Navigating your healthcare after graduation

Dear Graduating Seniors,

As you prepare to embark on the next chapter of your journey beyond the College of the Holy Cross, it’s important to consider how you’ll continue to prioritize your health and well-being in the years ahead. Transitioning from the safety net of campus healthcare to navigating the broader healthcare landscape can seem daunting, but being prepared and knowing the steps can make it easier. The Health Services department is here to provide you with guidance and resources to ensure a smooth transition to accessing healthcare after graduation.

Securing Health Insurance

One of the most crucial steps in maintaining access to healthcare after graduation is securing health insurance coverage. Whether you’re transitioning to a new job, pursuing further education, or exploring other opportunities, it’s important to understand your options for obtaining coverage. Many graduates may be eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26, while others may need to explore individual plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace or employer-sponsored coverage. Check in with your family and your current health insurance plan to see what your options will be. The sooner you start looking into this the better to insure you will not be without health insurance.

Finding a Primary Care Provider

Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) is essential for maintaining your health and well-being in the long term. Your PCP will serve as your main point of contact for routine check-ups, preventive screenings, and managing any chronic conditions. If you are currently still under your pediatrician at home, it may be time to switch to an adult medicine provider as your PCP.  Your current PCP may be able to suggest one for you or you can look on your health insurance’s website for providers in your area that are accepting new patients.  As you transition to life after graduation, we encourage you to research and identify potential PCPs in your area who align with your healthcare needs and preferences. There are many options for providers out there so take time to research what is they best fit for you. Across the country there have been recent challenges in finding PCPs that are accepting new patients as well as long waitlists for initial appointments with a new provider. If you will need a new provider after graduation, now is the time to find one and book your next appointment as there could be a several month wait. 

Female Health After Graduation

As you prepare to graduate college and embark on new adventures, it’s crucial to prioritize your health, including your reproductive well-being. Finding a trusted gynecologist (GYN) for continuity of care is important, from contraception to regular screenings and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise.  This is especially pertinent to address now if you are on a contraceptives for medical reasons that will require a refill after graduation. Health Services cannot prescribe any medication refills after your graduation date.  Establishing a relationship with a GYN now ensures seamless and consistent care as you transition into post-grad life. It’s an investment in your long-term health and well-being, providing you with the support and guidance you need as you embark on this next chapter of your life.

Advocating for Your Health

As you navigate the healthcare system as an independent adult, it’s important to become your own advocate and take an active role in managing your health. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek second opinions, and voice your concerns during medical appointments. Be proactive about scheduling preventive screenings and vaccinations, and keep track of your medical history and any medications you may be taking. Keep a “Health File” in your Google Drive to keep track of medical and insurance documentation including copies of physicals and immunizations as you may need these documents accessible as you apply for ongoing education and career positions.  Contact Health Services now if you would like a copy of your health record.

Being a Smart Healthcare Consumer

Navigating the complexities of the healthcare system can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and resources, you can become a savvy healthcare consumer. Take the time to educate yourself about your health insurance coverage, including understanding your benefits, copayments, and deductibles. Compare costs and quality ratings when choosing healthcare providers and services, and don’t hesitate to explore telemedicine options for convenient and accessible care.

One last reminder that Health Services cannot prescribe medications or provide refills on previously prescribed medications after your graduation date so it is imperative that you have a provider outside of Health Services to continue your care.

As you prepare to graduate from the College of the Holy Cross and transition to life beyond campus, remember that prioritizing your health and well-being is an essential part of your journey. By taking proactive steps to secure health insurance, find a primary care provider, advocate for your health, and become a smart healthcare consumer, you can ensure that you have access to the care and support you need to thrive in the years ahead. Remember, our Health Services department is here to support you as you navigate this exciting new chapter in your life so do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

Kristin Gauthier RN, our Public Health Nurse can help answer any questions you may have on this topic and can be reached at

Wishing you continued health and success,

Holy Cross Health Services

Updated CDC Guidelines for COVID + Respiratory Illnesses

CDC Updates Isolation Guidelines

The CDC announced updated virus guidance for Covid-19 (and flu and RSV and any common respiratory illness).

What does the updated guidance say?

The best thing you can do hasn’t changed: Prevent illness in the first place through vaccination, ventilation, and masking.

But, if you’re sick with any common respiratory illness (i.e., not measles), CDC says to approach it in two phases:

  • Phase 1: Stay home when sick until your fever resolves for 24 hours and your symptoms improve.
  • This is when you’re most contagious (see figure below.)
  • Not all infections result in a fever, so paying attention to other symptoms (cough, muscle aches, etc.) is important. The severity of symptoms is loosely connected to contagiousness.
  • What does symptoms improving mean? CDC doesn’t define it, but some local health departments do: It’s when “a person no longer feels ill; they can do their daily routine just as they did before they were ill, and any remaining symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose, are very mild, or infrequent.”
  • Phase 2: Use caution for five days after take additional precautions (e.g., wear a mask, use at-home Covid-19 tests before seeing grandma at the nursing home).
  • This is important because people remain contagious beyond the “stay-at-home” period.

