It can be really easy to take things for granted when you don’t know life without them. There are a lot of services and resources at Brandeis that can go undervalued and underappreciated because we’ve never had to live without it. One of those services is our Health Center. We would like to take this space to thank the workers at the Health Center for their continued work to keep campus safe and healthy.
When talking to students on other campuses—comparatively—the services offered are not as efficient or as helpful as the Health Center at Brandeis, especially under the circumstances of continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and the flu.
Having to manage a campus full of students—a majority of whom are living on their own for the first time—can be difficult from a health perscpective. While managing viral diseases like mono and upper respiratory infections which are historically spread among college students, the Health Center has also continued to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and flu, not just in treatment and detection through testing, but in prevention through the administration of vaccines.
When it comes to COVID-19, the Health Center could not have been any better. At every opportunity to vaccinate the Brandeis community, they did. They have been advertising and administering booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. They delivered and ensured that every student had the ability to be protected from COVID-19—all this while still offering routine flu shot clinics for the entire student body. This service is something that most schools do not have to offer, but the Brandeis Health Center has been on top of and running smoothly.
As further proof of their dedication to the Brandeis community and the students who live and study here, the Health Center is open five days a week. While some universities across the country hesitate to offer services on campus such as COVID-19 booster clinics, our health center works a full work week to provide medical services to our campus. During their regular work week, they offer a number of services directly to students. Although the university has closed its mass COVID-19 testing center, the Health Center has picked up the job and has been offering COVID-19 testing for students who are identified as close contacts or who are exhibiting symptoms. Their efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 exposure on campus does not go unnoticed.
For a campus resource that is understaffed and overworked, it is clear how much they care based on the high level of service they provide to our community. Sure, there may exist waits for testing or checkups in the office, but for only a handful of workers servicing 3,500 students on campus, it is impressive what they are able to accomplish. But the Health Center and those that work there are not just offering clinics to vaccinate our student body, they are actively protecting our community from a number of conditions that can cripple college campuses.
The Brandeis Health Center offers to our students the ability to test for iron deficiencies and sextually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and hepatitis. Then, if they do not have the ability to test for certain conditions in the on-campus center, they will outsource to a nearby location to provide the smoothest and quickest service to our students. This is important to consider while being reminded of the fact that some universities outsource all of the medical needs of their campus without bringing any directly to their student body. Students on other campuses are often referred to hospitals or nearby urgent cares for matters like these.
Working with college students can be undoubtedly difficult, but everyone in the Health Center is simply so nice and caring when you go in, whether it is for a shot or for testing. Truly, the practitioners make students feel safe.
While this editorial does not focus on any particular aspect of the Health Center here at Brandeis; appreciation for all that the Health Center does must be given. On an everyday basis, they consistently provide generous and kind services to our campus which do not go unnoticed. These are the unsung heroes of Brandeis who deserve higher praise for all that they do to protect us and make our four years here as healthy as possible.
A special thank you to Colleen Collins who is the medical director of the university and has coordinated our COVID-19 protocols and distribution of care to help keep us safe and healthy. Thank you for your work, it would not be the same community without you.