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Student Health Center Reaccreditation Reaffirms Quality Care

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Health provider with student.
Photo by Patrick Bradley.

Seal of Approval

AU’s Student Health Center has a new tiny, rectangular sticker on its front window. Even though it’s small enough to miss in passing, the logo on that sticker speaks volumes about the university and its commitment to the student body.

In fact, it says specifically that the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care believes AU’s SHC offers a host of quality services to its student clients. It’s the AAAHC’s job to scrutinize the center’s work and compare it with a national standard.

Dean of students and assistant vice president of Campus Life Dr. Rob Hradsky helped oversee the rigorous process that saw the SHC earn highest reaccreditation honors for the third time. He’s thrilled, but not surprised, to see these results, which will keep the SHC accredited for the maximum three-year period.

“Whenever you have someone external to the university who is looking objectively at how this center is functioning provide their stamp of approval and say, ‘Wow, you’re really doing a great job, and not only that—we think you’re doing things that others could benefit from hearing about,’ that’s a great feeling,” he explained.

After nearly eight years in the field of college medicine, new SHC medical director Dr. David Reitman can’t agree more with the association’s conclusions.

“They not only said that we were doing a good job but gave us the highest level of commendations,” he shared. “We were not only meeting but exceeding expectations for a student health center and the quality of care students receive here.”

Better & Better

For SHC’s associate director for administrative services Edythe-Anne Cook, the reaccreditation process allows the center to constantly raise the bar for itself, as it has to adapt to AAAHC’s evolving standards of care.

“We’re always striving to improve ourselves and make the services we offer students better,” she said.

Some of those improvements have and will include expanded appointment times, an online medical records and appointment system, and more evening hours catering to students’ busy class and internship schedules.

Hradsky counts Reitman himself as a piece of the improvements.

“He really understands our particular population and the needs of college students. Aside from being a physician who’s demonstrated excellence in the many roles he’s had, including leading pediatric emergency departments,” he said. “He’s brought a real focus on understanding the needs of our student population.”

Watch & Learn

With Reitman on board and the reaccreditation achieved, the SHC also has secured a full staff of fully credentialed health practitioners. According to Reitman, it’s not only just a fully credentialed staff; it’s a group of people passionate about college health.

“People that work in college health enjoy it,” he said. “You’re working with a great group of students and staff that are committed to keeping students healthy. …Everyone who’s on our staff really wants to be here, and they really love the work.”

Cook includes herself as part of that passionate group. Having served the SHC for the past nine years, she still loves seeing students develop and mature through their visits to the center.

For her, health care is an important facet of AU’s living-learning experience.

“You get to watch students learn and grow,” she explained. “By the time that they’re graduating, they know about health insurance and how to navigate health care on their own. That’s the thing so many of us like about the work.”

Hradsky notes that the SHC also helps AU fulfill an important strategic goal: provide students with an unsurpassed undergraduate education and experience.

As the only Washington, D.C., college health center accredited by AAAHC, the SHC is certainly doing its part in fostering a group of wonks that will change the world.

“We recognize that, in order for a student be successful academically, they need to feel well and live a healthy lifestyle,” Hradsky said. “We want to make sure that when we consider student health, we’re looking at it broadly so that we can support their ultimate goal of getting a solid education and graduating from a strong institution.”