Student Health and Counseling

The Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) aims to provide quality physical and mental health care under one roof. Our health professionals recognize that good health is more than the absence of illness, but rather a robust state of well-being that acknowledges the importance of the mind-body relationship. Together we work with you to promote healthy lifestyle choices, encourage a holistic philosophy and balance to life for healthy living and academic success.

If you are a newly admitted student, please review very thoroughly the Student Health Requirements and Forms and Documents expandable sections below (especially the Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST) aka PPD requirements and CDC guidelines and definitions) to avoid any confusion and/or delays with being compliant, which could potentially impact your ability to register for classes and/or clinical placements process. 

Student Health Portal (SHP)

The Student Health Portal (SHP) manages the student's health requirement compliancy for Samuel Merritt University.  The system allows students to view their health requirements for their academic program.  If there is a discrepancy, the student should contact the Student Health and Counseling Center immediately. 

Student Health Portal instruction guide

Student Health Portal Login

Log in using your SMU username and password.  If you are a faculty member, check with your department chair for access.

Please be sure to check your messages in the Student Health Portal (SHP) to be updated with your missing health requirements. Student health messages will not be directly sent to your SMU email address and we will not send notifications or reminders to your personal email. 

Schedule an Appointment

We are currently open by appointments only with limited hours.

Students at the Oakland campus can make initial intake appointments by contacting the SHAC at 510.879.9288. We do not offer online appointment scheduling so please call if needed.

Medical Services

  • Acute outpatient health care

  • Women's Health: GYN and family planning

  • PPD skin tests for tuberculosis screening

    • We can also order IGRA blood tests for those that need TB testing billed through your insurance. You may also check with your Primary Care Provider or clinical settings or see if they will do a placement and reading. Students at the San Mateo Campus can now go to the Mills Employee Health Clinic for PPDs which are available for SMU students.
       

  • Immunizations

    • TDaP - $40
    • MMR - $80
    • HepB - $65
    • HepA - $80
    • Typhoid pills - $60
    • Varicella is not offered at SMU
       
  • Health and wellness consultation

  • Physical Exam ($50 - $150 dependent on student's insurance plan)

Primary Services Not Provided by Health Services

Illness or injury requiring hospitalization

  • Specialty services or referrals, e.g., gynecological, dental, dermatological, ophthalmologic, optometric, psychiatric, etc.
  • Special appliances such as braces, glasses, splints, etc.
  • Health care after termination of regular enrollment or when on leave of absence
  • Cost of prescribed medication 
  • Visits to the emergency department or the occupational health physician (unless covered by Worker’s Compensation)

Counseling Services

  • Individual Counseling
  • Couple's Counseling (*both individuals need to be SMU students)
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Mental Health Consultation
  • Outreach & Presentations
  • Mental Health Screenings
  • Local 12-Step Groups
  • Off-Campus Referrals
Covid-19 Update
  • We will take priority on student health services for students who need to begin their upcoming clinical rotations and that are currently not compliant with their immunizations.
  • Students will still be able to submit health documents and waivers and communicate with SHAC staff via phone and Student Health Portal regarding health compliance.
  • This is subject to change based on the latest COVID-19 updates from SMU alert.

Contact: SHAC phone number 510.879.9288. Or email dchai@samuelmerritt.edu regarding student health compliance. Also, please do not send personal health information (PHI) via email because it violates HIPAA laws. We will only accept submissions via the Student Health Portal.


All students are required to complete the Student Health Forms as soon as you have been accepted to the program, but no later than 30 days before your program start date in order to avoid a registration hold. All required health information and supporting documents must be uploaded and date(s) entered for all submissions in the Student Health Portal (SHP) or they will not be verified. Also, please make sure date(s) entered for either immunizations and/or collection dates for titers and IGRA blood tests match exactly with what is indicated on the documents that are being uploaded. Documents submitted by mail, email, fax, or hand-delivered will not be accepted and documents will not be returned. 

Health  Requirements
  • Student Health Record, Consent to Release Record, and Health History Forms (p. 3–7 of the Student Health Forms). Please enter date in the SHP in which pages 3 & 4 are signed and dated, not the date of when you are uploading.