This is what it could look like in different scenarios:

Top figure from Nature. Bottom figures from CDC. Annotations by YLE (Your Local Epidemiologist)


Reach out to Health Services 508-793-2276 or Kristin Gauthier, Public Health Nurse:

Navigating Health with Ease: The Express STI Clinic at College of the Holy Cross

As students at the College of the Holy Cross, maintaining good health is essential for a successful academic journey. In our commitment to providing comprehensive health services, we have the Express STI Clinic—a convenient and confidential resource designed to support students in taking control of their sexual health.

Why an Express STI Clinic?

Understanding the importance of accessible and timely healthcare, the College of the Holy Cross has established the Express STI Clinic to address the specific needs of students. This clinic is dedicated to providing efficient and confidential testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), ensuring that students can prioritize their well-being without unnecessary hurdles.

Key Features of the Express STI Clinic:

  1. Confidentiality and Privacy: The Express STI Clinic prioritizes confidentiality to create a safe and non-judgmental environment. Your privacy is of utmost importance, and our healthcare professionals are committed to maintaining the strictest confidentiality throughout the testing process.
  2. Convenience: Recognizing the busy schedules of college students, the Express STI Clinic is designed for quick and efficient visits. With streamlined processes, you can receive the necessary testing and information without disrupting your academic commitments.
  3. Comprehensive Testing Services: The clinic offers a range of testing services for common STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV as well as pregnancy tests, ensuring that students can access the care they need. No exam needed for any of the testing options. You choose the tests you want!
  4. Education and Counseling: In addition to testing, the Express STI Clinic is committed to providing education services. Our healthcare professionals are available to answer questions, offer guidance on safe practices, and ensure that students are well-informed about their sexual health.

How to Utilize the Express STI Clinic:

Schedule an Appointment:  You can call our Health Services office or use the online scheduling portal to choose a time that fits your schedule.

Confidential Testing: Rest assured that the testing process is confidential, and your results will only be shared with you.

Our healthcare professionals are here to support you throughout the entire process. At the College of the Holy Cross, we believe that prioritizing your health is an integral part of your college experience. The Express STI Clinic is here to empower students to take control of their sexual health with convenience, confidentiality, and comprehensive care. By making these services readily available, we hope to contribute to a healthier and more informed student body.

Remember, your well-being matters, and the Express STI Clinic is here to support you on your journey to overall health and success.

Empowering College Students During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and it serves as an important reminder of the significance of education, prevention, and early detection in combating this disease. It is crucial for us to understand the impact of cervical cancer and take proactive steps to protect ourselves and support others.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells lining the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. In many cases, cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. While HPV is prevalent, not all strains of the virus lead to cervical cancer. However, certain high-risk strains, if left undetected or untreated, can cause changes in cervical cells that may eventually develop into cancer.

Why is Awareness Important?

Awareness plays a critical role in the fight against cervical cancer. Many cases of cervical cancer can be prevented through vaccination against HPV, regular screenings such as Pap tests and HPV tests, and practicing safe sex. By understanding the risk factors, symptoms, and available preventive measures, individuals can make informed decisions about their health and take proactive steps to reduce their risk of developing cervical cancer.

Empowering Ourselves and Others

As college students, we have the power to advocate for our health and the health of those around us. Here are some ways we can get involved and make a difference during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and beyond:

  1. Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about cervical cancer, its risk factors, symptoms, and prevention strategies. Knowledge is empowering and can help you make informed decisions about your health.
  2. Promote Vaccination: Encourage fellow students to consider getting vaccinated against HPV if they haven’t already. HPV vaccination is safe, effective, and can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases.
  3. Support Screening Initiatives: Spread the word about the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings. Remind friends and classmates to schedule their Pap tests and HPV tests as recommended by healthcare providers.
  4. Advocate for Accessible Healthcare: Advocate for accessible healthcare services on campus and in the community, including affordable screenings and vaccinations for cervical cancer prevention.
  5. Raise Awareness: Use your voice and platform to raise awareness about cervical cancer through social media, campus events, and educational initiatives. Encourage open discussions about sexual health and cancer prevention.

As members of the College of the Holy Cross community, let’s come together to raise awareness, support one another, and empower ourselves with knowledge during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. By taking proactive steps to understand cervical cancer and promote prevention strategies, we can make a meaningful impact in the fight against this disease.

Remember, your health matters, and by prioritizing preventive care and advocating for accessible healthcare resources, we can work towards a future where cervical cancer is no longer a threat.

Together, let’s stand in solidarity with all those affected by cervical cancer and strive to create a healthier, more informed community.

