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New health facilities

Freshmen aren’t the only new thing on campus this fall. The Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will merge and reopen as the new Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC).

SHAC opens on the first day of classes, Monday, Sept. 29, and will be housed in the University Center Building at 1880 S.W. 6th Ave., benefiting students by providing “additional space for both the health services and CAPS, allowing us to provide services to larger numbers of students in a more integrated fashion,” said Margaret Trout, the nurse manager at Student Health Services.

If a new freshman has to demonstrate college-sized intellect by breaking a leg while drunkenly celebrating newfound freedoms, avoid panicking. PSU providers will be on call to give advice over the phone and will direct the student to a facility if need be.

Call (503) 725-3462 for medical advice and chances are the above freshman will be sent to the urgent care center at the Good Samaritan hospital for that broken leg.

The ailed freshman may ask, “Once the SHAC opens, can I even go there? Don’t I have to shell out a bunch of money or something?” Most freshmen already have. All students taking nine or more credit hours pay a healthcare fee as part of their tuition, making them eligible for the health services provided at the SHAC. Those taking four to eight credit hours can pay the fee within the first two weeks of the term. “Students are often surprised to see how many services are available,” commented Trout. “Eligible students can see a doctor, nurse, psychiatrist or therapist at no charge. They can come to us for primary care or when they have acute problems.”

The SHAC also brings along with it new advances in technology. The combined facilities will contain a new X-ray machine that takes digital pictures, making them easier to read. Medical records will be transitioning into an electronic system, increasing efficiency.

Despite the new facilities and technologies, avoiding illness and resulting trips to the SHAC would be wiser, but no one really believes freshmen will heed that advice.

Trout forewarns freshmen: “The transition to college can take a lot of energy, so it’s important for freshmen to try and take care of themselves by getting enough sleep and eating right. A little TLC can make it easier to stay healthy.”

The SHAC’s business-hours phone number is 503-725-2800 and its 24-hour nurse advice line, available to all eligible students, is 1-800-607-5501. A complete list of services can be found at