Center finds new direction

Chiaramonte plans changes to image, policy

Newly hired Student Health Center Director Bethany Chiaramonte plans to make changes in the health center including longer hours, scheduling appointments and cosmetic upgrades.

"The very first thing that I am looking at is access," Chiaramonte said. "We will completely reevaluate the walk-in system and will go from a 100 percent walk-in system to a scheduling system where you can make appointments. We will also maintain a walk-in system. This should reduce waiting times and also allow office staff to better accommodate students," says Chiaramonte, who has worked in health administration for 12 years.

Several AU students expressed concerns about the health center.

"If you were sick in your dorm how would you get to the health center?" sophomore Nick Zoran said.

"If the health center cannot provide adequate service and continues to jeopardize students' health as it has done in the past, I believe that it should be shut down," sophomore Megan Hotchkiss said.

"The health center needs to be more organized. What happens if you get sick on the weekend?" said sophomore Christy Moquin.

Chiaramonte said she was aware of these issues when she took the position and she looks forward to working with students and the health center staff to improve them.

"I want this to be a safe high quality place where students feel comfortable coming, and concerns are addressed in a competent, respectful, private manner," Chiaramonte said.

"One thing that has been a constant stress in my career is a strong customer service ethic."

Chiaramonte said that she would improve the customer service in the health center by providing a better support system for the staff and a detailed job description for each position. One individual will be in charge of answering the phone and students will no longer be diverted through a message service.

"This is our transition year, until the Student Health Center moves to McCabe in the fall of 2004," Assistant Vice President of Campus Life, Faith Leonard said.

According to Leonard, there is not a system in place to transport students to the student health center in the event that they are suffering from severe illness or injury. The health center will not provide weekend hours until it moves to the new facility, Leonard said.

Students who have an emergency or need health attention after hours may contact an RA to find out more information or obtain a taxi voucher from Public Safety to Suburban Hospital.

Five students were involved in the interview process that selected Chiaramonte as the new director. Chiaramonte replaced former Student Health Center Director Larry Payton.

"Chiaramonte is young and has fresh new ideas. Her sheer force of personality will make the health center a better place for students to go," said Student Confederation President Nick Terzulli, who was involved in the interview process.

Chiaramonte also gave the interior of the health center a face-lift. The chairs in the waiting area no longer have numbers and new pictures are on the walls, Chiaramonte said, as a way to make the health center more customer friendly.

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