Faculty hear Boynton presentation about health and food insecurity

Long wait times for mental health services were also listed as a concern.

by Brian Edwards

To help solve pressing health issues, Boynton Health Service administrators are reaching out to a variety of groups on campus for input. 
In recent weeks, Boynton has presented its current data to groups, including faculty members, in order to communicate health concerns at the school while gathering community feedback on how to best address them.
The Faculty Consultative Committee heard a presentation from Boynton officials on food insecurity and mental health issues this month. 
“Over the past few months, we have been presenting to a lot of groups with this data,” said Dave Golden, director of public health and communications for Boynton. “Data takes on much more life when presented to groups like this.”
Golden said gathering responses from multiple groups helps prevent Boynton from trying to find solutions too quickly or missing community voices.
Gary Christenson, chief medical officer at Boynton, said using specific numbers about health issues on campus helps the department better tailor its services to the needs of the University population.
Boynton has disseminated its data to as many parts of the University as possible, he said, through its website and presentations to groups like the FCC.
”I think there is … wisdom [in] having many voices,” Christenson said.
Cultivating a variety of perspectives helps Boynton lobby for resources, find links to other issues on campus and inform health campaigns, he said.
Jean Wyman, professor in the School of Nursing, said the lack of resources and coverage for issues at Boynton are two of her biggest concerns.
“The FCC is very concerned about this not getting the attention from admins that it should,” she said.
Wyman said the group recently heard concerns about long wait times for mental health services. She said commissioning medical students could help fill gaps in Boynton’s health services, including mental health. 
“They usually don’t like student-student care, but many of these people are licensed,” Wyman said.
Wyman also said Boynton could improve how it communicates to students on using health services, which she said could help eliminate barriers to receiving care. 
Another issue for students is food insecurity, a newer focus for Boynton after gathering data. Faculty members believe there are many small-scale solutions.
Joe Konstan, a professor in the department of computer science and engineering, said at the meeting that the school needs to balance between ensuring students are fed and equipping them with skills to make healthy meals. 
Konstan said at an FCC meeting that he would like to see plans to move forward and present solutions to combat food insecurity, even though the process is in its early stages.
“I realize we aren’t there yet, but I would like to see some broad, articulated visions,” he said. “[I]t is important to hear goals.”