Reed Resources: Health and Counseling Center

Welcome to the latest installment of our Reed Resources column! Today we’re printing all you need to know about Reed’s Health and Counseling Center (HCC). Earlier this week, I took a walk with Reed’s very own Family Nurse Practitioner, Anne Kimberly, and her beautiful dog, Bosco, during which we talked about all of the services the HCC can provide for students. 

Introducing the physical care side of the HCC, Kimberley said, “We are a primary care clinic/urgent care clinic. We have one and a half nurse practitioner positions; I’m here every day, and Elizabeth [Knight] is here three days a week”

As far as physical healthcare goes, the HCC can treat most of the typical ailments that college students seem to suffer from: urinary tract infections, STIs, sore throats, twisted ankles, etc. They can also help with menstrual cycle control, contraception, and perform basic labs and diagnostic testing for mono, strep throat, STIs, etc, Kimberley said.

“We do a lot of gender affirming hormone care,” Kimberley said. “We can initiate [gender affirming hormone care], or if students have started, they can transfer their care to us if they’d like.”

In a follow up email, Kimberley was especially excited to mention the HCC is “now offering allergy injections for students who have initiated the process with an allergist.”

Commenting for the mental health care side of the HCC, Director of Counselling Services Johanna Workman and I communicated via email about some of the things the counselling department can offer students. 

“Counselors are available for same day urgent and emergent mental health needs during business hours (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 pm). Call the HCC at (503) 777-7281 for assistance. The Reed Counseling Hotline provides crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 866-432-1224. For students who seek ongoing counseling, our HCC staff are able to provide referrals to providers in the community. Call the HCC to schedule a triage appointment,” Workman wrote.

When it comes to procuring medicine through the HCC, Kimberley said, “We have a limited formulary of prescription medications on campus. We have no narcotics; we have no ADHD meds, nothing that’s controlled. But I have a handful of antibiotics, rescue medicines for asthma, antifungals, that kind of thing. We carry one type of birth control pill which is a very generic, low dose pill that people use for cycle control or contraception or both. We have a supply of that so students can choose to get that from us, or we can write prescriptions to any pharmacy they choose to use.” 

Workman wanted to highlight that “students interested in accessing the HCC’s directory of community health providers can do so through a link available on the front page of the HCC website. This year, Reed College has partnered with a company providing virtual peer-to-peer mental health and wellbeing support, Togetherall. Togetherall’s online community is clinically moderated by mental health professionals, and offers students a safe and anonymous place to express their thoughts, concerns, and triumphs. Resources are FREE for students (aged 16+) to use and are available 24/7/365. Students are able to draw strength and insights from peers that have real lived experiences, as well as access a range of self-directed, clinically validated tools to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Togetherall integrates with Reed College’s after-hours emergency phone line.  Students can visit and register using their student email address.”

One thing that Kimberley wanted to stress was the importance of knowing your insurance plan. The HCC doesn’t have the money to pay for your medical needs if they refer you to outside sources or require outside entities to do things like run labs the HCC doesn’t have the resources for. While they can help you navigate your insurance plan, knowing what sort of costs are going to be covered by your specific plan can help immensely in making decisions regarding treatment should you need it. 

When asked what she thinks more Reedies should know about the HCC, Kimberley said she wants “students to understand that there are a lot of big system issues that we can’t fix, but we always do our best to help them find options.” 

“Given the pandemic, we are operating at full capacity, which is stressful and frustrating for us,” Kimberley said. “I’ve been here 19 years and this is the first time in my history here where a student may have to wait a week and a half to see one of us, which can feel frustrating to students. I think looking at the big picture, out there in the real world, it’s three months to get into a provider.” 

Speaking personally and not on behalf of the HCC, Kimberley added that “as long as we have a capitalist structure for health insurance, yeah, we’re all going to have more inequities than we should.”

Quotes edited for clarity.

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