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Health & Counseling

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Ebola Update

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and cases of the virus in the U.S., continue to make headlines and spark concerns.

Grinnell College's Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) is monitoring the situation and is working closely with city, county, and state health officials. While the risk of an Ebola case in Grinnell or on campus remains low, staff at SHACS are closely monitoring the situation with daily updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.

SHACS has important information that could affect travelers to and from West Africa. The CDC has issued a travel warning and is discouraging travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Ebola outbreaks have been contained in nearby Nigeria, and the risk of exposure is considered low, but health officials urge caution when traveling to the region.

Many of the initial symptoms of Ebola resemble the flu, which is common this time of year. If you haven't received a flu vaccine they are available at your local physician's offices, public health department, and your local pharmacies. SHACS has distributed all their available flu vaccine.

If you have traveled from West Africa or been in contact with a known Ebola case within the U.S. and have traveled to Grinnell within 21 days of exhibiting symptoms such as a high fever (101.5F or 38.6C), headaches, body aches, weakness, diarrhea, red eyes, rash, cough, or bleeding, CALL SHACS immediately at 641-269-3230 or Grinnell Regional Medical Center Emergency Room at  641-236-2380 and report your symptoms and travel history. DO NOT COME TO SHACS OR GO TO ANY CLINIC OR HOSPITAL. You will be advised where to go and next steps to take when you call the number above.

The College has emergency plans in place. We will continue to provide the community with updates on this evolving topic.

Deb Shill, Registered Nurse
Director of SHACS Operations
Grinnell College Student Health and Counseling Services
641-269-4988 (Fax)

Email and Voice Mail

Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) is dedicated to providing Grinnell College students with the highest quality of care and to protecting the privacy of student information. For these reasons, we prefer not to use email to communicate with our clients. We use email only to respond to general, non-medical/clinical questions and to send appointment reminders.  If you need to speak with your counselor or nurse, call during business hours. If he/she/zi is unavailable, leave a message with our receptionist.

Be Well at Grinnell

If you take good care of your mind and body, your mind and body will take great care of you!  This does not have to involve a lot of time or energy on your part.  Taking good care of yourself really just means identifying the personal balance you need among work, sleep, play, physical activity, social time, and quiet time – and making it a priority to maintain that balance.

It can be easy at Grinnell to live in an unbalanced way.  However, there are all sorts of practices you can add to your day which will help you feel and function well.  Some basics include:


Your care at Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) will be confidential.  We will neither acknowledge to others that you are a client here nor discuss your treatment here without your permission. There are some limits to confidentiality, but they occur only in extreme situations.  Your nurse or counselor will discuss the limits to confidentiality with you during your first nursing or counseling appointment, respectively.  You, of course, are free to discuss your care at SHACS with others.

Services After Hours

When Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) is closed, health and mental health consultation and assistance are still available to you.

Emergency Assistance

Call Campus Safety and Security at 641-269-4600.  Depending on the urgency of your situation, the Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) on call may phone or visit you, or Campus Safety and Security may arrive with emergency responders.

Urgent Care

Health and Mental Health Consultation

Health Insurance

All students are required to have health insurance while attending Grinnell.  You may maintain coverage through your existing parental or personal policy, or you may choose to purchase the College’s student group insurance.

Students will not be charged and will not need health insurance for most services provided by Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS).  Modest fees are charged for immunizations, HIV testing, and Plan B.  However, your health insurance may be necessary, or helpful, if you receive health or mental health services off campus.

Rights and Responsibilities

1.  You have the right to receive consultation and treatment in a timely fashion which is commensurate with your symptoms. 

Your corresponding responsibility is to be proactive about contacting Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) when you start to feel badly, rather than waiting until your need is urgent.  You are also responsible for either attending or cancelling your scheduled appointments here.  

SHACS Online

SHACS Online is an electronic record system which allows you to manage your health forms and some of your appointments at SHACS.  It also automatically generates email reminders of your upcoming appointments at SHACS.

Please visit SHACS Online to:

Off-Campus Resources

Following are contact numbers for providers of primary health and mental health care and services in Grinnell. This list does not constitute recommendation or endorsement of any of these providers. For information about specialists, dental care providers, and providers and services in other central Iowa locations, please contact Student Health and Counseling Services at 641-269-3230.

For coverage information you may access Consolidated Health Plans.

SHACS Services

SHACS offers integrated health and counseling services.  Our nurses and therapists work closely together to offer you care appropriate for your needs.

Health Services

Our health services include:

•   Nursing assessments and treatment of minor illnesses and injuries

•   Dispensation of over-the-counter medications

•   Testing for pregnancy, HIV, mononucleosis, Strep A, hemoglobin, glucose, and urinalysisfs

•   Dispensation of Plan B (at-cost fee)