  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis): Verification of Tdap vaccine within the last 10 years. Td will not satisfy this requirement unless you can provide documentation that you've previously already received a TDaP.

  • Hepatitis B: Three doses required. Dose one to dose two: minimum four weeks apart. Dose one to dose two: minimum eight weeks apart AND at least 16 weeks after first dose OR Positive Hepatitis B sAb Titer (surface antibody). Please do not submit both options. Either the series of doses or positive titers will suffice. If you are submitting a 2 dose vaccine, be sure to submit documentation that indicates that you have received the Heplisav-B for both doses. According to the CDC guidelines, when a titer is negative or equivocal, you need to repeat the entire series not just a booster.

  • MMR: Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, and Rubella:  2 doses required (no age exception due to our health science institution.)  Minimum four weeks apart between Dose 1 to Dose 2  OR Positive Rubeola IgG Titer, positive Rubella IgG Titer, and positive Mumps IgG Titer. Please do not submit both options. Either the 2 doses or positive titers for ALL 3 will suffice. According to the CDC guidelines, when a titer is negative or equivocal, you need to repeat the entire series not just a booster.

  • Varicella: Documentation of positive varicella titer or two doses of varicella vaccines received minimum 4 weeks apart, regardless of prior history of chickenpox. Please do not submit both options. Either the 2 doses or positive titers will suffice. According to the CDC guidelines, when a titer is negative or equivocal, you need to repeat the entire series not just a booster.

  • Flu Vaccine:  An annual flu vaccine or Declination Waiver signed by your clinical coordinator or program director prior to submitting into the SHP. Students who decline flu vaccine must wear a mask when they are in clinicals.

  • Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST) aka PPD: All newly admitted SMU students are required to receive either a negative 2-step TB skin test or Quantiferon TB Gold blood test (IGRA) upon being admitted to SMU, followed by a 1-step TB skin test (or a Quantiferon) annually until graduation. The PPD skin test will expire each year on the date of your second PPD reading of your 2-step PPD. If you have a history of positive PPD, you will need to complete the Tuberculosis Screening Survey annually. Routine chest x-rays are not required unless the TB survey shows evidence of TB. If you are switching from the Quantiferon TB Gold blood test (IGRA) to the TB skin test, you will need to complete a 2-step TB skin test, followed by a 1-step TB skin test annually until graduation.

When entering your PPD/Quantiferon date(s), please make sure you are selecting the correct options. If you are submitting a 2-step PPD, then select "1st of 2-step" and "2nd of 2-step." If you are submitting your annual 1-step PPD, then select "Annual PPD." If you are submitting a quantiferon, then select "IGRA (Quantiferon or T-SPOT)." 

  • 2-step PPD must be done within 6 months before your program start day. 2-step as defined by the CDC: 1st-step test placed and read within 48-72 hours. 2nd-step test placed at least one week after first placement, but no longer than three weeks, and read within 48-72 hours. Subsequently a 1-step PPD will need to be completed annually until graduation. 

OR

  • A negative Quantiferon TB Gold blood test (IGRA) must be done within six months before program start day and can be submitted annually in lieu of the PPD skin test.

Individuals with a history of Positive TST (PPD) will need to submit:

  • A negative chest x-ray (within 12 months before the program start date; CXR report is required and will only need to be submitted once when you begin your program, not annually.)

AND

  • Completed Annual Tuberculosis Screening Survey. Must include Date of last positive PPD and please include the month/day/year (or we will not verify) when entering date in the SHP. When submitting the survey annually until graduation, you will only need to enter the Date Completed at the bottom of the form. We do not need the dates for history of positive TB and chest x-ray each year in the SHP.  Depending on the date of conversion, evidence of latent tuberculosis treatment may be required.  
Additional Requirements

There may be additional requirements from your academic program or clinical placement, please check with your clinical coordinator. BSN, ELMSN PL, and ABSN students will need to complete a physical exam for clinical requirement. Please upload your completed form to the Student Health Portal. 

Vision tests are not required for SMU, but may be required for specific clinical sites. Our clinical coordination team will let you know if you need to take one prior to attending a particular site.

