When self-medicating with vitamin C supplements and Motrin is simply not enough, Yale students can always opt to visit the Yale University Health Services, as representatives of UHS reminded students at an open house Thursday evening.
Students crowded the halls of the UHS building on Hillhouse Avenue, meeting with clinicians and representatives and learning about student health care at Yale. The Student Health Expo, organized by the department of Student Health Education, aimed to familiarize students with the services available to them through the different departments within UHS, including student medicine, dermatology and nutrition. At the expo, about 200 students from Yale’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools toured the health facilities and chatted with doctors, nurses and clinicians.
“It’s an opportunity for students to come in and see Health Services when they’re feeling well,” said Health Education Coordinator Sally Rinaldi, who organized last night’s open house. “Clinicians are available that they can meet on a social basis, just to say hello.”
Representatives from many departments and clinics were available to answers students’ questions about basic health care issues, appointment scheduling and insurance and billing. Some departments, including the infirmary and the eye department, offered on-the-spot tests for blood sugar, blood pressure and eyesight.
“This is good for people just coming in [to Yale],” graduate health advocate Amanda Solem GRD ’08 said. “After you’ve come once, you probably have a good idea of where everything is.”
Students often seem “misinformed” about how to take advantage of the services available to them through the Yale Health Plan, Rinaldi said. But representatives from UHS said they hoped the expo would clarify most of the students’ concerns.
Rinaldi said students seem especially confused if they have waived portions of their Yale health insurance. But she said that primary care is available for all students regardless of their insurance policies.
“If they have a cold — they can still come in and see someone,” said Rinaldi.
Many students who attended the open house said they hoped that by learning more about UHS now, they would be able to get better care should they need to later.
Esther Young ’06 said she felt overwhelmed by all the information she had received in the mail about her health plan. Young said she had only heard “horror stories” about student health care, and she was curious to learn the truth about UHS.
“It’s a lot easier to come to the fair and have someone tell you,” Young said. “I was just curious how I would make an appointment.”
Sarah Boyette ’07, a special projects coordinator for UHS, said the expo was an opportunity for students to think differently about UHS.
“DUH [is] not just that place you go when you’ve got a cough that won’t go away,” she said. “People are often reluctant to come here unless they feel like they’re dying or really, really drunk.”
Student Health Education at UHS is also planning other outreach events for this semester, including Smoke Free at Yale, coming in November, and World AIDS Day and Stress Down Day, both in December.