Morgan State University has recently partnered up with Johns Hopkins’ Research Fellows and the Baltimore Health STD Department to expand knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Hopkins’ STD and STI experts visited Morgan to teach a quality improvement crash course for the doctors at the Morgan Health Center.
“For any health care institution, you have room for improvement especially when you are dealing with the population that we are dealing with, so we always look for something new” said Patience O. Ekeocha, Associate Medical Director at the Morgan Health Center.
“They came in here and we had a lecture the first day from an expert for STD and for the three days we just did what we call quality-improvement studies,” she said.
Although there is work being done behind-the-scenes, some Morgan students argue that further improvements can be made to improve accessibility of condoms and promote STD testing.
“If you don’t have the insurance here they are not going to cover you or do any tests for you I think you only get 1 test a year…and the condom boxes in the dormitories are not refilled often or at all,” said sophomore political science major, Ketsia Lovinsky.
Both students and faculty agree that although it is the school’s responsibility to educate the students, college students should take responsibility for their own sexual safety; especially when attending an historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and battling the claim that African Americans are more susceptible to STDs, STIs and HIV.
“I feel like it can be a little misleading primarily because I know on HBCU campuses because of the disparity of poverty and finance a lot of students do get health insurance through their parents or through the school,” said Professor Francesca Weaks, Health Education Professor in the School of Community Health and Policy and doctorate student at Morgan State.
“When you look at STDs and STIs we don’t really separate them as much and so when we are seeing diseases as far as HIV they are showing higher rates on HBCU campuses than on other campuses,” said Weaks.
The results from student participation and STD testing will be available at the end of the month to compare against last year’s results and see whether Morgan’s efforts have improved the quality of campus life.
“We will collect the data after April 30th…we will compare the people that came in for testing in March of 2017 to April 30th of 2017 and compare it to March of 2018 to April 30th of 2018 to see how we had an effect on the rate or even the volume of participation,” said Ekeocha.