Penn State President Eric Barron and the Nittany Lion shared the honor of cutting the ribbon for the new Penn State Employee Health and Wellness Center on Jan. 16. Also participating were (left to right) David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business; Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of the College of Nursing; Dr. Craig Hillemeier, chief executive officer, Penn State Health; and Dr. Kevin Black, vice dean, University Park Regional Campus, College of Medicine.
Image: Steve Tressler
The University and Penn State Health launched a new initiative for employee health and wellness on Jan. 16 with a ribbon-cutting event for the Penn State Employee Health and Wellness Center on the first floor of the Nursing Sciences Building at University Park.
University officials and community representatives had an opportunity to tour the new facility, which includes several exam rooms and space for lab work. The center will provide walk-in service for minor illnesses requiring short-term treatment through a partnership between Penn State Health and the College of Nursing.
“This center is a great example of how we can collaborate across disciplines to improve health,” said Dr. Craig Hillemeier, chief executive officer of Penn State Health and senior vice president for health affairs at Penn State. “The University, Penn State Human Resources, the College of Nursing and Penn State Health all worked together to bring this center to fruition.”
When the center officially opens in mid-February, University Park faculty and staff—both full- and part-time—will have easier access to high-quality care for many common conditions, including allergies, abdominal and respiratory infections, and minor injuries not associated with a workplace incident.
“This new center will give employees the opportunity to conveniently get treatment for minor medical conditions rather than going to their physician’s office,” said Penn State President Eric Barron.
Hillemeier stressed that although the center’s purpose is to offer care for individual episodes of health problems, it also offers opportunities to improve overall employee health.
“When someone comes in for care that doesn’t yet have a family doctor, we have an opportunity to connect him or her to a family physician, and thus to important preventative care,” he said. “If they have a chronic condition like diabetes or asthma, we can connect them to practitioners and resources to help them optimize their health.”
Barron agreed, saying, “The center will go a long way in promoting a healthy community year-round. I’m proud of the high-quality health care services available to our employees. This Health and Wellness Center continues that commitment to keeping our community healthy.”
Several nurse practitioners will provide services, with a Penn State Health physician on site two days a week. This model affords yet another opportunity, Hillemeier said: the potential to educate the next generation of health care providers.
“We envision that nurse practitioner and medical students may eventually train here,” he said. “Health care is changing rapidly and people receive care in many different settings. As educators, one of our responsibilities is ensuring that students experience this variety, so they understand care from a patient’s perspective. It also opens their eyes to the many opportunities available to them as clinicians.”