Health Insurance

Mandatory Student Health Insurance Enrollment must be completed online.  All SMU students are required to have acceptable medical health insurance coverage in effect by their program’s first day of orientation. Please note that the SHAC does not handle health insurance and it is managed by HSA Consulting. For more information, please visit the insurance website or you can contact Dee Witte directly at 888-978-8355 or via email at dee@hsac.com.

Compliance 

Students who do not comply with the above immunization policy will be prohibited from clinical experience and class attendance until they are in compliance. Registration for succeeding terms may be held until students provide the above documentation.

All required health information and supporting documents must be uploaded and date(s) entered for every submission (including student health forms pages 3-7) in the Student Health Portal (SHP) or they will not be verified. Please make sure date(s) entered match exactly with what is indicated on the documents that are being uploaded.

It is not required, however strongly recommended that if you are submitting the Immunization History form (page 9 of the Student Health Forms) once it has been signed, dated and stamped by your provider, you only need to submit that page once using the Student Health Form and Health History Upload option. We do not need additional documentation of your health records or pages that are irrelevant to your health requirements if you are using this form. Make sure your provider includes the Date signed at the bottom of the form after any or all immunizations have been verified or else we will not accept them. Using only our form will simply make submissions and verifying much easier and faster for both you and us.

Please do not upload multiple pages under any random or incorrect upload option and be sure to use the corresponding upload option when you are submitting individual pages for your immunization records. Doing so only makes things confusing and more challenging for us when verifying your submissions. If you have all of your immunization records on a single file from your PCP or a health care clinic, please omit any additional information or pages (screenshots are acceptable as long as they are legible and include all necessary info) that is not required and upload it only once and not multiple times for each option. We will not vet any uploads that are more than 5-6 pages long.

Student Health Services Forms

If you are having any technical issues uploading your documents, please try switching browsers first. If that still does not work, we then ask that you try uploading using your mobile device's browser.

 

Counseling services are available for all SMU students, faculty, and staff during our COVID-19 campus closure. 

Students

  • SHAC psychologists are available to conduct Telehealth video or audio sessions. Students MUST be physically located in the state of California to receive these services. You will need a computer or mobile phone for this option. You can schedule a TeleHealth counseling appointment by calling SHAC 510.879.9288.
  • SMU contracts with Sutter Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide students up to 10 counseling sessions per calendar year with a licensed mental health counselor free of charge. Sutter EAP will conduct TeleHealth sessions. Schedule an appointment through Sutter EAP by calling 800.477.2258. When calling, identify yourself as an SMU student and a Sutter EAP intake specialist will help you to find a licensed mental health provider in your community.
  • SMU students should also all have private health insurance and most plans cover mental health services. You can contact your individual insurance providers to learn more.

Faculty and Staff

  • The Sutter Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides staff and faculty with mental health counseling services. Call 800.477.2258.
  • Staff and faculty can also utilize their private health insurance. Contact your individual insurance providers to learn more

Additional Resources

Health Services

Maintaining good physical health is an essential part of education and the SMU Health and Counseling Center staff are committed to partnering with students to make informed choices and provide a holistic approach to student health, education, wellness, and outreach services on a confidential, inclusive, and respectful environment.

Students at the Sacramento campus can access Health Services through the Sutter @ Work program. SMU is contracted with clinics in the Sacramento area for free annual PPD updates. Physical exams and vaccinations are charged a fee and the student is responsible for those fees. A list of Sutter @ work clinics in the Sacramento area can be found here:


NOTE: You must have a treatment authorization form signed by the student services coordinator, campus operations manager, or the managing director before you go to an appointment.

Students can utilize the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for counseling which will connect you with a provider  in the community . Through EAP students will also receive up to 10 sessions per calendar year, free of charge. Please contact (800) 477-2258 to learn more about Sutter EAP

 

Health Services
Maintaining good physical health is an essential part of education and the SMU Health and Counseling Center staff are committed to partnering with students to make informed choices and provide a holistic approach to student health, education, wellness, and outreach services on a confidential, inclusive, and respectful environment.

