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Christie Rishworth
Interim Director/Nurse Practitioner

Health Services Staff

(401) 456-8055


Browne Hall (BH)
Residence Halls
(Find us on campus)



Do you feel distressed? Do you wish to speak with someone? Please call the 24/7 Rhode Island College HOPE line: 401-456-HOPE (4673). The HOPE line is in addition to the counseling center and has been established to provide continuous support to our campus community. Please note that if you are in need of immediate support, please dial 911 and proceed to your local emergency room.​​​


Health Services

Health Services Staff

T​he mission of Rhode Island College Health Services is to provide confidential and holistic primary health care to enhance the academic potential of our students.

Each student encounter is an opportunity to educate about prevention and risk reduction to promote life-long healthy choices. Health Services is committed to providing high quality, accessible and cost effective services in a non-judgmental atmosphere that values diversity and respects individuality.

Office Hours

Effective Fall, 2018:
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Phone: (401) 456-8055 Fax: (401) 456-8890​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Information regarding:

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China
Influenza Update
Meningococcal Disease​
PrEP: Pre-exposure Prophylaxis to Prevent HIV
National Investigation into Vaping and Lung Injury​

Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Updated as of February 14, 2020

Rhode Island College is closely following the most current information and guidelines regarding this outbreak according to the CDC and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Rhode Island College Health Services is currently screening students who present with or report fever or symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection such as cough and shortness of breath. These students are asked about recent travel history within the last 14 days of the start of symptoms and any potential close contact with persons confirmed with Coronavirus now referred to as: COVID-19. The goal of these guidelines is to identify and contain any potential spread of this virus. To date, there are no confirmed cases in the Rhode Island area and the risk to the United States has still been declared as low according the the CDC.

One of the most important messages for us to remember is that someone's nationality alone is not a risk factor for coronavirus. "Someone's risk for 2019 novel coronavirus is closely tied to their recent travel history, and the travel histories of their immediate contacts—specifically, travel to mainland China or close contact with a person confirmed to have 2019 novel coronavirus."

CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China. If you must travel:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Discuss travel to China with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

There are steps we can take to support our families’ mental and physical health during an infectious disease outbreak. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University offers guidance for talking to your children about the novel coronavirus and emergency preparedness. This resource can be found at:

More information: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to closely monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was initially detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Early in the outbreak, many of the patients with respiratory illness caused by 2019-nCoV in China had exposure to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-human transmission. More recently, cases have been confirmed with no exposure to animal markets, indicating that person-to-person spread of the virus has occurred. Chinese officials report that sustained person-to-person spread in the community is occurring in China.
The first US case-patient was identified on January 21, 2020, and had recently traveled from Wuhan, China. Since that time, six additional cases have been confirmed in the United States, four among persons who traveled from Wuhan, and one a close contact of a confirmed case. Globally, reported illnesses in people with 2019-nCoV have ranged from mild (no or few signs and symptoms), to severe including death. These findings are consistent with other coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) ( []) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) ( []). Additional information about 2019-nCoV is needed to better understand transmission, disease severity, and risk to the general population. The goal of the ongoing US public health response is to identify and contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread of 2019-nCoV in the United States."

Influenza Update

(Call Health Services about getting your flu shot!)

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
In the past week, several Influenza B cases have been confirmed on the RIC campus.  In order to reduce the spread, students are reminded to:​

  • Be vigilant about handwashing
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Get a seasonal flu vaccine – it’s not too late!  Free vaccine is available in Health Services – call 456-8055 for an appointment

Influenza (Flu) Symptoms:
The influenza illness can include any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (100 degrees or above) or feeling feverish/chills
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)​

On-campus students who are experiencing influenza-like symptoms should remain in their rooms, check their temperature, and contact Student Health Services at 401-456-8055.  A staff member will assist students in following the appropriate influenza protocol.

If you live off-campus, stay home from class and contact your primary care provider for instructions; if RIC Health Services is your PCP, please call the office for instructions.

If you have been exposed to Influenza, please call Health Services or your primary care provider to discuss prevention and antiviral therapy.

For those with Influenza: If diagnosed with influenza, Health Services has a “flu kit” available that contains: masks, disposable thermometers, OTC medications to be used as needed to help with symptoms, and information about the flu with self-care measures.  
If diagnosed with influenza, students should:

  • Make arrangements to go home if able or self-isolate in their room until free of fever for 24 hours
  • Call Health Services daily (401-456-8055) and report fever and health status
  • Call Health Services or your PCP to discuss if antiviral therapy may be indicated for yourself and your close contacts, including suitemates.
  • Get extra rest, good nutrition, and lots of fluids (water, juice, PowerAde and Gatorade are best)
  • Notify RA if extra help is needed in the residence halls
  • Email professors to let them know you will be out of class
  • Find a friend or roommate to bring meals or food to your room from the dining hall
  • Inform roommates to call Health Services if they have a chronic health condition such as asthma, diabetes, a heart condition or immunosuppression

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and RI Department of Health recommend that people with influenza-like illness remain at home/out of the classroom until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100) or signs of a fever without the use of fever reducing medications.  If you have a pre-existing health condition, such as chronic respiratory issues (like asthma), diabetes, a heart condition, or immunosuppression, call Health Services or your primary care provider immediately.
The CDC has published additional information online about the flu and antiviral drug treatment.

Emergency Warning:
If you develop a high fever, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea, neck stiffness or rash, confusion or if flu-like symptoms improve but then return with high fever and worse cough, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What is the difference between a cold and flu?​

Information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)​

Is it a cold or flu

Meningococcal Disease

Please call RIC Health Services to learn about where you can receive your meninigitis vaccines. There are TWO vaccines that fight against different strains of this disease: Meningitis B Vaccine AND the Menactra vaccine. These vaccines are strongly recommended for all students. Menactra is a mandatory vaccine for all residential students.

Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Meningococcal disease is treatable with antibiotics, but quick medical attention is extremely important. It Can mimic the symptoms of influenza. Possible signs and symptoms in anyone older than the age of 2 include:​

  • Sudden high fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe headache that seems different than normal
  • Headache with nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking
  • Sensitivity to light
  • No appetite or thirst
  • Skin rash (sometimes, such as in meningococcal meningitis)

Transmission: Meningococcal disease is contagious, and is generally transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, kissing and being in close proximity for an extended period. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are as contagious as the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.


"If I had a meningitis vaccine when I was younger, do I still need a Meningitis B vaccine?"
Most likely. Meningitis B is NOT the same meningitis that most children are vaccinated against as adolescents.

"Have there been outbreaks of Meningitis B?"
While outbreaks of Meningitis B are rare, they are very serious. Between 2013 and 2015, there were four outbreaks of Meningitis B disease reported on US college campuses. These ultimately led to two deaths.​​​​

PrEP to Prevent HIV: Call Health Services to learn more. (401) 456-8055

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at risk for HIV take daily medicine to prevent HIV. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use. "Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken daily."​​​​​​​

Page last updated: February 17, 2020