Last year nearly 5,000 students at four two-year colleges completed a college student health survey, identifying trends when compared to data from previous health surveys in 2011 and 2009. The 2013 survey results indicated the number of uninsured students at MCTC has dropped from 28.3 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2013. This is likely due in part to outreach efforts by the state-funded insurance initiative MNsure combined with recent health and wellness opportunities for MCTC students.
In 2012, MCTC opened its student-centered health clinic on campus. Boynton Health Service provides quality healthcare services—including treatment for illnesses and injuries, lab and x-ray testing, routine medical exams and mental health services—by medical professionals on campus to all enrolled MCTC students. “I often hear patients say it is so convenient to get their care right here on campus, between their classes,” said Jenny Swanson, Boynton Health Service clinic manager. “Our primary care providers also host monthly health talks in the common spaces on campus in order to reach out to the greater MCTC population on a variety of health topics.” Insurance is not required by students who use Boynton, and students without insurance are not turned away.
The College has also invested in fitness programs, intramural activities, a fitness center and motivational exercise programs for students. More than 800 students utilized the MCTC weight room and gym facilities during the 2013–2014 academic year. “Our numbers have increased every semester since we started,” said Drew Rongere, campus recreation and wellness coordinator. “Even during finals week we had people in the weight room and the gym. Some students love working out now that they see what they can do.” In the 2013 college student health survey, more than half (54.7 percent) of MCTC students report engaging in moderate to high physical activity levels.
“What’s even better than the physical accomplishments is the connections and friendships students make,” said Drew. “It’s good for their mental health as well as their physical health.” Drew is working with MCTC’s diversity director Dr. Whitney Harris to address mental and physical health disparities among students.
The 2013 health survey also revealed telling data about the physical, mental and sexual health of the MCTC student body. The survey showed 22.7 percent of students reported the death of someone close to them as being a major mental health stress, up from 20.3 percent in 2011. The survey also showed that students are using the new Boynton facilities to seek testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections as well as for routine physical checkups, immunizations and treatment of minor injuries.
Both Boynton and the campus fitness center will be open during the 2014 summer session.