Since 1990, the Health and Wellness Center at IU South Bend has been serving students, faculty, staff and the community. Dr. Teresa Dobrzykowski (left), a Certified Nurse Practitioner, serves as the clinic’s Director of Care Provision, and teaches for the School of Nursing. Kari Frame (right) is the clinic’s Operations Director and is IU South Bend’s spokesperson for Healthy IU, the campaign for employee wellness. Community engagement is at the heart of the clinic. Teresa explained that “the original intent of this Health and Wellness center was to be a nurse-managed clinic providing care to the community, however community is defined.” And the clinic has done just that, with some help from community partners.
In 2010, the Health and Wellness Center created a partnership with AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist. This partnership originally began with AIDS Ministries staff visiting the clinic once a month and then twice a month to provide HIV screenings to patients. After years of this system, the clinic ventured out and asked, “why can’t we do HIV screenings ourselves?” In 2017, Kari and Teresa were trained by the state to provide HIV screenings to patients at the clinic. Although they now do the testing themselves, there is still a partnership between the clinic and AIDS Ministries. “We get test materials and education materials from them,” Teresa explained. “They give us supplies like free condoms, which we are actually trying to get in all bathrooms on campus just like the women’s products in the bathrooms,” Kari continued. This original collaboration spawned a new one that went beyond AIDS Ministries to the St. Joseph County Department of Health. The clinic has been providing STI screenings and treatment for the community since 2015, when the St. Joseph County Health Department stopped doing them.
Since HIV and STI testing is not all that the clinic does, it helps to reduce the stigma and anxiety of being tested and treated for such diseases and infections that comes with visiting clinics where that is all that they do. In addition to these services, the Health and Wellness Center also offers family planning and birth control, immunizations, physical exams, CPR training, and many other services. Due to their other community partnerships with companies like LabCorp, AmeriCares, and HealthLinc, the clinic is able to offer these services at a reduced price, and sometimes for free. Their partnership with AmeriCares has allowed them to provide students with free medication and other things such as reading glasses, hygiene products, Visine, sunscreen and more. The clinic does keep these products in house, but much of what they receive from AmeriCares is donated to Titans Feeding Titans, the food pantry on campus.
Teresa and Kari define their community engagement as “meeting individuals where they are at, both physically and emotionally. Being engaged in the community is a way of giving back, and to provide care is to really be a part of the community.” Kari continued, “It’s about having the community feel safe to come here and not feel judgement no matter their reason for coming.” They do their best as a team to ensure that every patient feels cared for, listened to, and respected. The Health and Wellness Center can be found at 1960 Northside Blvd., South Bend, IN. You can call 574-520-5557 for appointments, pricing information, or other questions.