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Q&A: Johann Fiore-Conte

Johann Fiore-Conte, administrative director of University Health Service, spoke with Inside about the care her office provides and how it’s changing.

What’s new at University Health Service?
Space is a challenge for us. Until recently, we only had seven fully equipped medical
examining rooms. We’re adding diagnostic equipment to four other rooms so we can serve students better.

We’ve also been doing more work with the resident physicians from Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center. The additional exam rooms will give them room to serve students better.

The other big change is an extension of our hours. Typically we’re open 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Monday to Friday. We’re going to pilot staying open late Mondays, until 7:45 p.m., for acute visits. That started this week.

We’re also trying a new collaboration with the Psychology Department and the Services for Students with Disabilities office. Our psychiatrist is seeing more students with an ADD diagnosis. There’s a standard psychological testing part of the workup that helps to confirm the diagnosis, and we were finding that it was hard and expensive for students to get that testing. Beginning next spring, students can get tested on campus for free as part of a pilot program.

How busy is the clinic these days?

We are the primary-care providers for all students at Binghamton. There were more than 30,000 visits between June 2006 and May 2007, an average of 150 per day in the clinic.

What about your other initiatives?

Last year, health education presented 27 programs and provided 1,786 student-educator contacts. They have collaborations all over campus and rely in part on a “street outreach” model. The Alcohol and Other Drug Program is also part of the Health Service.

We also work with the Counseling Center and Services for Students with Disabilities as well as off-campus agencies like the county Health Department.

What sets your office apart from those at different schools?

A team recently evaluated how pharmaceuticals were dispensed from the Health Service and compared us to other universities. We found that we provide more free medication at the time of service than most, which is a real positive. We know when students leave that they have what they need. Many other schools give a prescription and leave it up to the student to get the medication.

What’s next on your agenda?

This semester, we’ll ask students to participate in the National Collegiate Health Assessment for the first time. We’re going to sample 5,000 students here, and the answers will be benchmarked against other schools’ statistics. The data will give us information on the “health” of our student population and assist us in developing programs.

In the spring, we’ll be in the process of re-accreditation through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Care. We’ve been accredited three times before, and we’re one of only 150 student health centers accredited by this group.

How do you define your mission?

Our focus is students, but we really  do keep a pulse on the health of the entire University community. That extends to pandemic flu planning and alerting the campus about cases of pertussis and other such diseases. That affects everybody’s health. We are health officers across the board.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08