Integrating services at U of C for higher quality care.
University Health Services (UHS), located on the University of Calgary campus, is currently comprised of physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, psychiatrists and a nutritionist. By 2008, counselling, chaplains and dental services will be integrated into a proposed new Wellness Centre.
Jim Dunsdon, assistant vice-president of student services, says, “The U of C is excited to be one of the few universities in North America that will offer an integrated, one-stop health and wellness clinic for students. Our goal for this model is to improve the students’ ability to access the appropriate support for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs and development.”
Senior physician Dr. Lois Milne concurs, adding that “University Health Services strives to be on the leading edge in terms of providing quality health care and education to the university community. The integration of medical services has allowed for easier access with decreased wait times.”
When patients see a chiropractor for what ends up being a medical problem, accessing a physician quickly – especially for time-constrained students – can be difficult. “A patient may present to us with back pain but when clinical findings suggest a kidney infection, we can arrange for medical assessment and proper treatment, all in one visit,” says Dr. Rachel Schuster, senior chiropractor. “The students are so thankful for this level of care.” Milne agrees: “This interdisciplinary merger has resulted in improved communication, cross-referrals, service delivery, teamwork, collaboration and collegiality between services.”
The clinic has included chiropractic since 1995. Dr. Greg Kawchuk (Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 1990), then doing post-graduate studies at U of C, approached UHS about adding chiropractic to the health-care team. At that time, the clinic provided only medical services. The next few years witnessed tremendous growth in the student population, resulting in an increased demand for chiropractic coverage. In 1998, Dr. Rachel Schuster (Northwestern Chiropractic College, 1995), who had prior research and interdisciplinary experience, started at UHS.
Currently, there are three chiropractors and four massage therapists at the clinic. When Kawchuk transferred to the University of Alberta in 2004, Schuster assumed the role of senior chiropractor. Since then, Dr. David Opresnik (National College of Chiropractic, 1999), also an ART certified practitioner, and Dr. Shari Wynd (CMCC, 2002), a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering, joined the team. “We treat a variety of patients ranging from national and varsity athletes to faculty and staff as well as visitors to the campus,” says Opresnik. “However,” he says, “we most commonly treat undergrad and graduate students with postural syndrome.”
The integration of services has been very successful, says Milne, noting that, through improving efficiencies, enhancing quality of care, and providing a more comprehensive wellness service, “We can better meet the needs of our students and help them to realize their full potential. This in turn should help them achieve their personal, academic and career goals.”
From the student services perspective, Dunsdon states, “The U of C strives to develop, maintain and graduate healthy students who have the skills, attitudes and resources to contribute to the workforce and community as highly functioning, educated individuals.”•
Print this page