The Graduate Student Organization is joining the Georgetown University Student Association to advocate for the creation of an online appointment scheduling system at the Student Health Center. Members from the two groups will be meeting with the Assistant Vice President of Student Health James Welsh this week to discuss their proposal.
Two days ago, GUSA Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) introduced the idea on Ideascale, adding that GSO and GUSA have already sent a letter to the administration about the implementation of online scheduling. After about fifteen minutes, the post garnered 30 votes, according to Kohnert-Yount.
As of 4 p.m. today, 142 students voted in support of the proposition. ”Nearly every student who has interacted with the Student Health Center has frustrations with the way the office operates,” Kohnert-Yount wrote in the IdeaScale post.
She described a personal story where she was put on hold with the Student Health Center for such a long time that she was forced to find a doctor off-campus to treat her illness:
About two weeks ago, I had a sore throat due to a staph infection, and I called the Health Center in the morning to schedule an appointment. After being put on hold twice for upwards of 20 minutes each, I opted to leave a voicemail message asking to schedule an appointment. No one has ever gotten back to me. By the end of day, I began coughing blood, and I was forced to travel off-campus to a doctor, who quickly prescribed the antibiotics I needed.
Her belief is that the Health Center is understaffed and needs help developing a more efficient system. The health centers at many other universities including our neighbors at George Washington University and American University have online scheduling systems.
President of GSO and PhD student Paul Musgrave sees this kind of reform to the Student Health procedures as a “really simple, straightforward, and obvious change.” While the exact number of students is difficult to obtain, Musgrave believes that many graduate students utilize the Student Health Center and face the same problems.
“This is not a life and death issue…but a life and pretty bad illness issue for hundreds or at least a couple thousand graduate students,” he said.”I hope that the spontaneous support and welcome that has come over the weekend [through IdeaScale]…will really show the administration that this is something that really needs to be addressed.”