Barnard administrators carry the torch for the health and well-being of Barnard students.

At last night’s SGA meeting, Barnard’s Rep Council was joined by administrative guests to talk about health. MJ Murphy, Executive Director of Health and Wellness; Jessica Cannon, Program Director for Health Promotion and Education; Mary Commerford, Director of Furman Counseling Center; and Carolyn Cobran, Office of Disability Services Director; shared their thoughts on the current status of Barnard’s health programs and responded to questions.
The visiting Directors addressed possible concerns over possible changes of services under the Trump administration. Murphy explained that nothing has been enacted yet, and that both Barnard and New York State have expressed assurances that coverage won’t altered. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in interest for contraceptives, especially LARCS, long-acting reversible contraception like IUDs, which are offered at Barnard’s Primary Care center. Commerford also mentioned an increase in usage of the counseling services, explaining that “people in communities that may feel affected by this administration are feeling even more vulnerable.”

One of the main focuses of the questioning was the lack of walk-in hours in the Primary Care Center during evenings and weekends, when students are more free from responsibilities like class and work and may find it a more convenient time to visit the doctor. Murphy was firm in her convictions that this displayed a set of misplaced priorities among Barnard students. “If you’re sick, you need to come to Primary Care,” she said. “Students push it off because they don’t want to miss class, but then they get sicker.” She also mentioned that when Primary Care offered evening hours in the past, they were not utilized. Opening Columbia Medical Services to Barnard students on weekends is also not an option. It’s been awhile since the complicated nature of Barnard’s relationship to the rest of CU has come up at an SGA meeting, so this was a nice reminder.Columbia was also discussed in terms of using notes that excused absences for illness–Murphy acknowledged that professors don’t always accept students’ explanations, “especially across the street.”
Commerford also emphasized the importance of receiving health care when needed, including mental health care. She noted that Furman’s counseling groups are stronger and more populated than in past years. She also explained that the counseling center is “swinging into peak season, from midterms to finals.” Students are getting the help they need elsewhere, too: Cobran reported record-breaking registration numbers for ODS services this year.
Take care of yourself, Barnard. You can do this.

In other SGA news:

  • Attend an information session this week if you want to run for an elected position!
    There are a lot of free tampons in the SGA offices right now that are looking for homes. Go and get some.
  • The Diana Roof will be open to students Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11-3 for the rest of the semester, weather permitting.
  • Diana Late Night will now serve kosher food! Just ask the cashier.

Image via Flickr