Health Services

The Garrison-Foster Health Center provides quality health care, health education, preventative services, and opportunities for experiential learning to Colby students. We are advocates for the life-long health and wellness of our community.

Our medical practitioners offer a wide range of services to address medical concerns. You should feel comfortable talking about any issues you have with our staff—they are trained to handle these issues professionally and confidentially.

Our staff includes a physician, a physician’s assistant and two nurse practitioners. If you are sick or injured, an appointment can usually be scheduled within 24 hours.

The Garrison-Foster Health Center is the only college health center in Maine accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). To achieve accreditation, we must meet nationally recognized standards for outpatient health care. Achievement of this recognition further supports our commitment to quality health care for the Colby student community.

Quality health care depends on providers’ and patients’ knowledge about their rights and areas of accountability. To learn more, please read our Patient Bill of Rights and Patient Accountability.

Explore our services

The staff of Health Services is committed to keeping the Colby student body healthy. Our medical practitioners offer a wide range of services to address medical concerns. You should feel comfortable talking about any issues you have with our staff; they are trained to handle these issues professionally and confidentially. Appointments are required for all visits. If you are sick or injured an appointment can usually be scheduled within 24 hours.

Our highly trained staff includes a physician and three nurse practitioners and can provide the following general medical services:

  • Injury evaluation and treatment
  • Illness evaluation and treatment
  • Physical exams
  • OB/GYN exams
  • Respiratory condition treatment
  • STD testing
  • Travel health consultation
  • Sexual health consultation
  • Contraception
  • Referral for diagnostic testing

Alcohol and Substance Use

College brings many new experiences, some good, some not-so-good. Some students use alcohol or drugs and may occasionally find themselves in need of support to better understand the choices they or others are making. Colby’s Alcohol and Drug Counselor provides a confidential space to talk through experiences, resources and strategies for well-being. With this support, students can improve the likelihood of meeting their personal, academic and career goals.

If you would like to speak to the Alcohol and Drug Counselor, you can make an appointment either by calling the Health Center at 207-859-4460 or by emailing her directly at Katie.sawyer@colby.edu.

Hoping to gain a little more insight into your situation before making a call? This questionnaire can help you decide if it might help to talk to someone.

Substance Use Quiz

Never forget, drug and alcohol emergencies can be fatal. If your gut tells you someone is in danger, call CER at 207-859-5911.

Laboratory and Diagnostic

DonnaThe Garrison-Foster Health Center employs the services of a state-licensed and certified medical laboratory. Our lab offers a broad range of testing services, some of which can be performed in house. Many of our services come at no cost. Our staff are courteous and professional and will hold your information in the utmost confidence. All of our testing services are confidential, although some tests require further reporting to state and federal agencies. 

Upon referral from a practitioner, from Colby, or elsewhere, our lab staff can perform the following tests onsite:

  • Urinalysis
  • Hemoglobin/Hematocrit
  • Strep test
  • Monospot
  • Urine pregnancy test
  • ESR
  • Wet-Prep
  • HIV (oral fluid or blood)

Many tests are performed offsite, but our lab can collect the necessary samples, such as:

  • Chlamydia test (no cost)
  • Gonorrhea test (no cost)
  • Urine culture
  • Pap smear
  • Detailed blood test

Practitioners can order additional diagnostic tests, which are performed at MaineGeneral Hospital in Waterville. These tests include, but are not limited to:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound/CT scan
  • MRI
  • Bone density
  • EKG

For further information please call the Health Center at 207-859-4460. 

Mental Health Services

College life can be exciting and fast-paced. It can also be overwhelming, demanding and stressful.  Colleges across the country report an increase in the number of students in distress, and Colby’s community of high-achieving students is not immune to the pressures of 21st-century campus life.  Students are coming to health and counseling services with a number of serious issues such as: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts; learning disabilities; identity issues; sexual assault/ abuse; drug and alcohol abuse; obsessive-compulsive, post-traumatic stress, personality, sleep, and eating disorder issues; as well as relationship problems, social phobias and grief and loss issues. Social, emotional and psychological concerns can negatively affect a student’s academic performance as well as have a negative impact on the entire campus community.

By providing mental health services, we can help a student better adjust to college life, which improves the likelihood of meeting their personal, academic, and career goals. Garrison-Foster Health Center providers work collaboratively with Colby Counseling Center staff to provide comprehensive, psychological and psychiatric services for all students. All services are confidential unless the well-being of the student or the community is a concern.

Student Health On Campus (SHOC) peer educators, through the Colby Active Minds program, provide outreach and programs to educate the student body and reduce stigma around mental health issues.

The success of Colby’s collaborative community depends on maintaining the health of all of our individual community members and bolstering the connections that ensure we look out for one another and ourselves.

Garrison-Foster Health Center providers include a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and a consulting psychiatrist.

Appointments can be made by calling 207-859-4460.

Helpful Mental Health Links

Nursing Services

Nursing Services are available at Garrison-Foster Health Center Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 8pm. Nurses may refer students to a practitioner, mental health support services, or local hospital if necessary.

