New testing lab highlights Student Health Services clinic upgrade

  • May 13, 2024
  • David Leder

Student Health Services (SHS) is now able to offer CWU students an improved level of service with the opening of a new high-complexity testing laboratory this spring.

The $250,000 project, facilitated by CWU Capital Planning and Projects, is a significant upgrade over the aging Student Medical Center, and gives lab technician Danny Nambo and his team twice the space to perform their work.

“The new lab space is a huge improvement for our staff, but it also allows us to provide a higher level of service to our students,” SHS Director Stefanie Parker said. “That’s the most important benefit of this project.”

The lab is also climate-controlled, allowing the technicians to maintain a consistent temperature.

Lab tech Danny Nambo looks through a microscope

“We had airflow issues with the old lab, especially in the summer,” Parker said. “When the temperature got above 80 degrees, the equipment would malfunction, which limited the services we could provide to our students. Now, we can keep the temperature at around 68 degrees, so we won’t have those types of interruptions.”

The SHS team unveiled the new testing lab to the campus community in late March with a ribbon-cutting event, attended by President Jim Wohlpart, Vice President of Student Engagement and Success Margaret Ortega, and others from across campus.

In addition to the state-of-the-art lab, the project — paid for by student fees — also funded a new blood-draw room and blood-draw chair. The room and adjacent restroom are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, while the reclining, padded chair is also a major improvement over the previous setup.

Lab tech Danny Nambo talks to President Jim Wohlpart in the new SHS lab.

“It’s a lot more relaxing environment for our patients,” Parker said. “Now, students who come in can just lay back and close their eyes while we take their blood.”

Parker explained that the process to upgrade the SHS facilities started a couple of years ago with a request to CWU Facilities Management. It eventually became a capital project request with the help of Capital Planning and Projects Director Delano Palmer.

“This upgrade was extremely necessary, and it has been for a number of years,” she said. “Fortunately, Delano was able to help us find the funding to pay for the new heating and air conditioning unit so we could have a climate-controlled lab.”

Parker added that SHS is always looking at ways it can serve CWU students better, whether it’s adding new staff or providing additional services.

Group photo of the SHS team

The clinic currently employs three family practitioners, one psychiatric ARNP (advanced nurse practitioner), and a registered dietitian, and Parker noted they also plan to bring on a fourth family practitioner in the fall. The team is also hoping to add more student-requested services, such as physical therapy, in the years to come.

“We want to offer our students as many services as possible because they deserve the best,” she said, adding that SHS provides 24-hour telehealth consultations through their virtual health care platform, TimelyCare. “The current health care system can’t support the demand for care, so our goal is to keep as many services on campus as we can.”

The SHS clinic is located at 901 E. 11th Ave., about two blocks from the SURC. Students who need to make an appointment may call 509-963-1881.

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David Leder

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