hopes that these changes will broaden the scope of the program and allow for more retention among SWAs.

“This change also permits us to draw from a larger pool of candidates because the old residential requirement precluded OCS and resulted in few SWAs continuing from sophomore to junior year,” he said. 

The SHAC staff is looking forward to students getting to experience their programs and are hopeful that students will embrace the changes.

“We want to manage student expectations and make our mission clearer,” Evertz said.

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