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UTHSC College of Nursing, Southwest Tennessee Community College Open Health Center on Southwest’s Union Avenue Campus

Chancellor Peter Buckley, middle, UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, second from right, Dr. Shelley Miller, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, right, alongside representatives at Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC), cut the ribbon at the Health Education and Lifestyle Promotion Center (HELP), a free health resource center for STCC students, faculty, and staff.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) College of Nursing and Southwest Tennessee Community College (STCC) launched a free health resource center for STCC students, faculty, and staff at a ribbon-cutting Nov. 8. The Health Education and Lifestyle Promotion (HELP) Center is a collaboration of the UTHSC College of Nursing and STCC.

The HELP Center will allow the community college’s students, faculty, and staff to obtain physicals, referrals, and health care resources provided by a nurse practitioner on the faculty of the UTHSC College of Nursing one day per week. This is the first such collaboration between STCC and the UTHSC College of Nursing.

Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Affairs Diana Dedmon, DNP, FNP-BC, leads the UTHSC College of Nursing’s development of faculty practice opportunities. “Developing a student health education and lifestyle promotion center is an ongoing commitment to student well-being,” she said. “By providing the right resources and support, STCC and UTHSC can empower students to make healthier choices and lead more balanced lives, which, in turn, can contribute to academic success.” 

Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAAN, FAANP, dean of the UTHSC College of Nursing, said the university is honored to partner with STCC to provide these services. “We know health screenings are essential to detect symptoms of chronic diseases at their earliest stages in order to maximize health and well-being. This clinic will provide easy access for those at STCC to do just that.”

UTHSC Chancellor Peter Buckley, MD, noted that the clinic is nurse-led and said, “There is a saying that if you save one life, you are a hero. If you save 100 lives, you are a nurse.”

The HELP Center is funded by a $500,000 grant to STCC from the Centers for Disease Control’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases Program through the Tennessee Department of Health. Individuals will have access to educational materials and information about health promotion and disease prevention. Medication will not be prescribed, and referrals will be made if a particular service is needed. All the HELP Center’s services will be free and no insurance is needed.

“As health care providers, we realize that some individuals may not be insured and may not understand that affordable options exist to achieve optimal health,” said Sheila Bouie, EdD, STCC dean of the Health and Natural Sciences Division. “Many of our students lack access to affordable health care. The center will enable these students and others who are uninsured to receive care that focuses on preventive health care. Helping our students achieve their educational outcomes is paramount at STCC, and a healthier student is a better learner.”

Dr. Bouie said the center also will be a convenient way for students to get physicals for work, health programs, and sports opportunities. Nurse practitioners from UTHSC running the clinic will serve as role models for STCC students in the nursing program and other health careers programs.

Assistant Professor Shelley Miller, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, a nurse practitioner who is on the faculty at UTHSC, will serve as staff for the clinic. Dr. Miller earned her her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the UTHSC College of Nursing. She has practiced at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics, and Methodist Minor Medical Centers. Plans are underway to relocate the HELP Center to an expanded, permanent facility on STCC’s Union Avenue Campus in January 2024. Details about the HELP Center operations can be found at HELP Center.