A nurse is available at the health center to:

  • evaluate illness (colds, sore throats, ear pain, urinary tract infections, yeast infections)
  • assess injury (head injury, sprains, strains, assault)
  • provide respiratory treatments
  • assess skin conditions and provide wound care
  • review immunization records and administer vaccinations
  • provide health education and answer questions
  • provide emergency contraception services
  • facilitate students with access to mental health care
  • Some lab testing is available on Saturday and Sunday. (Lab hours are Monday-Friday 8a-430p)

To make an appointment with nurses during the week or weekends, please schedule an appointment either on-line or call our reception at 207- 859-4460. Weekend walk-in appointments may be delayed if other students are already scheduled.

Nutrition

The staff at the Garrison-Foster Health Center realize the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Not only will proper nutrition and frequent exercise make your body feel better, but they will also help you perform better in your studies. Eating well can be difficult among the stresses of academic work, sports, activities, and an active social life, but a proper diet will help you to excel in all of these areas.

The Garrison-Foster Health Center employs a nutrition consultant who is a registered dietician (RD) to help students with any questions or issues they may have. If you wish to meet with our nutrition consultant, you must obtain a referral from a practitioner or counselor. The nutrition consultant is available in the health center on a part-time basis during the academic year.  To arrange for a referral, call the Health Center at 207-859-4460.

Eating Disorders

The staff at the Garrison-Foster Health Center take a team approach to eating disorders, utilizing a counselor, medical practitioner, and a registered dietitian. This is considered the most effective approach for recovery from eating disorders. Our eating disorder team has been trained by the Mainely Girls program so that they can best assist Colby’s students who have eating issues. While we do not offer a treatment center, our eating disorder team assists students to:

  • Identify personal eating issues
  • Set goals for healthy eating
  • Strategize to achieve these goals
  • Seek counseling to assist with coping skills
  • Seek further treatment
  • Continue in a recovery program with his or her primary care physician

Winslow Pharmacy provides medication delivery service to Colby College. Any prescription can be filled through Winslow Pharmacy, not just prescriptions ordered by the Garrison-Foster Health Center.

For delivery of monthly maintenance medications previously filled at another pharmacy, you can contact Winslow Pharmacy.They can have your prescription transferred and delivered to campus for your convenience.

Call Winslow Pharmacy at 207-872-7979 for more information, or visit their website.

Self-Care Services

SelfHelpMed

A variety of free, self-care medications are available in the health center entrance and in the Nelson Center athletic training room. We also offer free condoms and dental dams in the health center.

Flu kits can also be obtained free of charge in the health center. Before using any of these products, check all product warnings. The Colby Bookstore carries a variety of over-the-counter medications and first-aid supplies (Bookstore Medications).

Medications and Wound Care

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Cough drops
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Band aids

Contraceptives

  • Condoms
  • Dental dams
  • Latex-free condoms and dams are available from a nurse by request

Flu Kits

  • Soup
  • Gatorade
  • Crackers
  • Ibuprofen

Sexual and Reproductive Health

The Garrison-Foster Health Center offers respectful, inclusive, comprehensive visits including health promotion, preventative services, counseling, education and physical exams. All services are confidential. We offer routine evaluation and treatment for acute or chronic vaginal, anal, testicular or penile concerns, symptoms or trauma, genital warts, urinary tract infections or other genitourinary issues. In addition we provide:

  • Comprehensive annual physical exams for all students
  • Menstrual cycle disturbance management
  • Birth Control/Contraceptive management
  • Evaluation and support regarding unplanned pregnancy
  • Emergency Contraception
  • LGBQ health care
  • Transgender health care
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) screening, treatment and prevention of HIV testing and prevention
  • Sexual Assault support and care

Comprehensive Annual Physical Exams

We offer annual physical exams for all students including breast/chest exams, genital screening and gynecological exams, with PAP testing as needed.

Birth Control / Contraceptive Management

We provide consultation about various contraceptive methods including the barrier methods, pills, the Nuvaring (removable vaginal ring), IUDs (intrauterine devices), Nexplanon (the implanted birth control rod). While we don’t insert IUD or Nexplanon at the Health Center we can refer you to a local provider who does. We also provide free condoms and dental dams in our self-help area.

Emergency Contraception (EC)

This can be provided to students as a safe way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. EC is available whenever the Health Center is open by scheduling an appointment with our registered nurse.

LGBQ Healthcare

The Health Center welcomes and affirms students of all gender identities, expression and sexual orientation. Our medical staff has been trained in LGBQ health issues. Our approach to health and sexual health is inclusive. We welcome your visit!

Transgender Healthcare

The Health Center offers a range of services for transgender, non-binary and/or gender non-conforming students. Our staff are trained on transgender issues, and our forms and electronic medical records offer you the opportunity to self – identify gender identity and preferred pronouns. Our providers will work with you to offer care specific for transgender concerns. We can discuss options for care, including hormone treatment. We offer referrals to local specialists and community resources which also specialize in transgender health issues.