  • Students can access the online Student Health Record System anytime to check their health record compliance status

  • Students can utilize the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for counseling which will connect you with a provider  in the community . Through EAP students will also receive up to 10 sessions per calendar year, free of charge. Please contact (800) 477-2258 to learn more about Sutter EAP

Nurse Practitioner’s Office Visits:
Please call the front desk at 510.879.9288 to learn more about our services and to schedule appointments.  

A list of Local SF Bay Area Urgent Care Clinics can be found here:

NOTE: Always check first with your health insurance benefits to be sure your visit will be covered.

Health Services
Maintaining good physical health is an essential part of education and the SMU Health and Counseling Center staff are committed to partnering with students to make informed choices and provide a holistic approach to student health, education, wellness, and outreach services on a confidential, inclusive, and respectful environment.

  • Students can access the online Student Health Record System anytime to check their health record compliance status

  • Students can utilize the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for counseling which will connect you with a provider  in the community . Through EAP students will also receive up to 10 sessions per calendar year, free of charge. Please contact (800) 477-2258 to learn more about Sutter EAP

Questions regarding health insurance please contact HSAC at 888-978-8355 or dee@hsac.com for assistance.

 All insurance forms can now be completed and submitted online here.

Academic mastery, social relationships, and participation in the University community can provide fulfilling experiences that contribute to personal and professional growth and wellness. However, at times these positive experiences can be interspersed with feelings of distress and self-doubt when students are confronted with the many demanding pressures in your lives, both academic and personal.

If you believe that there is room for improvement in your personal effectiveness and resilience in some areas of your life, a psychological consultation may help you work toward such improvements. You may notice that you have certain patterns of thinking and behavior that interfere with your success with and the enjoyment of certain endeavors. If so, you should consider making an appointment. The counseling staff at the SHAC understand these challenges and are here to support your growth and development, help you restore balance, build strength, gain emotional resiliency and increase your personal well-being.

Unsure if you might need counseling?
Take this online Mental Health Screening and see if speaking with a counselor might be beneficial for you. Also see Counseling FAQs

The Scope of Our Services
Staff members at the SHAC utilize a short-term model of therapy for individual and couple sessions in order to use its resources most effectively and assist students in addressing issues common in a college setting. Short-term personal psychotherapy is available at no charge to currently enrolled students, up to 10 sessions per calendar year.

The SHAC invites students to schedule an initial intake appointment with a staff therapist. During this initial intake, the therapist will assist students in obtaining the appropriate services to address the concerns by recommending services on and off campus. Student concerns that can be addressed within a brief model of therapy are usually referred to the SHAC while more comprehensive concerns or medication issues requiring longer-term therapy are best addressed in the community.

Some of the issues that are commonly addressed in short-term counseling at the SHAC include:

  • Personal Issues: Stress and anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, guilt, self-esteem, grief and loss
  • Relationship Issues: Romantic relationship difficulties, sexual concerns, roommate conflicts, difficulties with co-workers, issues with family or friends
  • Developmental Issues: Identity development, adjustment to college, life transitions, cultural concerns
  • Academic Concerns: Performance anxiety, perfectionism, underachievement,  motivation
  • Other Issues: Spiritual concerns, body image/food preoccupation, healthy lifestyle choices, alcohol and drug use concerns, sexual assault

Scheduling an Appointment:
Students at the OAKLAND campus can make initial intake appointments by contacting the SHAC at (510) 879-9288.  

Students at the SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA and SACRAMENTO campuses, as well as students in our ONLINE programs can access mental health services either on the Oakland campus or through the Sutter Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which will connect you with a provider in the community. Through EAP students will also receive up to 10 sessions per calendar year, free of charge. Please contact (800) 477-2258 to learn more about Sutter EAP.

Faculty and Staff
Counseling staff are available to provide faculty and staff with a variety of services including consultations about students you may be concerned about, classroom presentations and other mental health outreach needs.  The counseling staff are not able to see Staff and Faculty members for personal counseling services. Staff and Faculty can obtain personal counseling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as part of their employee benefits or directly through their private health insurance benefits.

Service Limitations
Students whose mental health needs cannot be accommodated within short-term counseling, or who require a particular type of expertise, need to meet with a clinician more than once a week, or are in need of a psychotropic medication, are referred to community resources. Students may be referred out to the community after the initial intake or during the course of treatment at the SHAC as factors become apparent during or after the intake assessment.

