Student health center offers tours as it celebrates 90 years

Once operating the only hospital in Davis, the UC Davis student health service is celebrating 90 years of health care Thursday, Oct. 10, with an open house and tours of the recently renovated and expanded Cowell Student Health Center.

The health service, which last year saw 13,641 students on 51,867 visits, renovated its north wing and built a 5,000-square-foot annex, growing to 45,900 square feet to meet an increasing demand for services.

The remodeled wing houses the nursing clinic and an expanded pharmacy, while the physical therapy department and the health education and promotion unit have been relocated in the new annex.

"We've been caring for so many more students and expanding the services we provide," says Dr. Michelle Famula, director of the health center. "This additional space will improve both access and service quality for our students."

Since 1997, the number of patient visits has increased 23 percent. And in the past year, the number of primary care visits increased by 28 percent, pharmacy use by 30 percent, and nursing appointments by 20 percent.

During the open house, from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., visitors can tour the facility with current and retired staff members, view a display of early photographs, enjoy refreshments and anniversary cake, and take home a commemorative gift.

Health services for students began as an infirmary added to the East Hall dining area in 1912, moved to the center's current facility on California Avenue in 1952 and grew with an addition in 1967. At one time, the center operated an inpatient hospital and emergency room, but it discontinued those operations in the mid-1980s.

Today, the center provides primary care services, urgent care and specialty clinics for students.

With referrals, physician specialists offer care in specialties from dermatology to gynecology and from internal medicine to orthopedics. Nursing services ranging from immunizations to allergy testing are also available. In addition to the pharmacy and physical therapy department, the center also offers dietary, acupuncture, laboratory and X-ray services.

Famula said the center is distinguished for programs like its sport medicine clinic that is open - not just to athletes - but to all students, and its unique healthcare services for students who work as animal handlers or travel internationally in their academic programs.

However, the director says she is most proud of the center's integrated approach to health that considers students' lifestyle in providing for their medical needs.

The center's health education and promotion unit administers several outreach and peer counseling programs on health-related topics, including peer sexuality counseling and the Campus Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Program.

The center has 133 employees and an annual operating budget of about $8.76 million.

Media Resources

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,

Primary Category