Transitioning your Medical Health Care

In an effort to better assist incoming students with chronic medical conditions, we have developed some helpful tips and tools to make transitioning into college as smooth as possible. There are a variety of resources available to you at Johns Hopkins that will also aid in this transition.

The Student Health and Wellness Center is available to provide primary care services to help students manage their chronic medical needs. In addition, the SHWC offers general nutrition and wellness counseling. To speak with our case management nurse or to schedule an appointment with a provider, please call 410-516-8270.

Asthma

For students with asthma, universities present lifestyle challenges due to distance from families and familiar medical care (even if only a few miles), changes in physical activity level, new environmental allergies, and communal living. You may have considered many of these factors already, but if you have not, you may begin to think about how these will affect your asthma management. There may be additional challenges with managing your asthma and your busy schedule.

As you prepare for Johns Hopkins, here are some things to consider:

Chart of things to consider regarding care.
Medication & Supplies
  • Plan adequate supplies. You should bring your inhaler(s) and other medications. If you have a peak flow meter, nebulizer and/or spacer, you should bring it to campus.
  • The SHWC dispensary has a limited assortment of asthma medications.
  • There are multiple pharmacies located within 1 mile of campus. A complete list can be found on our local pharmacies page.
Prevention Strategies
  • You should consider having a pneumococcal vaccine prior to your arrival on campus.
  • Monitor your new environment for exposure to allergens which may have an influence on your respiratory tract.
  • Anticipate other stressors and aim toward managing your workload to minimize stress.
  • You should consider getting a flu shot when available in the fall. SHWC offers the flu vaccine at no charge with the Student Health Benefit Plan (CHP).
Medical Appointments
  • Illness may affect your asthma especially during cold and flu season. You may schedule an appointment with the Primary Care Providers at Johns Hopkins.
  • If you are not sure whether you need a visit, SHWC has a nurse who is available by phone. In addition, a nurse advice service is available after hours for phone advice.
  • If you need a referral to a pulmonologist or asthma/allergy provider while you are on campus, one of the SHWC clinicians may make a referral for you; you will have to check your insurance for covered providers.
Insurance
  • If you are not planning to sign up for the Student Health Benefit Plan, you should check to make sure your current insurance covers specialist care in the Baltimore area.

Diabetes

For students with diabetes, universities present lifestyle challenges due to distance from families and familiar medical care (even if only a few miles), changes in physical activity level, dining in a cafeteria, exposure to alcohol, and changes in friends and relationships. You may have considered many of these factors already, but if not, you may begin to think about how these will affect your diabetes management. There may be additional challenges with managing your diabetes and your busy schedule. In addition to the resources available through Johns Hopkins and the SHWC, another important resource for students is the College Diabetes Network, which offers a wealth of information about preparing for university life.

As you prepare for Johns Hopkins, here are some things to consider:

Chart of things to consider regarding care.
Medication & Supplies
  • Plan adequate supplies. If you use insulin you will need to bring your syringes and plan for refrigeration.
  • There are multiple pharmacies located within 1 mile of campus. A complete list can be found on our local pharmacies page.
  • Your blood glucose monitoring system should be included on your packing list.
Diet
  • The campus cafeterias and food shops include healthy choices. Whether you are relying on cafeteria food, or cooking on your own there will be freedom to choose unhealthy choices also. Keep in mind that dietary changes could have a negative impact on your glucose control.
  • Review tips on dining hall eating from the College Diabetes Network.
  • Dining Programs makes every effort to provide a variety of menu options for students who have food allergies, food restrictions and/or special diets. Students are encouraged to contact hopkinsdining@jhu.edu for additional information.
  • Alcohol use has a negative impact on glycemic control and is a known risk factor for severe hypoglycemia. PDF Document: Learn more about drinking with diabetes.
Accommodations, Roommates & Friends
Medical Appointments
  • Many students find it helpful to have a local endocrinologist while on campus. You may wish to talk to your endocrinologist for a recommendation. If you need a referral to an endocrinologist while you are on campus, one of the SHWC clinicians may make a referral for you. Please note that you will have to check with your insurance for covered providers.
  • Ongoing visits should occur every 3 months for patients taking insulin and every 3-6 months for patients with type 2 diabetes not taking insulin, according to ADA recommendations.
  • Illnesses may affect your blood sugar level. Make sure you closely monitor your blood glucose when you are ill. Do not wait to schedule an appointment at SHWC if you are ill. If you are not sure whether you need a visit, SHWC has a nurse who is available by phone. In addition, a nurse advice service is available after hours for phone advice.
  • Annual eye exams should be completed when you go home during breaks.
  • You should consider getting a flu shot when available in the fall. SHWC offers the flu vaccine at no charge with the Student Health Benefit Plan (CHP).
Coping in College
  • The Counseling Center is dedicated to student mental health and well-being. If you are feeling overwhelmed or just need a little help in dealing with things, we encourage you to contact the Counseling Center to schedule an appointment.
  • The CDN provides information on dealing with burnout—complete with a collection of photos and videos featuring cute puppies.
Insurance
  • If you are not planning to sign up for the Student Health Benefit Plan, you should check to make sure your current insurance covers specialist care in the Baltimore area.