Some of the issues that are commonly and more appropriately addressed by services in the community include:

  • Need to see a therapist more than once a week; for more than 10 counseling sessions in longer-term therapy, and/or require comprehensive services due to:
  • History of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Chronic suicidality and/or self-injury behaviors; history of suicide attempts
  • Indication that short-term therapy may be detrimental or non-beneficial
  • Evidence or risk of progressive deterioration in mental or emotional functioning, requiring intensive intervention
  • Manifestations of psychotic symptoms without willingness to remain on medication for stabilization of symptoms
  • Inability or unwillingness to provide the necessary information to thoroughly assess symptoms.
  • Students who need specialized services not available through the SHAC as indicated by:
    • Significant drug and/or alcohol problems such as substance dependence, primary substance abuse, and/or past failed treatments
    • Significant or long-standing eating disorder with no period of remission, no previous treatment, or that may pose a medical danger
    • Request for psychological evaluation for the purpose of employment clearance or other nonacademic needs
    • Services to fulfill students’ court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements.

Please note, SHAC clinical staff members are unable to provide documentation for emotional support animals.

The Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) is generally open Monday through Friday between 9:00 and 5:00pm. The Center is closed on weekends, holidays and during University breaks.

SHAC staff members do not provide after-hours crisis intervention. If you experience a mental health crisis or emergency when the SHAC is closed, you may choose from the following options:

  1. Call 911
  2. Go to your nearest hospital emergency room
  3. Call the National 24-hour crisis support hotline at 1-800-273-8255 for assistance

In any of these situations, you are encouraged to also call the Student Health and Counseling Center at (510) 879-9288 as soon as possible to alert the counseling staff that you are in need of help.

The Samuel Merritt University Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC) values and protects the privacy of all students.  Counseling often involves the discussion of sensitive personal information. It is important that you feel safe in your discussions with a SHAC clinician, and that you understand that your privacy is respected and protected, consistent with the parameters of CA state and federal laws.  Providing confidential services means that Counseling Center staff members do not release your information outside the SHAC without your verbal and/or written permission. Counseling records are maintained separately from any other records of the University.

There are some exceptions to confidentiality as allowed by law in the following situations:

  • Child and/or Elder Abuse: If a counselor or other qualified individual has reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 or a dependent adult is being abused or neglected, s/he is legally required to report the situation to the appropriate state agency.
  • Imminent Harm to Self: If a counselor or other qualified individual has reason to believe that you are in danger of physically harming yourself, and if you are unwilling or unable to follow specific counseling recommendations, s/he may have to make an involuntary referral to a hospital and/or contact a family member or other person who may be able to help you protect you. Appropriate University officials, medical, or law enforcement personnel will be notified to ensure the safety of the student and the community.
  • Imminent Harm to Others: If a counselor or other qualified individual has reason to believe that you are seriously threatening physical violence against another person, or if you have a history of violent behavior, s/he may be required to take some action to insure the safety of the other person.
  • Legal Demands: If legal demands to release information are made (e.g. court orders, subpoenas), or your emotional condition being used as a claim or defense in a legal situation.
  • Minors: Minor students under the age of 18 who voluntarily seek treatment in their best interests are generally afforded the same confidentiality protection as an adult student, but there are some limitations which a clinician will be happy to discuss with you. These limitations should not keep you from seeking help. Call and consult with a SHAC clinician about your confidentiality concerns.

In any of the above instances, SHAC professional staff will make every attempt to inform you before any confidential information is released. If the disclosure of information does become necessary, we will only release the minimum information needed to protect you or others.

Information regarding students is routinely shared internally among Counseling Center staff, primarily for case consultation and therapist supervision.  Clinicians may obtain necessary and confidential consultation or supervision with other mental health professionals to ensure the quality of your care. The Counseling Center may exchange information regarding your treatment with other health care professionals within the SHAC for the purposes of coordinating care without your written consent, as specified by law.

Student counseling information may be used in aggregate form for some purposes such as maintaining accurate statistics and conducting research.  In these instances, any information uniquely identifying an individual is removed.