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Birkam Health Center Helping University Students Stay Healthy

Birkam Health Center-Ferris State UniversityBirkam Health Center officials’ work to help Ferris State University students stay healthy has gotten a shot in the arm, thanks to a $2,200 grant for interpreting services.

The grant, from the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Office, was used to purchase a phone for students whose primary language is not English, said clinical coordinator Cande Price.

“The phone is specifically for interpreting services and provides the ability to interpret more than 200 languages,” said Price, who noted the 200-plus Limited English Proficient students who attend Ferris will benefit from the service.

Joan Kronlein, a registered nurse at the center, identified a need to provide interpreting services and sought out the grant opportunity, Price said.

“Birkam is committed to helping our students achieve and maintain their optimal health so they can participate in the formal learning process,” she said. “We are excited about this new service.”

About 15,000 patient visits are handled annually at the outpatient medical clinic, which is staffed by one full-time family physician, one full-time physician’s assistant and three registered nurses. The walk-in and appointment-based clinic provides evaluation and treatment for illnesses and injuries, as well as various clinics and services.

The center launched a Facebook page last fall in an effort to inform more students about its services and provide health-related tips. Students who “like” or share a link on the Birkam Health Center page will be entered into a drawing for a Barnes and Noble gift card. Deadline is Thursday, Feb. 14.

“Birkam is working hard to get up to speed with social media to better communicate with our students,” said Renee L. Vander Myde, the center’s interim director. “The goal is to make sure students are aware of us and how we can help them.”

In addition to providing preventative care and routine physicals, treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, the center also provides allergy, contraceptive, immunization, women’s health and weight control clinics.

There is no flu clinic scheduled for students, but influenza vaccinations are available. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to get a flu shot while supplies last.

To better serve students, the center also has started creating electronic medical records and providing kiosks where students will be able to check themselves in for appointments. The kiosks are located in the first-floor lobby with three dedicated to Birkam check-in and three to its Personal Counseling Center.

“By having the kiosks, we hope this will eliminate the wait time for students and dispose of any lines,” Price said.

The center also is the site for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at 11 a.m. Tuesdays in Room 224. For more information about the meetings, call (231) 591-5968.

Center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments are encouraged but not necessary. Walk-ins may experience a longer wait time.

For more about Birkam Health Center, including insurance and billing information, call (231) 591-2614.