About three years ago, Seyeon Lee was invited by CenterState CEO, an economic development organization in Syracuse, to help design a women’s wellness center on the North Side of the city. Lee, an associate professor of environmental and interior design…
Celebrating the Barnes Center at The Arch Health Care Staff
Health care workers around the world have been working tirelessly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and wellness of the public. These workers have had to adapt to an overwhelming and unprecedented health crisis, and it is not a stretch to call them heroes. Among them are Syracuse University’s frontline health care workers—the medical providers, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, Syracuse University Ambulance members and front desk office coordinators at the Barnes Center at The Arch—who have dedicated their days and nights to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.
“As we all know, the pandemic presented unforeseen challenges and circumstances across the globe and within each and every community. For our health care team in the Barnes Center, through it all—increases in cases, changes in facilities, their own personal challenges—our students always came first. They have provided the utmost care and support to our students,” says Kathleen Coughlin, director of health care in the Barnes Center at The Arch.
Health Services in High Demand
The time and services of the health care team are in higher demand than ever before. In fact, call volume to the Barnes Center at The Arch has increased more than 150% compared to the 2019-20 academic year. Additionally, to support campus testing needs, with the help of Campus Planning, Design and Construction, Flanagan Gymnasium was converted into a COVID-19 diagnostic testing center and clinic that operates seven days a week. Also operating seven days a week is the team with Syracuse University Ambulance, which provides transportation to students entering isolation or quarantine housing or needing to be seen at the clinic for testing or healthcare.
In addition to their regular health care provider duties, the staff conduct diagnostic COVID-19 tests; provide care for students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; triage and answer thousands of calls regarding COVID-19 symptoms, questions and concerns; and check in with COVID-positive students regularly to monitor their signs and symptoms, Coughlin says.
This year, they also managed an increase in the administration of vaccines. First, the team oversaw the flu clinic, which administered nearly 12,000 flu shots.
When COVID-19 vaccines became available and the campus community was waiting for students to return to campus, members of the health care team participated in training to administer the vaccine and supported the greater Syracuse community by administering vaccines at the Onondaga County vaccination site. This training and experience came to good use as the health care team supported the on-campus clinic to vaccinate 2,000 students, staff and faculty, Coughlin says.
Future of Health and Wellness
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the general public’s awareness of the importance of health and wellness and altered what it means to work in the health care field. In the future, expect to see Zoom calls and telehealth meetings as continuing options for health care appointments, Coughlin says. Personal protective equipment like masks and face shields are here to stay.
Looking forward, the health care staff at the Barnes Center at The Arch urge the campus community to continue being active participants in their health and wellness journeys.
Catherine Goodwin, M.S., NP-C, a nurse practitioner with the Barnes Center at The Arch health services team, shares, “We are all so hopeful to see a continued decrease in infection rates as the vaccination numbers rise. It is so important for everyone to remember that to have continued improvement, everyone must do their part and not become complacent with their safety precautions. Despite your vaccination status, please continue to adhere to safety guidelines!”
Immeasurable Dedication of Time and Resources by Health Care Staff
Coughlin adds that one way to thank Syracuse University’s front-line health care workers who have dedicated so much to provide care to our community is to follow the Stay Safe Pledge—get tested weekly, get vaccinated, wear a mask as directed and observe New York State’s public health guidelines.
In addition to practicing positive health habits, Goodwin says the community can thank health care workers by “paying it forward” and treating each other well.
“One of the most important things we can all remind ourselves is that everyone is dealing with the pandemic in their own way—be patient with everyone,” Goodwin says. “We really do not know what experiences people carry with them.”
Story by Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience intern Cecelia Kersten ’23, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.