Gender Affirmation Hormone treatment: Our clinicians can initiate or continue prescribing ongoing hormone treatment for students. We will work with students to determine an individual plan of care based on their identified needs.

STI Testing/STD testing

The Health Center follows the CDC recommendations  for STD screening options.

We offer one free test each year for the following:

  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • HIV
Testing for other conditions can be ordered. The laboratory performing the test will charge you or your insurance company.

HIV Testing and Prevention

The Health Center offers free HIV testing once yearly to students. We also offer treatment options for post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and Pre-Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

About PEP: PEP is medication that should be taken as soon as possible AFTER a high-risk exposure to reduce the chance of acquiring HIV. It needs to be started within 72 hours of a possible exposure, and ideally within 24 hours. If you are concerned about a risky sexual exposure, come to the Health Center as soon as we open the next day. You can also schedule an online acute appointment.

About PrEP: PrEP is a medical treatment to protect you from HIV infection. PrEP is for people who are not HIV positive but are at high risk of infection. PrEP combines two medications in a single pill that is taken once a day for a period of months or years to prevent HIV. It is highly effective if taken very consistently.

Online Resources

The following links provide general information on a wide range of sexual health topics. These sites also provide additional information about sexually transmitted diseases and their symptoms.

Sports Medicine

Sports medicine at Colby provides quality health care, health education, preventative services, and opportunities for experiential learning to individuals of the Colby community. We support diversity, equity, and access to care and are advocates for the lifelong health and wellness of our community. To learn more, and go to the sports medicine website, click here.

Travel Health

Many students choose to participate in Colby College’s wonderful Off-Campus Study programs. Some Colby students choose to travel abroad on their own to pursue other interests. The Garrison-Foster Health Center provides information and services to prepare students for healthy and safe travel.

To schedule an appointment, call the Health Center at 207-859-4460. All appointments should be made 4-6 weeks prior to the due date of your paperwork. You should bring any vaccination records that you may have from previous travel to your consultation.

Services

  • Healthy and safe travel tips
  • Travel consults for country-specific needs
  • Prescriptions for travel-related medications
  • Immunization reviews
  • Vaccinations
  • Referrals to a yellow fever clinic

Contact Information, Hours and Appointments

Health Center appointments can be scheduled by phone, 207-859-4460, and press 1, or in person at the Garrison-Foster Health Center during office hours Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For your convenience, appointments for routine visits and acute care can be made on-line through the Student Health Portal at any time.

We are generally able to accommodate same-day visits for acute illnesses and injuries. It is best to call before 10 a.m. or check availability through the Student Health Portal if you would like a same-day appointment as they are typically available earlier in the day. Routine travel visits, physical exams, or gynecological appointments should be scheduled 1-2 weeks in advance.

Most of our visits take 30-60 minutes, check in to check out, so please allow yourself time when you are planning your visit. Whenever possible, we try and honor requests for specific providers.

Making an Appointment

Schedule an appointment by phone or in person during the office hours listed above. Appointments for many types of visits can be made online through your Student Health Portal. In the event you cannot find what you need through the portal, we encourage you to call or stop in to schedule a visit.

Cancelling and Rescheduling Appointments

Cancellations and reschedules can be made by phone or in person as indicated above. We respectfully request that you notify us 24 hours in advance, if at all possible. This allows those appointment times to be utilized by other students.

Referring a Student for an Appointment

While we are happy to assist concerned others (parents, faculty/staff, peers) with referring a student to the health center, we require students to contact us directly to schedule their own appointments.

Online Resource Library

    About the Library

    Feel free to browse our Online Resource Library, which is sorted by topic.

    This information is provided as a means to encourage participation in your health and well-being and is not intended to replace consultation with a licensed professional.

    Common Illnesses

    The Garrison-Foster Health Center offers a full range of diagnostic services. You may be refered to MaineGeneral Hospital for further testing.

    General Well-Being

    The staff at the Garrison-Foster Health Center can consult with you on any of these issues.

    Medications

    If you have questions regarding medication use and abuse please contact the Garrison-Foster Health Center to make an appointment with a counselor or practitioner.

    Mental Health

    Counseling services are available to all Colby students free of charge. All meetings are confidential.

    Nutrition

    Exercise and Nutrition for Athletes

    The Nutrition Counselor and the Sports Rehabilitation Department can consult with you about healthy eating and exercise.

    Nutrition and Weight Control

    Students can be reffered to the nutrition counselor by a practitioner or by a counselor.

    Sexual Health

    The following sites provide general information on a wide range of sexual health concerns. Remember: these sites are for informational purposes only. You should always contact a practitioner if you think you may have an STD. Testing at the Garrison-Foster Health Center is free and confidential.

    Substance Abuse

    There is an alcohol and drug counselor on staff at the Garrison-Foster Health Center.

    Contact Katie Sawyer, katie.sawyer@colby.edu