Your Health Services Team

Embrace the Chill: Winter Skin Care Tips

As winter descends upon our campus, the drop in temperature and wind on the hill can take a toll on your skin. Cold winds and dry air can lead to dryness, flakiness, and irritation. But fear not! With a few simple adjustments to your skincare routine, you can keep your  healthy even in the coldest months.

  1. Hydration is Key: Cold weather can dehydrate your skin, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated from the inside out. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin moisturized and combat the drying effects of winter.
  2. Invest in a Quality Moisturizer: Upgrade your skincare routine with a rich, hydrating moisturizer. Look for products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, or glycerin to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier against the harsh elements.
  3. Don’t Forget Sunscreen: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen. UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and cause damage to your skin. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it daily, especially on exposed areas like your face and hands.
  4. Gentle Cleansing: Avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin of its natural oils. Opt for a gentle, hydrating cleanser to keep your skin clean without over-drying. Consider cleansing in the evening to remove impurities accumulated during the day.
  5. Layer Up with Clothing: Protect your skin from the cold by layering up with warm clothing. Scarves, hats, and gloves not only keep you warm but also shield your skin from the harsh winter winds, preventing it from becoming dry and chapped.
  6. Humidify Your Living Space: Indoor heating systems can contribute to dry air, further exacerbating skin issues. Use a humidifier in your living space to add moisture to the air. This can help prevent your skin from drying out, especially during the night.
  7. Lip Balm Love: Chapped lips are a common winter woe. Keep your lips soft and moisturized by applying a nourishing lip balm regularly. Look for balms with ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, or coconut oil for optimal hydration.
  8. Exfoliate Wisely: Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, but overdoing it in winter can lead to increased dryness. Limit exfoliation to once a week and choose a gentle exfoliant to maintain a healthy glow without irritating your skin.
  9. Stay Active: Regular exercise not only boosts your overall well-being but also promotes healthy skin. Physical activity increases blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. Just remember to stay hydrated during and after your workout.
  10. Get Enough Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for skin regeneration and repair. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to wake up with refreshed and radiant skin.

Navigating Respiratory Illnesses: A Student’s Guide to Staying Healthy

As the College of the Holy Cross community returns to campus, it’s crucial to address the prevailing concerns surrounding respiratory illnesses. With the ongoing presence of influenza, COVID-19, and RSV in our local area, taking proactive steps to safeguard your health and that of others is paramount.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you manage respiratory illnesses while on campus:

1. Vaccination:

Get Vaccinated: Ensure you’re up-to-date on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to campus, if possible.  If you would like resources on local pharmacies that provide these vaccinations, please reach out to your Public Health Nurse Kristin Gauthier-

2. Personal Preparedness:

Stock Up: Have over-the-counter cold and flu medications, pain relievers (like acetaminophen and ibuprofen), and a thermometer in your residence. Being prepared can make a significant difference if illness strikes.

3. Hygiene Practices:

Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing isn’t possible.

4. Masking and Physical Distancing:

Follow Protocols: Adhere to the campus guidelines regarding mask-wearing and physical distancing. These measures play a crucial role in minimizing the spread of respiratory illnesses.

5. Self-Care and Monitoring:

Monitor Symptoms: Be vigilant about any signs of illness. If you develop symptoms like cough, fever, sore throat, or difficulty breathing, self-isolate and reach out to Health Services promptly for guidance.

6. Mental Health Support:

Prioritize Self-Care: Dealing with the uncertainty and stress of respiratory illnesses can be challenging. Remember to take care of your mental health and seek support from counseling services if needed.

7. Stay Informed:

Stay Updated: Keep an eye on communications from Health Services and the college administration for updates on any health-related developments or changes in campus protocols.

8. Supportive Community:

Lean on Each Other: Encourage your peers to practice responsible health behaviors. Supporting one another is key in fostering a healthier campus environment.

Seeking Assistance:

If you require medical attention or advice, Holy Cross Health Services is here to support you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re feeling unwell or have any health-related concerns during your time on campus.

Remember, your health and well-being are a priority at the College of the Holy Cross. By taking proactive measures and staying informed, we can collectively create a safer and healthier campus environment.

Here’s to a semester of resilience, responsibility, and good health!

Warm regards, The Health Services Team at College of the Holy Cross

Welcome to Health on the Hill

Welcome to “Health on the Hill,” your go-to resource for campus and community health at the College of the Holy Cross. Here, we provide timely health updates, essential campus resources, and insights into community well-being.

Stay Informed, Stay Well:
Discover the latest health updates impacting our campus and local community, ensuring you’re up-to-date on crucial information for your well-being.

Campus Health Guide:
Explore our comprehensive health services resources available on campus and how you can best utilize them for a healthy college experience.

Community Wellness Initiatives:
Discover initiatives and partnerships promoting well-being within and beyond our campus. From local health resources to community outreach programs, find opportunities to engage and support your overall health.

Join us at “Health on the Hill” as we navigate and advocate for a healthier campus and community together!