The Student Health Center has established the Community Health Team, focused on providing proactive education around illness on campus, vaccines, and how to get students the help and support they need when they’re sick.
“We built upon our lessons from COVID as we return to campus and the world in a fuller way,” said Carman North, Community Health Team member. “Our mission is to understand how illness moves through the community and provide informed outreach as needed where community transmission is occurring.”
The team will also oversee vaccine education and was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Health to implement educational programming and communication surrounding vaccines. The staff is currently hosting vaccine clinics for the Flu and for the Moderna booster for COVID-19 but hopes to form a group of student champions to help the staff better understand the opinions on vaccines on campus.
“These students will be the student voice for our office,” said North. “They will be able to help us understand what other students’ opinions are on campus and that will help us communicate in a more effective way to students.”
In addition to proactive health education, the team will help students who are experiencing illness or injuries that would keep them from attending class. David Laubach, a fellow Community Health Team member, explained that when students first start to feel unwell is when they should start the process of working with Student Health.
“I want students to feel empowered to do the right thing and stay home when they are sick, and I want them to know support is available to them when they need to make that decision.,” said Laubach. “We can help them work with their professors if they need to miss class due to illness.”
Students who may miss class due to illness should learn more about absence notifications by visiting studentlife.utk.edu/absence.