Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Field Report: Health

    Two major Bay Area community college newspapers — City College of San Francisco’s The Guardsman, and the Peralta Colleges’ Laney Tower — have joined together to compare and contrast different kinds of campus services, and draw attention to how much these schools have to offer their students and thus how important it is to keep these services alive. Community colleges are resources for learning, job skills, and earning credits toward transfers. They also offer vital resources like health services, food banks, and showers. City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has created a program that expands on its role in the life of students who are homeless or housing insecure.

    Each semester, City College of San Francisco’s health services program offers significant resources to students through on-campus appointments.

    The goal of the program is “to uphold the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students registered for credit classes,” and program also serves eight satellite campuses.

    While the program is culturally responsive to ethnic and gender communities, due to budget constraints, services are provided only to registered credit-earning students at the rate of $17.00 per semester, a state mandated fee.

    Foreign students on F-1 Visas enrolled in classes must also enroll in the City College health services program by purchasing an international student basic policy, as mandated by the federal government.

    These City College international students must belong to Ascension Benefits and Insurance Solutions with Blue Cross/Blue Shield at $870.00 per semester.

    The students benefit because by gaining coverage in one large insurance pool, international students get the best possible insurance at the lowest cost.

    “Yes, most of the student health fee goes toward free clinic visits on campus. However, we are lucky to be in San Francisco where the community really wants to be helpful to all of its residents,” Chris Brodie, City College’s student health financial technician, said.

    All visits to the student health center are covered by the student health fee paid at enrollment. Only certain blood tests and immunizations require an small additional fee. However, the “health center prioritizes certain blood tests related to reproductive processes and can usually get the cost of those test covered by a third party agency,” Brodie said.

    The health center is open five days a week with variable hours during which students book appointments. The total hours in which appointments can be made, weekly, is 35 hours and 45 minutes.

    The Peralta Community College District provides a variety of health services that students use daily. The goal of the health services program is “to support access and care for all Peralta students,” and given all of the services provided, the district is meeting that goal.

    Laney College, a college in the Peralta district, usually handicapped by budgetary concerns, has a financially sound health services program.

    The $18 health fee that every student must pay provides services ranging from mental health counseling to popular acupuncture and massage sessions.

    “Luckily we have a good reserve, we never overspend, and we are able to create some creative programs,” said Indra Thadani, director of Peralta’s, and Laney’s health services.

    In order to address the most pressing health concerns, the district conducted a health assessment survey in 2016 that included 1,403 students across all four of Peralta’s colleges.

    Among the top concerns were stress (19 percent) weight (18 percent) and depression (11 percent).

    Thadani said that the mental health services currently have a waiting list, something she attributes to this year’s political environment affecting students’ mental health.

    What sets the Peralta District’s health services apart from others is the acupuncture and massage therapy that came to fruition under Thadani in 2002, with grants from UC Berkeley. The program has grown to all four campuses and is offered on different days for each campus.

    Laney student Sophie Camara is grateful for the services. “I use [these services] when I have cold symptoms, need supplies or want to get a massage,” she says.

    LGBTQ students should also feel comfortable, with faculty that are involved with the community and provide support for those students who might be struggling. Counselors are also given a refresher on LGBTQ concerns annually.

    Where Peralta does fall short of the mark is immunizations. While City College provides immunizations for an extra payment, Peralta gives only flu vaccines and tuberculosis tests.

    For less than $20 each semester, either campus offers STD screening, family planning, blood pressure screening, weight management, mental health services, emergency care, and more.

    John Marshall, Diane Carter

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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