A look inside the Emerson Wellness Center

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Photo: Ashlyn Wang

The Emerson Wellness Center entrance located on the third floor of 216 Tremont Street.

By Nia Harmon, Podcast Editor

Adjusting to a college campus leads to lifestyle changes for many students. When introduced to a new diet, communal living spaces, and a host of other factors, health concerns can accompany this transition.

The Wellness Center is an accessible stop for students seeking assistance in addressing their health needs. Whether looking for guidance about physical or mental health, the Wellness Center offers a variety of free services.  

“We often function like an urgent care setting for students here,” said Lisa Viveiros, the center’s associate director of health services. “They can come here and access a clinician, a counselor, the nutritionist. Part of that [student health] fee covers all of that.”

In a Nov. 1 email, the Wellness Center announced the onboarding of a new registered dietitian, Kim Minogue.

Minogue assists students in addressing concerns related to on-campus food options, those seeking education on nutrition, and concerns about disordered eating. 

“Sometimes [during] the transition to college, students haven’t had to prepare food for themselves or there’s such a variety in the dining hall,” Minogue said. “So far, our students have been really receptive to having a little bit of guidance.”

When examining students’ diet-related concerns, Minogue directs them to external care options for further treatment off-campus.

“I can’t diagnose. But, if I had medical concerns, I’d be collaborating with the Health Services department here, usually referring them to the Counseling department here if they don’t already have outpatient services,” Minogue said. “Then, we try and coordinate to help them have outpatient services and make sure they’re connecting with their PCP (primary care physician) and have an outpatient dietitian [and] outpatient therapist as well.”

Once connected with the proper outpatient services, Minogue works alongside the patient and healthcare providers to ensure they stay on track. 

“We’re staffed by nurse practitioners here. We’re not necessarily going to be giving out a diagnosis about something ,” Viveiros said. “We can do some preliminary testing, but we’re like the gatekeeper in trying to decide which way we are going with this as well.”

Viveiros pointed to nearby help that is available within the city that serves as extended care for students looking to treat diet related needs and concerns. 

“The great news is that we’re in the middle of Boston,” Viveiros said. “There’s a lot of services very accessible. [The Wellness Center is] an additional sort of resource for students.”

Because the Wellness Center does not require prior diagnoses or out-of-pocket payment, it is more accessible to students than other healthcare in Boston. Minogue said the center is open to help all students get what they need. 

It doesn’t always have to be a medical condition,” Minogue said. “Even if someone doesn’t physically feel unwell, there’s nothing actually wrong, [and] they just want a chance to chat with someone, they’re welcome to come in as well.”

Editor’s note: this story has been corrected in response to concerns from representatives of the Wellness Center. A previous version of this story contained inaccurate information regarding the cost and coverage of Emerson’s student health fee and insurance.