Behind the Scenes at University Health Services

With more than 50,000 people on campus, at least one person is bound to be sick — good thing UT has University Health Services to keep our campus healthy.

UHS is responsible for providing a wide range of health services, including medical emergency treatment, immunizations, allergy shots, dietician services, sports medicine, women’s health services and pathology laboratory testing. In addition, UHS’s Forty Acres Pharmacy fills individual prescriptions. The Counseling and Mental Health Center provides mental-health counseling, educational seminars about mental health and activities and tools to help individuals relax, distress and maintain mental health.

“I use UHS for basically everything since appointments are only around $5,” said international student and business junior Sarah Poletti. “In my communications class, we talked about stress, and I learned that apparently the mental health center has this healing and de-stressing room, which I could definitely use.”

UHS manages several public health campaigns that permeate campus. The AlcoholEdu program and What’s Your Line campaign, which educate students about drinking alcohol and setting personal limits, are run by UHS, in addition to Sexual Violence Prevention Month and healthy sexuality seminars.

Many UHS services are geared specifically towards students, including various education programs, as well as counseling through the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line. Certain services also cater to UT faculty and staff — travel immunizations, personal pharmacy prescriptions, flu shots, mental-health care and physical therapy sessions can all be taken care of at UHS.

UHS provides services at a low cost. Walk-in appointments can cost less than $10, and for more involved medical examinations or procedures, UHS will accept a wide variety of insurance carriers.

“I use a lot at the UT health center, especially because it’s so cheap,” said psychology and nutrition freshman Elise Chen. “It’s good because as a freshman, it’s hard to go off campus for doctor’s appointments. I got my flu shot there last semester.”

In addition to providing basic health services, UHS also provides the opportunity for students and faculty to educate themselves on health matters and become more involved in the healthcare setting. UHS’s official student organization, the Student Health Advisory Council, serves as a liaison to voice student concerns to university healthcare providers. UHS offers several classes online and in-person, such as CPR, which student-organization members can take together. The HealthyHorns Peer Educator Program trains students to teach other students about pertinent college health topics, such as nutrition, adequate sleep, stress, drugs and alcohol and healthy sexuality. Students can also apply to volunteer at UHS to gain exposure to a clinical environment.

In February, the Student Health Advisory Council held an event, Bagels and Lox with Students and Docs, to help students learn more about services provided by UHS.

“The event definitely helped me learn more about what UHS does, and I even considered applying to SHAC,” Jason Pang, a psychology senior who attended the event, said. “The free food helped,” he laughed.

Several academic departments also host health-education seminars for faculty and staff. Departments can request specific sessions be presented to their professors, and special medical care that may be needed for personnel in a specific field can also be addressed by UHS.

With all of the services provided by UHS, it is no wonder that, as proudly proclaimed on the UHS website, UT’s health services division ranked fourth in the nation for best college health care centers, in a survey run by The Princeton Review.