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.

Student Health Portal

The Student Health Portal 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 Login

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

Schedule an Appointment
Students at the Oakland campus can make initial intake appointments by contacting the SHAC at 510.879.9288.  

Medical Services

  • Acute outpatient health care

  • Women's Health: GYN and family planning

  • PPD skin tests for tuberculosis screening

    • Due to nationwide APLISOL® shortage affecting Tubersol ® demand and supply, the SHAC is unable to provide any PPD appointments until further notice. In the meantime, we will order IGRA blood tests for those that need TB testing billed through your insurance. You can 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. Currently, they still have PPDs available for SMU students.

  • Immunizations (fee applies) 

  • Health and wellness consultation

  • Physical Exam (fee applies) 

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

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.

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 entered on the Student Health Portal (SHP). Documents submitted by mail, email, fax, or hand-delivered will NOT be accepted and documents will not be returned. 

Health  Requirements

  1. Flu Vaccine:  An annual flu vaccine. Students who decline flu vaccine must wear a mask when they are in clinicals.

  2. Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis): Verification of Tdap vaccine within the last 10 years. Td will not satisfy this requirement.

  3. 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) 

  4. 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 

  5. Varicella: Documentation of positive varicella titer or two doses of varicella vaccines received minimum 4 weeks apart, regardless of prior history of chicken pox. 

  6. Student Health Record, Consent to Release Record, and Health History Forms (p. 3–7 of the Student Health Forms

  7. Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST) aka PPD: 

    • Negative Two-step PPD:  Must be done within 6 months before your program start day. Two-step as defined by CDC: 1st test placed and read within 48-72 hours. Second test placed at least one week after first placement, but no longer than three weeks, and read within 48-72 hours  OR

    • A negative Quantiferon TB Gold blood test (IGRA) (Must be done within six months before program start day)  OR

    • Individual with a history of Positive TST (PPD):

    • A negative chest x-ray (within 12 months before the program start date; CXR report is required.)  AND

    • Completed Annual Tuberculosis Screening Survey. Depending on the date of conversion, evidence of latent tuberculosis treatment may be required. 

All SMU students are required to receive a TB skin test or Quantiferon TB Gold blood test (IGRA) annually until graduation. The PPD skin test will expire each year on the date of your second PPD reading of your two-step PPD. If you have a history of positive PPD, you will need to complete the TB 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 two-step TB skin test. 

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. 

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. For more information, please visit the insurance website.


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.

Student Health Services Forms:



Questions regarding health insurance please contact HSAC at 888-978-8355 or 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 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.

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.