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Project Title:Academic Vital Signs Program: Turning Health Center Medical Visits into Referral Opportunities for At-Risk StudentsInstitution Name:Metropolitan State College of Denver Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Steve Monaco, Director, Health Center Contact Information:(303) 884-3200, monacos@mscd.eduWebsite:http://www.mscd.edu
Project Description:The Academic Vital Signs program, created and funded by the Metro State Health Center, is designed to assist in student retention by having medical providers identify at-risk students during their medical visits to the Health Center. It subsequently connects them with the Health Center’s Referral Coordinator who directly interviews each student and coordinates setting up the appropriate referral appointments, many of which are academically related and others of which are connected to various support services. Follow-up is conducted by the Health Center’s Referral Coordinator to ensure that students received the assistance they originally needed and to address any additional referrals that may be appropriate.
  • Identify students at risk academically for whatever reason.
  • Refer at-risk students to the appropriate campus agency for intervention.
  • Follow up with at-risk students to ensure they are receiving the assistance they need.
  • Track and report on students referred as part of this initiative.

Each of the above objectives is evaluated based on the number of students the Health Center actually refers for assistance. The success of this initiative is determined simply by the number of referrals made annually, not by the success of the interventions, which the Health Center has no control over.

  • Over 250 student referrals are made annually by the Health Center medical personnel.
  • Students assisted through this initiative have consistently expressed satisfaction and appreciation of the intervention and referral.
  • Health Center medical personnel have become much more familiar with the academic resources on campus and this collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Services has been positively supported.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:
  • Intrusiveness
  • Determined the process needed to be intrusive and purposeful since to do otherwise was to lose students who might otherwise (with the appropriate assistance) be successful in college.
  • Required vs. suggested
  • Determined that this initiative needed to be required for all medical providers if the program was going to be successful and have the greatest retention impact.
  • Provider concerns
  • Priorities
  • Time
  • Student Acceptance
  • Addressed each of these by streamlining the questions medical providers asked of students at the onset of each of their clinical visits. Additionally, trained medical providers on how to approach this discussion with students and advertised extensively so that students were aware of this new initiative.
  • Measurement of success
  • Determined that the total number of referrals was the basis for determining the program’s success, since simply getting students to the correct campus resources was often identified as a major issue on campus.
Evaluation Approach:Evaluation is based on the total number of students referred as part of this new initiative. The Director of the Health Center is responsible for assessment, training and program requirements for Health Center personnel.
Potential for Replication:The beauty of this initiative is that it is very easy to replicate. During our presentation at the American College Health Association several years ago on this topic, we provided those attending our session all of the marketing materials that had been developed and simply encouraged them to change the names and departments to whatever applied to their particular college or university. The key factor to this program’s success is buy-in by the Health Center’s administration and subsequent leadership to ensure medical provider buy-in.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Stephen M. Jordan , Presidentsmjordan@mscd.edu
(303) 556-3022
Date Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011