The Hammond Health Center is Here for Ithaca College Students

By Ellyn Sellers-Selin, March 5, 2021
A message from Ellyn Sellers-Selin, M.D., medical director for the Center for Counseling, Health and Wellness.

IC Public Health Column video.

Leaving home to attend college can bring about incredible personal growth and learning. However, health concerns can be challenging and stressful and can also lead to poor academic performance. The pandemic has added an extra layer of worry for students about their health. The Hammond Health Center strives to be a welcoming place of caring, healing and education for our students. We aim to help students feel well so they can truly enjoy their Ithaca College experience.  

The Hammond Health Center is an integrated component of the Center for Counseling, Health and Wellness. We work in close collaboration with the counselors at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the specialists in the Center for Health Promotion.

Our Health Center staff includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses. We are fortunate to have a sports medicine physician as a valuable resource for both our student athletes and non-athletes alike. We also have a fully accredited laboratory and x-ray available.  

Treating COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, the health center is continually assessing the needs of our students. We have made many changes to our daily operations to better care for students during this challenging time. In order to maximize safety measures during the pandemic, the college has invested in structural changes to the Hammond Health Center building. This includes enhanced air purification systems in many of our clinic rooms. The systems offer negative pressure, which lowers the air pressure and allows air to flow into the clinic rooms. This prevents contaminated air from escaping out into the rest of the clinic. 

Students who indicate on their daily health survey that they are feeling sick or symptomatic should not interact with the campus community. Instead, it is important that they contact the Health Center immediately for further instructions. Their badge status color will change from green to red. If students' symptoms indicate possible COVID-19 infection, the Health Center staff is prepared to evaluate them during an in-person appointment.  

The college has invested in a new laboratory instrument, Cepheid, for students who are symptomatic and require COVID-19 testing. This tool tests for SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and Influenza B. This is a limited use test for symptomatic students only, and it has a quick turnaround time. Students who are positive for COVID-19 during Cepheid testing will be instructed on appropriate isolation.  

Finally, one of our nurse practitioners, Jennifer Metzgar, is our primary contact tracer and liaison with the Tompkins County Health Department for students that are a positive case and their close contacts. Contact tracing, where a positive case voluntarily identifies people they may have been around at less than 6 feet of distance for more than 10 cumulative minutes in the past 24 hours, is an incredibly important tool for us to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in our community. Students can help support our common goal of maintaining our operational status this spring by participating openly and truthfully in that process.   

Other Health Concerns

In addition to COVID-19 evaluations, we continue to offer primary care for acute illness such as sore throats, sinus infections, bronchitis, and asthma exacerbation. We also see students with complaints of abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal illness, skin conditions, musculoskeletal issues, injuries, and urinary tract infections. Both in-person and telehealth appointments are available. 

We offer medical care for our students with chronic medical conditions who need ongoing support. We work in close collaboration with specialists for our patients, both locally and at home. Our staff can refer patients to specialists as needed.  

The Hammond Health Center: 

  • Offers contraceptive counseling and management, gynecological care, and also screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. 

  • Offers allergy injections, prescription medication injections, and immunizations.  

  • Provides an on-site dispensary for basic prescription and over-the-counter medications. We also partner with Wegmans Pharmacy for prescription delivery, Monday through Friday, for our on-campus students. 

  • Provides mental health evaluations for medical assessment and management. In the past, our evaluations were performed with the thoughtful care of our psychiatrist and primary care clinicians. Moving forward, we are thrilled to have additional assistance from our own psychiatric nurse practitioner who will start seeing patients next week.   

  • Offers all that is needed for clinical affiliations including a physical exam, tuberculosis screening, vaccinations, and lab work, which is often required for students who are preparing for their clinical affiliations. 

A unique appointment offering for students is the travel medicine appointment, during which we discuss education and preparation to maximize health while traveling. This includes most required travel vaccines. Obviously, the pandemic has made travel much more difficult and infrequent. Looking to the future, we hope to have more students studying abroad and planning incredible trips. The Health Center will be here for our students as they plan for travel again. 

At the Health Center, we strive to provide respectful and professional medical care to people in the LGBTQ+ community. Education is found not only in the classroom. In addition to treating illness, we know how important it is to teach our Ithaca College students about their health, suggest ways to incorporate healthy decision-making, and offer resources for lifelong learning.  


Ellyn Sellers-Selin, M.D.
Medical Director 
Center for Counseling, Health, and Wellness