University student health services in focus at national meeting in Ballina

Published in the July 2016 issue

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Professor Iain Graham, head of SCU's School of Health and Human Sciences, delivers one of the sessions.

Professor Iain Graham, head of SCU’s School of Health and Human Sciences, delivers one of the sessions.

The Southern Cross University Health Clinic is leading the trend among campus practitioners nationally in its provision of services to both students and the general community.

“The SCU Health Clinic at the Lismore campus bulkbills and offers a range of general practice services,” said Mrs Marlene Assim, manager of the SCU Health Clinic.

“Unlike other university health services, we see students as well as the general public at the SCU Health Clinics at Lismore and the Gold Coast, and we have allied health private practitioners including psychologists, dieticians and exercise physiologists.

“In partnership with the Northern NSW Local Health District, we also host chronic care groups and pre-natal midwifery groups.”

The SCU Health Clinic proudly hosted the Australian and New Zealand higher education health providers professional focus group meeting at Ballina this month (July 13 and 14), which brought together around 50 campus practice managers, doctors, nurses and allied health providers from across the country.

“The meeting was an opportunity for us to showcase to other universities how SCU is leading the way in terms of what we’re doing by way of services and collaborations,” Mrs Assim said.

Conference topics included:

  • The Happiness Project: Recognising the whole person in a student transition and retention program – by Dr Mieke Witsel from Southern Cross University
  • Inclusive practice to improve health & wellbeing for sexuality, sex and gender diverse students – by Mr Roy Starkey, Ms Felicity Grace & Mr Neil McKellar-Stewart from ACON
  • A best practice approach to improving the health of international students – by Mr Carl Buik from BUPA

The conference convenor was Kim Turudia, Medical Services Practice Manager at Deakin University.

“University health services are not in competition with each other as we would be in private practice, so there is an enormous amount of goodwill among members to share innovations and ideas, collaborate and discuss the road ahead and what we may or may not be facing,” Ms Turudia said.

“We understand the importance of student health and wellbeing services on a university campus and how integral the services we provide are to student academic success and retention. The provision of services to staff on campus is also significant as staff health and wellbeing is a priority for many universities ongoing.”

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