UA Health Services

By: Ellyn Sjoquist

At The University of Akron, some of the most valuable services for students are provided by Health Services, located in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on UA’s main campus.

Though students’ perceptions of Health Services are mixed, the center’s mission, as stated on its website, remains to enable students to address their health concerns and successfully achieve their personal and academic goals.

Staffed by a rotation of contracted physicians, registered nurses and nurse practitioners, Health Services provides general primary care to all currently enrolled students at UA.

Diane Fashinpaur, director of Health Services, worries that its services are overlooked by students who are overwhelmed with information during their first few days on campus.

“We’re here for all enrolled students,” Fashinpaur said, “but some students simply don’t know we’re here.”

Kristen Pauken, a senior at UA, knows about the health center, but she also knows that it has an unfavorable reputation among some students.

“There’s an assumption that you only go there if you have an STD,” Pauken said. “That’s what all my friends joke about. They say go there if you’re pregnant or have an STD, but not if you’re sick.”

Fashinpaur confirmed that the Center’s Well Women’s Clinic, which offers birth control consultations and STD testing, is a “very popular feature,” but it is not one of the main reasons that students visit Health Services.

Instead, Fashinpaur said that many of the primary complaints that she and her staff see are respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems and sports-related injuries.

For students facing concerns with mental health, Health Services provides referrals to UA’s Counseling Center, located in Simmons Hall.

According to a 2009 survey of nearly 700 UA students, stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns ranked highest in a list of health-related concerns that affect students’ academic success.

“Some students just struggle along and don’t know where to get help,” Fashinpaur explained. She encouraged students to recognize their situation, get educated and get help.

Students may be more inclined to get help if they felt more confident in the care they received at Health Services.

“They’re very good at some things, but not all things,” said Sara Molnar, a UA senior. “I guess [it’s] convenient since I’m a poor college student, but I don’t feel like the treatment is really up to par.”

“It doesn’t seem like they keep very good records of individual patients,” Pauken added. “I do appreciate their cheap medicine, though.”

Fashinpaur says that Health Services prides itself on keeping its costs “nominal.” Students can visit the center at no cost, which she says is “an exception to the rule” compared to similar services at other universities.

Despite some student complaints, Fashinpaur reported that Health Services consistently pulls satisfaction rates in the high 90s in their end-of-term patient satisfaction surveys.

“Every campus struggles with health center issues,” Fashinpaur said, “but we always seem to stay pretty busy.”