[Fresh] Student Health Center Interview

Kelly Donio (kelly.donio@villanova.edu)
Fri, 16 Dec 2005 10:01:12 -0500

Fresh@News Interview with Dr. Mary McGonigle, Director of Student Health

Fresh@News: What is the mission of Villanova University’s Student Health

Dr. McGonigle: For students to be successful at Villanova, they need to
be physically and emotionally healthy. We try to keep them healthy by
treating acute illnesses, in addition to managing chronic illnesses. We
make it our mission to uphold and maintain a healthy campus by providing
students with high quality and comprehensive health care.

Fresh@News: What is your responsibility as Director of the Student
Health Center?

Dr. McGonigle: As Director, I am responsible for providing medical care
to the students as well as managing the daily operations of the Student
Health Center. This includes supervising our staff, and ensuring that
the Health Center has the adequate amount of supplies to function
efficiently. In addition, I represent the Student Health Center on a
university level. I act as a liaison for the parents, providing them
with answers to their questions and concerns. I also work with our
student run Emergency Medical Service, (VEMS) on campus. They have their
own training and infrastructure, but I work with them on a university level.

Fresh@News: What services does the Student Health Center provide?

Dr. McGonigle: Some of the services that the Health Center provides
include, examining students who are acutely sick; administering allergy
shots and immunizations, as well as providing gynecologic care, just to
name a few. Many of the students seeking immunizations are participating
in an out-of-country service trip. They often need additional
vaccinations than what was required of them as entering freshmen.

Fresh@News: What are common illnesses that bring college students to the
Health Center?

Dr. McGonigle: Most students come to the Health Center due to acute
infections illnesses, ranging from viral illnesses, such as the common
cold, to more serious illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and skin
infections. We also treat a lot of urinary tract infections and provide
gynecologic care. We see a lot of musculoskeletal injuries such as ankle
sprains and broken bones.

Fresh@News: Do you find that most students utilize this campus facility?

Dr. McGonigle: Most definitely. Since the beginning of the school year,
we have seen at least 6,000 students who have used our facility for
various reasons. Statistics reveal that students are using the Health
Center 20 percent more than they previously had one year ago. The
students really seem to have confidence in the Health Center staff.

Fresh@News: How does Villanova’s Student Health Center compare with
other universities’ health care facilities?

Dr. McGonigle: One of the most unique features of Villanova’s Student
Health Center is that we are open 24 hours during the academic year. I
recently attended a conference in San Diego regarding the subject of
college health. I discovered that many universities who have health
centers do not keep them open on a 24 hour/ 7 day a week basis. Making
our health center extremely accessible is good for the student body,
especially for out-of-state students who cannot travel home when they
are suffering from a sickness. We also have a ten bed infirmary.
Students who are too ill to remain in the residence halls but not sick
enough to reside in a hospital are able to stay in our infirmary
overnight. We have round the clock nursing care, and doctors on call 24
hours per day to assist the needs of students.

Fresh@News: What are some healthy decisions that students can make in
order to keep up a high immune system?

Dr. McGonigle: Essentially, students need to make overall healthy
decisions on a daily basis. For example, a well-balanced diet, receiving
a sufficient amount of rest, drinking plenty of water and keeping up
good nutrition habits will help to avoid illness. Most college students
underrate the importance of being well rested. Exercise is also a good
way to keep your body energetic and strong. Working out relieves stress,
which is also important in maintaining physical and emotional health.

Fresh@News: Does the Health Center offer students’ additional
information regarding everyday behavior that will help students maintain
a healthy lifestyle?

Dr. McGonigle: Each visit to the Health Center can be a teachable moment
for students. The doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses are always
taking the opportunity to teach students about their medical condition
and how to make healthy choices. In addition, the Health Center works
closely with Villanova’s Center for Health and Wellness Education which
sponsors programs that have to do with healthy lifestyle choices. We
also encourage students to utilize our Counseling Center when needed.

Fresh@News: How can parents encourage healthy habits for their college

Dr. McGonigle: The most important thing that parents can do is to set a
good example. Students learn their daily habits largely at home. It is
important to reinforce the importance of a balanced lifestyle. It is
also important to remind your student about the availability and
function of the Health Center and encourage them to utilize this campus
facility. For more information about Villanova University’s Student
Health Center, please visit the website at

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