The Student Health Center is a comprehensive, nationally accredited physician directed program providing outpatient ambulatory health care. Services include medical, gynecology, counseling services, and health education and wellness programs. Specialty consultation and referrals are available.
Due to an increase in the demand for allergy injections and limited staffing to provide this service, effective August 1, 2018, we will no longer be offering allergy shots to students. Students who are interested in starting or continuing allergy desensitization therapy will be referred to Certified Allergy & Asthma Consultants on 2231 Burdett Avenue in Troy, NY. Click here for details on how to become established as a patient with Certified Allergy & Asthma Consultants.
GYN consultations, prescriptions, and referrals offered via virtual visit.
Gynecology services are provided by a nurse practitioner in our Student Health Center. On-site services include:
- Pelvic and breast exams
- Pap tests STI testing and treatment
- Contraceptive management
- Emergency contraception
- Pregnancy testing
- Counseling related to sexual health issues
- Management of common gynecologic problems including vaginal infections and irregular periods
When you call to make your appointment, you will be asked the purpose of your visit such as- routine (annual exam), a first GYN exam (never previously done elsewhere) or other reason so the appropriate amount of time can be scheduled.
In order to preserve medical appointments for students who are in true need of medical care, the Student Health Center limits the writing of medical excuses to specific conditions and will not issues excuses for past illness and injuries.
Given the pandemic response and related staffing restrictions, we are not issuing class excuses except in extreme cases as described below. Please only seek a medical appointment when you need medical intervention, not just to obtain a class excuse (it won't be given). Issuing class excuses leads to unnecessary use of our services (students who are ill but don't need medical intervention) and thus, ultimately reduces the availability of care for those who need it.
Students who miss class for an illness are encouraged to contact their professors regarding class absence, missed work, and make up work, just as they would an employer.
**Students are encouraged to communicate directly with faculty regarding class attendance and/or completion of class assignments when the illness or injury does not meet the criteria outlined below.
Medical Excuses Given
The Student Health Center will authorize official excuses (via the Student Success Office) for: illnesses that significantly impair daily functioning or require isolation, immediate testing or referral, hospitalization and surgery.
Medical Excuses Not Given
The Student Health Center will not give medical excuses for missing classes and/or tests for common minor illnesses or other illnesses that do not significantly impair daily functioning.
Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
As a student accessing treatment from the Student Health Services department you have the right, consistent with the law, to:
- Understand and use these rights. If for any reason, you do not understand or you need help, Rensselaer will provide assistance, including an interpreter.
- Receive treatment without discrimination as to age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, veteran status, marital status or disability.
- Receive considerate and respectful care in a clean and safe environment free of unnecessary restraints.
- Be seen by the practitioner of your choice if he/she has scheduled time available.
- Change practitioners without question or retaliation.
- Be informed of the name and position of the health care provider who treats you.
- Know the names, positions, and functions of any staff involved in your care and refuse their treatment, examination or observation.
- Receive complete information, as far as is known, about your diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
- Receive all the information that you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information shall include the possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.
- Refuse treatment and be told what effect this may have on your health.
- Refuse to take in part in research. In deciding whether or not to participate, you have the right to a full explanation.
- Privacy while in the office and confidentiality, within the law, of all information and records regarding your care.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment.
- Provide an advanced directive.
- Review your medical record, as provided by law, without charge and obtain a copy of your medical record for which the Student Health Center can charge a reasonable fee. You cannot be denied a copy solely because you cannot afford to pay.
- Complain without fear of reprisals about the care and services you are receiving and to have the Student Medical Services respond to you and if you request it, a written response. Complaints, suggestions or compliments may be directed to the Patient Advocate (email@example.com), the Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the Assistant Vice President for Student Life (email@example.com).
Your responsibilities as a patient:
- You have a responsibility to be courteous to staff and other patients. People accompanying you share this responsibility with you.
- You have the responsibility to observe the rules of the Institute -- especially the rules of safety.
- You have the responsibility to keep your appointments and be on time or to call and reschedule or cancel them so another can use the time.
