The Maneater

The Briefing: Top university administrators meet with MSA senators about health system change

The Oct. 9 session focused on efforts by an outside consulting group and university administrators to improve student health care at MU.

Top MU officials and an outside consultant briefed Missouri Students Association senators Tuesday on changes coming to the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

Richard Keeling, an executive consultant from Keeling and Associates LLC, spoke to MSA’s full-senate about an integration of all health services into newly-named Center of Student Health and Well-Being. Keeling said the integration will begin around Dec. 1 in order to allow time for the office to start operations before the Spring 2018 semester.

Keeling, who the university first hired 13 months ago, said the new office will incorporate both the MU Student Health Center, the Wellness Resource Center and the Counseling Center, which were separate entities in the past.

Vice Chancellor Gary Ward said he hopes a new health center will be built in the future that can house the new health system. However, he sees that as a long-term goal because of the university’s need to first estimate construction costs.

Keeling also told senators that the new office will move from the School of Medicine’s jurisdiction to the Division of Student Affairs, because the university views student health as a student affairs issue.

“Health and well-being are essential to learning,” Keeling said during the senate session.

While most changes to MU’s health system are in their planning stages or will be implemented in the near future, Keeling attributed changes already in place to student complaints about health care at MU.

As of summer 2018, Keeling said the Student Health Center no longer closes during lunch, offers free flu shots and STI screenings and built a new website where students can assess what services they might need.

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain, who was also in attendance and spoke to senators, said he thinks newly-named Provost Latha Ramchand has helped with continuing the changes occurring within MU’s student affairs.

“I couldn’t ask to work for a better provost,” Spain said to senators. “She has a deep commitment to students and the student experience.”

Beyond changes to the health system, Keeling said there are also plans to diversify the counseling staff MU offers. He said the university hopes to recruit more counselors of color and male counselors.

Ward told senators that he thinks a diversified group of counselors will help students feel more comfortable when reaching out for help.

Senators questioned Ward and Keeling on the specifics of the Dec. 1 transition and the planning for the new Center of Student Health and Well-Being building. They also told the administrators in attendance that they hope to be kept up to date about both processes.

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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