An examination of Notre Dame’s health services
Notre Dame of Maryland University provides a sector of health services that increase student wellness, giving students mental health and disability services. However, many feel that the university is lacking in physical health services.
Currently, Notre Dame does not have a health facility on campus. But what exactly is a health facility? According to MedlinePlus, a National Institute of Health website, health facilities are “places that provide health care.” This can include hospitals, clinics and outpatient care centers.
Since Notre Dame does not have an immediate health care facility available, where do students turn to for information about health care services? The answer: Notre Dame’s website. Visitors can find tons of information on varying topics, including health service questions. The website states that the university is committed to supporting students in both their “academic success and overall wellness.” Also, the page includes important health forms and vaccines necessary before moving in, scholarly articles from a student pharmacist, an ad for the school e-magazine, the school’s insurance company offered to students and information about Patient First.
Patient First is considered to be Notre Dame’s health service provider. For full-time students, Patient First can be used to meet medical needs. The school can also provide transportation, and if the student has the school’s insurance, they will be covered.
But why the partnership? Michelle Evans, Interim Director of Student Leadership and Student Life Program Manager, explains that Notre Dame has never had its own health campus because of its small size. And because of the financial issues the university is facing, it’s not feasible at the moment.
Before Patient First, Notre Dame used to have a collaboration with Loyola’s health center. However, Notre Dame student were not provided with the same level of customer service as Loyola students were. For example, students would walk over and had to have an appointment, only to be told that they needed to go to Patient First. Loyola’s health center also had limited hours and did not provide half of the services that Patient First offers.
Despite the partnership with Patient First, some students still feel that Notre Dame needs a health facility. Jae Bradley, a junior majoring in environmental sustainability, feels the lack of health services on campus is concerning, “especially as a person who needed health assistance while on campus.” “With no connections in Baltimore outside of school and little familiarity of the city, having health services on campus is extremely important,” Bradley says. Another student, whose name does not want to be shared, feels that the partnership with Patient First is not helpful. “It typically takes 4-5 hours round trip to go to Patient First,” she explains.
As a past student, Zanobia Jones ’16 reflected on the health services student athletes receive on campus. As athletes, they have access to immediate health services through the Athletic Trainer, but noted that many of her peers did not receive the same treatment. “They were actually turned away from immediate help on campus because they were not allowed in the training room,” she explains. “The lack of physical health services is absolutely ridiculous: the cuts, bruises, headaches, etc. are bad enough.”
The students interviewed all assumed that having a health facility on campus would be very costly. They believe that the school does not have the funds for it. They resort to other actions to help improve the health services offered on campus. This includes researching what health services really means, knowing the school’s health policies and voicing out their concerns to staff members through administration or student groups such as the Concerned Students of Notre Dame.
“We are always looking for students’ feedback and suggestions for programs, or anything we can do to help enhance wellness and healthy choices on campus,” Evans explains. “There is always room for improvement.”