The health center on campus was built about 50 years ago with 1960s healthcare in mind. Since then, the student population has grown, the demand for healthcare has grown and healthcare delivery has changed dramatically.
“We probably have 18,000 to 19,000 clinical visits a year,” says Johann Fiore Conte, MS ’83, director of health and counseling services. “In 2010-11, we served about 7,800 students — about half of our student population.”
To provide students the best healthcare possible, the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation granted Binghamton University $1.5 million to renovate the Decker Student Health Services Center, turning seven large rooms into 17 private examination rooms, enabling healthcare providers to spend more time with patients while working more efficiently.
On a recent rainy Wednesday, a student came out of an exam and whispered to a friend in the waiting room, whose color scheme is cool blues accented by deep-red wood, “Yay! No ear infection!”
Not that an ear infection would have been a problem. The center has a staff of nearly two-dozen medical providers making diagnoses with modern equipment like an “ear cam” that can visually record an infected eardrum, store it in a new electronic record system and compare it to a new image during follow-up to judge a treatment’s effectiveness.
The center also has its own dispensary to provide common medications like antibiotics and antihistamines free of charge. In fact, it’s free to students for any service — doctor or therapist visit, vaccination or routine blood work.
“We kind of laugh because students come in and say, ‘this looks like a real doctor’s office,’” Fiore Conte says. “And we’ll say, ‘it is.’”