Sheetz Family Health Center Integrates Student Health, Education & Community Wellness Services
Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 3635 hits
ALTOONA -- Less than one year after ground was broken, Penn State Altoona's Sheetz Family Health Center is open and ready to serve both the students at the College as well as the Altoona community. The College teamed up with Mr. Robert Sheetz and the Sheetz Family, along with Central Pennsylvania Health Services Corporation, an integrated healthcare delivery system that includes Altoona Hospital, to create this community partnership on campus. The new Sheetz Family Health Center houses the College's nursing program and student Health and Wellness Center, as well as an on-site Blair Medical Associates physicians' office that will serve the community.
The building consists of 11,000 square feet. Of that total square footage, approximately 8,500 square feet is dedicated to Penn State Altoona's nursing program and Health and Wellness Center. The current Health and Wellness Center located in the Slep Student Center has relocated entirely to the new facility. One of the most utilized facilities on campus, the Health and Wellness Center has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. Since 1995, the Health and Wellness Center has expanded from providing the services of one registered nurse doing mostly assessments and referrals to the current holistic approach of a center which provides a comprehensive array of health services, health education, counseling & psychological services and disability services with a full complement of professional staff.
Joy Himmel, Director of the Health and Wellness Center, sees the relocation and expansion of the Center as a great benefit to students. "This year, student health service visits alone will exceed 4,000. These visits range from responding to the needs of the students in providing proutine medical care as well as women's health services, STD testing, allergy and immunization clinics and outreach programming through health education. Counseling & Psychological services sees close to 300 counseling visits per semester and has become an integral part of our student retention efforts. Likewise, we are constantly challenged by the courage and enthusiasm of the growing number of students with disabilities with whom we work to provide accommodations and support. Today the Health and Wellness Center sees an average student flow of over 50 students per day within four service areas. The new building will provide the space required to meet the needs and demands of our students."
Penn State Altoona's nursing program consists of both an associate degree program and a bachelor's degree program for registered nurses. The College had utilized Altoona Hospital's facilities for the clinical training required by these programs, while administering classroom work on campus. The addition of the Sheetz Family Health Center allows the nursing program to hold both components under one roof, as the facility houses classrooms, clinical labs, mock hospital rooms, faculty offices, and a small computer lab dedicated solely to the nursing program.
Penn State Altoona's CEO and Dean, Dr. William Cale, is very excited about this collaborative project. "The Sheetz Family Health Center is a great benefit to our students, both those pursuing a career in nursing as well as our general student body who may need health and wellness services. But this project is so much more than a service to our students. It is a model example of how members of this community can come together and forge an alliance for the benefit of all. Penn State Altoona is very proud to have worked with Central Pennsylvania Health Services Corporation, Mr. Robert Sheetz, and the Sheetz family to create a Health Center that expands medical services to all and enhances educational opportunities for Penn State Altoona students."
Blair Medical Associates (BMA) is occupying the remaining 2,500 square feet of the Sheetz Family Health Center. BMA has opened an urgent care center with one physician, Dr. Jeff Payne. The center will accept walk-ins needing immediate medical treatment. The facility allows BMA to conduct diagnostic testing, lab work and small surgical procedures on-site, rather than sending patients to the hospital for these services. John Brown, President and CEO of Blair Medical Associates, views this partnership as a great benefit to the community and the students at Penn State Altoona. "The area surrounding Penn State Altoona is in a growth phase and we are excited to be part of this great community partnership. It is most exciting that nursing students from Penn State Altoona will be involved in the clinical aspects of this office to improve their learning environment."
The urgent care center is the first one located in a Blair Medical Associates physician office building. According to Brown, "We have wanted to locate an urgent care center in one of our office buildings for some time, so that patients can see a doctor and have their diagnostic testing done under one roof. The Penn State Altoona location was the perfect place to open our first center, as we can serve both the growing community and the students." James W. Barner, President/CEO of Central Pennsylvania Health Services Corporation, commented, "This kind of outreach continues to demonstrate the community orientation of our locally-based Board of Trustees and illustrates their collaborative orientation that forges partnerships dedicated to improving the health status of our region."
The Sheetz Family Health Center is located on campus ground, directly off of Juniata Gap road across from Baker Lane, with its own entrance and public parking. The building project cost approximately $1.68 million.
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