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Bigger, better Boynton clinic opens in St. Paul

Open house reception set for Friday, Oct. 4

September 30, 2013

Mental health, physical therapy and nutrition services are now available to students, faculty and staff on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. These health care options complement existing primary care, Gopher Quick Clinic and prescription pick-up services.

The St. Paul Clinic, located in Coffey Hall and operated by Boynton Health Service, underwent a major remodel in the summer of 2013. Now double the size, the clinic is an inviting and modern, healing space that preserves the architectural heritage of the historic hall.

A grand opening reception for the campus community—featuring Goldy, therapy animals (including Woodstock the therapy chicken), light snacks and giveaways—will take place Friday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We’re very excited to provide more direct access in St. Paul so patients don’t have to travel to Minneapolis for their care—it’s much more convenient and accessible," said Ferdinand Schlapper, Boynton’s director and the campus’s chief health officer.

Increased mental health services
For the first time, students can make mental health appointments at the St. Paul Clinic, in addition to Boynton’s East Bank Clinic. Earlier this year, the University’s Student Services Fee Committee approved funding for the addition of two mental health providers at the St. Paul Clinic—who will offer evaluation, medication management and individual therapy.

Mental health is the number one health issue on campus, and creating greater accessibility for student care is a top priority. In fact, 43.3 percent of University students report experiencing one or two stressors within the past 12 months—according to Boynton’s 2013 College Student Health Survey Report.

Over the last 10 years, Boynton has noticed a steady rise in demand for mental health services. In 2012–13, the health service saw a 9.6 percent increase in student mental health appointments.

"Campuses across the country, including ours, have experienced a steady increase in demand and need for mental health services," said Dr. Steve Hermann, Boynton’s director of mental health. "National surveys have shown that each successive incoming group of freshmen is reporting higher levels of stress."

According to Hermann, student stressors include academic pressure, financial stress, work and school balance, independent living adjustments, and relationships. And more students than ever are seeking help.

"There’s been a decrease in stigma and public health campaigns have improved the recognition signs of mental health issues," Hermann says. "Students are taking the appropriate steps to get help with depression and anxiety."

This summer, Boynton dropped a $10 co-pay for mental health appointments—to make it even easier for University students (who pay the student services fee) to get the help they need.

"We’ve been challenged in the past and haven’t been able to meet the demand for mental health services," said Dr. Gary Christenson, Boynton’s chief medical officer. "I am hopeful these efforts will help meet the demand across the Twin Cities campus."

Historic building, modern design
Boynton partnered with the University’s College of Design on the 2,700-square-foot clinic remodeling project—giving 25 sophomore-level interior design students an opportunity to apply their skills on a real-world design project on their own campus.

Over a five-week period, teams from two classes proposed design concepts that preserve the vintage feel of Coffey Hall, a Renaissance Revival-style building built in 1906—including transom windows that filter light throughout the clinic and a natural color palette.

"Service learning projects such as this one are extremely beneficial to design students because it allows them to learn, contribute to the community, and understand how to affect change," said Elizabeth Bye, head of the department of Design, Housing, and Apparel at the College of Design.

"It was just a great win-win for us," added Schlapper.

The remodel of the Coffey Hall space cost $500,000—funded through Boynton’s capital improvement budget.

About Boynton Health Service
Boynton Health Service is a multi-disciplinary, ambulatory care clinic with locations on the East Bank and St. Paul campuses of the University of Minnesota and serves students, staff, and faculty. Providing approximately 100,000 visits per year for primary care, urgent care, quick care, eye care, mental health care, dental care, physical therapy, nutrition consultation, massage therapy, travel consultations and immunizations, and women’s care, Boynton Health Service helps to keep the University community healthy and successful in their academics, work, and personal lives.

In addition, Boynton Health Service serves as a public health service providing outreach programs for health promotion, direct services, mass immunization clinics for influenza, and employee wellness programs. According to patient satisfaction surveys, 94 percent of patients surveyed report they would recommend the provider they saw to someone else and they rated their overall care by their provider as a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.

For more information, please click here.

BHS St Paul clinic large
College of Design student Bethany DeLine in an examination room at Boynton's newly renovated St. Paul clinic. DeLine, along with Design classmates, helped preserve the architectural heritage of Coffey Hall, where the clinic is located.

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