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A Quick Check-up With Jean Brown

Jean BrownAs director of SPU Health Services, Jean Brown plays an important role in the lives and well-being of SPU students and the greater community. After a busy 2009, Brown takes a few moments to reflect on her 28 years at SPU, and shares her strategies for keeping the SPU community healthy.


After 28 years, what’s your favorite thing about your job?

The students! They are eager to learn and are a delight to see and treat. They understand health education and easily incorporate what they learn into their lives.


Can you tell us more about what you do?

I oversee the Health Services Department and supervise the day-to-day operations of our on-campus clinic. We encourage individuals to take responsibility for their health, and we complement the academic mission by providing accessible health services, which promote a healthy campus environment.


What services does your department provide?

Health Services is staffed with nurse practitioners who diagnose, treat, and manage a range of things from colds to injuries to mental health issues. We provide general physicals, immunizations, equipment (e.g., crutches, vaporizers), and more. We refer students off-campus as needed, and we’re available to help students navigate the health insurance process. We also collaborate with many departments across campus — I’ll say more about that in a minute.


The H1N1 virus kept you and your staff busy this year. Do you think the University’s H1N1 plan has been successful in keeping people healthy?

There’s no doubt that our plan worked. We collaborated with Human Resources, Residence Life, Food Services, Safety and Security, Facilities, the University’s disaster team, SPU faculty, and others in order to create a proactive H1N1 plan for our campus. We launched the “Clean Hands and Respiratory Etiquette” campaign, which placed hand sanitizer in key locations on campus and educated our community members to cover coughs and wash hands. We also provided H1N1 vaccines and seasonal flu vaccines. We’re confident this resulted not only in limiting H1N1 outbreak, but also in reducing the overall amount of respiratory infections on campus this year.


Many parents worry about who will take care of their student if he or she gets sick or injured. How do you identify students who need medical attention?

The University has a very good safety net for students — many people across campus are watching out for our students. Faculty and staff members, residence life staff, athletic coaches, safety and security staff members, and student leaders are just some of the people who refer students to us and/or help students discover the resources they need. SPU students also self-refer and are good about making appointments with us and seeking out the help they need.


What does your department do to help students make healthy choices?

We work collaboratively with other departments on campus to support wellness programs. In February, our staff participated in the “Reality of an Eating Disorder” program sponsored by the Student Counseling Center. We also supported the “Senior Survival” event put on by the Center for Career and Calling. And interestingly, students often come in to see us about one issue, but end up talking about other concerns once they are in our offices and feeling safe. We are thankful that students feel comfortable enough to trust us with health care concerns.


Any final thoughts to offer parents?

The bottom line is that we are all working together to educate and support students in their endeavors to lead a healthy life.