- You have the responsibility to give a complete and accurate medical history, and to promptly report any changes or additions.
- You have the responsibility to follow the mutually agreed upon prescribed course of your treatment, and to inform your doctor, nurse or other health care provider of any improvements or deteriorations in your health related to this course of treatment.
- You have the responsibility to pay your bills promptly; to provide the necessary insurance information for processing them, and to ask any questions you have about them as soon as possible.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are very common. If you think it can’t happen to you…think again. Some people have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and do not know it because STI’s often show no symptoms. Others have symptoms of infection but don’t know what to do.
What are symptoms of an STI?
Symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STI) vary from person to person, or may not be present at all. The following are often symptoms of infection and should be evaluated:
- Painful urination
- Unusual discharge form the vagina, penis or anus
- Skin changes (bumps, sores, rashes, lesions or warts) in or around the genitals, anus or throat
- Genital/anal itching or pain
- Pelvic discomfort or pain, or an abnormal PAP smear (for women)
- Testicular pain
Testing if you have STI symptoms
Concerned about an STI? Start with a virtual visit.
On-site service, when fully operational, include:
The Student Health Center has services and support to help you learn more about your STI status. Screening/Testing is offered at the Student Health Center by appointment on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The visit, the HIV test, and the chlamydia and gonorrhea testing are free of charge.
STI SCREENING-Testing when no symptoms are present
There is no single test to screen for all STIs .To provide you with individualized STI screening, your clinician will ask about your concerns, sexual history, risks, and practices.
Together you can decide which tests are appropriate for your risks and exposure. We encourage you to honestly answer questions, even if it may feel uncomfortable or embarrassing. Your information is always kept confidential.
We also encourage open communication with your partner(s) about his/her risks so you can come to the appointment with a better understanding of your overall risks. Having this conversation might feel awkward, but it is important that you have it.
Can I transmit an infection to a partner if I don't have symptoms?
Yes. STIs can be transmitted even when symptoms are not present. Fortunately, tests are available to diagnose some STIs (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV) even if there are no symptoms.
There is no absolute way to prevent all STIs, but there are things you can do to reduce your chances of becoming infected.
- Get vaccinated for HPV (human papillomavirus). Gardasil vaccine is able to prevent the types of HPV that causes most cervical cancers as well as some cancers of the head and neck, penis, anus, vulva, and vagina. In addition it can protect against the HPV types that cause most genital warts. This vaccine is available at the Student Health Center to everyone but it is offered at no cost to students who have the school insurance
- Men who have sex with men are recommended to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A
- If you are sexually active, use latex or polyurethane condoms during any sexual contact
- Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STIs
- Practice mutual monogamy – agree to be sexually active with only one person who has agreed to be sexually active only with you
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutes provides back-up administration of epinephrine to students who have known anaphylactic reactions to certain food products and may occasionally forget to carry their personal epinephrine auto-injectors in four residential dining facilities (Commons, Russell Sage, BARH and Blitman). This also provides a layer of response for students who may have an allergic reaction for the first time to previously unknown food allergens. Additional information is found in our Residential Dining Hall Emergency Epinephrine Administration Policy
POLICY: Advanced Directives
To support a patient’s right to identify and/or designate a personal representative to act on their behalf with respect to health care decisions and uses and disclosures of personal health information by the Student Health Center (SHC) should they be incapacitated and unable to make decisions regarding their care and treatment.
The Student Health Center supports the rights of patients to make decisions regarding treatment or non-treatment and as such will accept formal documentation of advance directives. Examples of such documentations include:
- Health Care Surrogate Designation
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Living Will
- Anatomical Donation
- Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (DNR)
When the SHC is aware that an advance directive has been issued for a patient, a copy of the advanced directive(s) will be scanned into the patient’s electronic medical record and an alert will be placed in their electronic medical record.
Anatomical Donation, Living Will, and DNR documents will be filed at the SHC but not honored in our facility.
When a patient with an advance directive(s) is transferred to another healthcare facility, a copy of the advance directive(s) will be provided to the receiving facility.