An Access Guide to the Student Health Center

By Denali Norton


The Student Health Center is now open four days a week offering both physical and mental health services via telehealth and in-person appointments.


The most important thing to know about the Health Center is it is free to City College students when they pay the student health fee at the beginning of each semester. Since the start of the semester the Health Center has been back and serving the same number of students  they had before the pandemic.

“Facilitating Student Health” Illustration by Cindy Chan/The Guardsman


Reopening the health center this semester for both telehealth and in-person service has given students more options to access care with telehealth and in-person services being utilized equally by students.


Since the start of the pandemic many have started getting cold feet about going to the doctors or simply putting it off. This has led some students to be behind on immunizations or STI testing. Which are both services offered by the Health Center and a great reason to visit.


“A silver lining of the pandemic has been being able to expand into telemedicine,” said Jane Ernstthal, nurse practitioner and department chair of the Student Health Center.


Mental health counseling is offered for a variety of different issues both in person on Ocean Campus and via telehealth, though it is not meant for long term counseling. If needed the center will help get you connected to someone who offers more long term support.


“It’s such an awesome opportunity to get therapy without having to pay for it,” said Felicia King, a licenced clinical social worker and head mental health counselor.


Weekly support groups also are offered by the mental health offices. They offer a variety of topics from dealing with anxiety to a women’s support group and more.  


There is still availability to participate in  support groups this semester although availability really depends on the semester. Some semesters are completely full while others have more open spots. The  Health Center’s website has a poll to provide  input about topics offered too.


The Center also offers an array of physical health services from reproductive and sexual health care, to immunizations and CalFresh application assistance. The Family PACT program specifically, is a statewide program for low income students that most qualify for it. It offers free birth control, pregnancy tests, STI testing, pap smears and other reproductive and sexual health care for free via the Health Center. 


“Through the Workforce Grant, Allied Health students are able to get their program required physical exams, immunizations and bloodwork done at Student Health Services at no cost to them,” said Ernstthal.


Services even extend outside of the Health Center as classes about sexual health and awareness for the services the center offers are taught in City College classroms. Flu shot clinics at other City College campuses also are available to help make vaccines accessible to students for the upcoming flu season.


Students also may be impressed by the size of the  Health Center, which spans across the large ground floor level and operates as a fully comprehensive clinic. Including a reception area, multiple counseling rooms, and plenty of physical exam rooms and equipment for the services offered. “We do have one of the biggest community college health centers in the state,” said King.