The Checkup

A Quarterly Newsletter from UMB University Health Services
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Hours of Operation

Monday - Wednesday 8:30 AM - 7 PM

(by appointment only 5:00 PM - 7 PM)

Thursday & Friday 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Weekends & Holidays Closed 

Location: Quinn Building, 2nd Floor

Contact Us

University Health Services

(617) 287-5660

24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline (855) 634-4135

Upcoming Events

Art With Impact

Thursday, March 21st, 3:00PM - 6:00PM

Campus Center, 2nd Floor, Alumni Lounge (2551)

Art With Impact is an innovative workshop that utilizes the power of film to foster a deeper understanding of mental health among young adults, educators, health professionals, and community members. By tapping into the expressive language of art, specifically film, the workshop encourages meaningful conversations around mental health and empowers participants to share their own stories while exploring those of others. Beyond the cinematic experience, the event serves as a crucial bridge, connecting students with available mental health resources, enabling them to seek support and embark on a journey of healing as individuals and communities.

Expressions of Empathy: Mental Health Art Gala

All of May, Healey Library Grossman Gallery

UHS invites you to witness the beauty that emerges from vulnerability, the strength found in acknowledging one's struggles, and the shared experiences that connect us all through expressions of empathy. From paintings that depict the web and flow of emotions to sculptures that symbolize resilience, every piece contributes to a collective conversation about mental well-being. Sign up today for “Expressions of Empathy” using the link below!

Expression of Empathy Sign-Up

Click here for more upcoming events!

KORU Mindfulness is a national program developed at Duke University by college mental health professionals. This mindfulness training program is specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of college students where from the very first session, students leave with tools they can use immediately. Mindfulness and meditation can help improve your sleep, reduce your stress levels, build your resilience when life is difficult, and even improve your relationships. Studies show that mindfulness and meditation can also improve your memory and your grades!

KORU Mindfulness Drop-In

Check out our KORU schedule for the Spring semester!

Remote Sessions

Tuesdays from 3PM - 4PM

Wednesdays from 9AM - 10AM

In-Person Sessions

Mondays from 2PM - 3PM

Thursdays from 12:30PM - 1:30PM

Meet The Staff

In each issue, the Check Up will introduce you to a new member of the UHS team in ‘Meet the Staff’. Get to know your providers and learn some interesting facts.

Bill DeFranc, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist and Co-Interim Director

Favorite Animal:

Loves all animals, but especially dogs! (Originally planned to be a veterinarian)

Professional Interests:

Men’s gender role socialization and mental health; anger management; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Looking Forward to Most This Semester:

Visits from Beacon, UMB’s K-9 Comfort Dog 

Go-To Self-Care Habit:

Eating lunch outside my office

Fun Fact Most People Don’t Know:

I’m related to a former President

Favorite Spot On-Campus:

ISC sitting by the windows on a sunny day

Counseling Center Groups

Please feel free to email the counseling center with any questions about groups at [email protected]. If you have an idea for a group that you think might be of interest to UMB students, let us know! Groups for Spring 2024 include:

Rising Tides

Meets 1st Friday of the month in the Counseling Center at 12pm, first meeting 2/2/24

A monthly, supportive space for students with graduation on their mind. Topics will be 

participant guided, but may include stress management, financial worries, family expectations, tips for life after school. Bring lunch, build community, and find ways to navigate together.

Affinity Space for Asian and Asian American Students

Meets Mondays at 12pm, The AARO Office (McCormack 3rd floor, Room 703), from 1/22/24 to 5/6/24 

In this affinity space, Asian and Asian American students can explore stress management, self-care, and their racial and ethnic identities. 

STEM Support Group

Meets Wednesdays at 2pm at the Counseling Center, first meeting 2/28/2023 

A safe and facilitated space to explore day-to-day achievements and challenges with UMB STEM programs with a focus on historically excluded groups. This group aims to reduce isolation, validate emotional experiences, generate strategies for coping, and build community through shared experiences.

Drop-in Support Group for International Students

Meets Fridays at 1pm at the Counseling Center, first meeting February 9th); group will start with sufficient interest. Please email the counseling center to learn more. 

International students at UMass Boston will have this space to come together and talk about and receive support with their challenges like, but not limited to adjustment, acclimatization, lack of support and isolation- aspects that are unique to their narratives. 


Community Behavioral Health Centers

Each issue of The Checkup will explore a specific issue/question related to equitable access to healthcare. If you have a question you would like to see addressed, send it to: [email protected]. 

Q: How can I connect to the UMB Counseling Center for mental health support?

A: We can be reached by calling (617) 287-5690 or emailing [email protected]. If you are interested in counseling, you will first be offered an initial consultation with a clinician to talk about your concerns and interests in order to access the most appropriate services for your particular situation. All enrolled UMass Boston students, regardless of insurance, are eligible for services at no charge.

Whether or not you are a current patient at the center, we have options for same day crisis support (by walking in daytime, or calling our 24/7 crisis phone support at 855-634-4135).

Q: What if I am interested in long-term therapy?

A: If you know you want to connect to a longer term provider, reach out to your primary care provider (PCP) or contact your insurance company directly for a list of in-network clinicians.

The Counseling Center, on campus, also assists students with referrals for off-campus therapy. Contact the Counseling Center for more information on the referral process or visit the following suggested search engines for finding mental health providers:

  1. Psychology Today
  2. Alma
  3. InnoPsych - for clinicians of color

Q: What if my mental health is starting to affect my physical health?

A: If you’re experiencing mental health concerns that are impacting your physical health, it’s important to seek support from a healthcare professional! Schedule an appointment on your My Health Beacon Portal or by calling our 24/7 line at (617) 287-5660. Talking to a provider can be a good first step, as they can help coordinate your care and address any physical health concerns that may be related to your mental health.

Q: Where can I go in the community for mental health support?

A: Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs) are one-stop shops for a wide range of mental health and substance use services and treatment. CBHCs are closely connected to the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line. When appropriate, Help Line staff directly connect callers with their nearest CBHC and perform a warm handoff.

The Help Line is available in more than 200 languages, 24/7, 365 days a year.  

Call or Text: 833-773-2445  

Web Chat:

Beacon Buzz

Click through the resources below for relevant news and information pertaining to our community’s health!

2024 Ins

          Healthy Sleep Habits          
             Staying Hydrated             
Reading to Combat Seasonal Depression
Wholesome Eating > Restricted Dieting
          Zero-Proof Beverages        
  Creating Your Own Happiness  
 Sunscreen (even in the winter!) 

2024 Outs

  Putting Off Preventative Health 
                Energy Drinks               
           Not Carrying Narcan         
               Sports Betting                

Clinician's Corner

In each Clinician’s Corner, our staff will share their thoughts and expertise on a topic relevant to Beacons. Have a topic that you would like to see addressed? Email [email protected]. 

Written by Diane Pankow MSN, ANP-BC, Director of General Medicine

Welcome to 2024! An election year, a graduating semester for many of you, entry into the workforce for some, applications to graduate school for others, or picking out next semester’s courses. All these events can be stressful and run down your immune system, making you prone to illness. University Health Services is here to help you with all your health needs, either on or off campus.  


From a health perspective, what should your short-term and long-term focus be? For a college student, it can't be overstated that you need enough sleep, exercise, healthy food, a way to manage your stress, and to avoid excess alcohol and drugs. This is easy to say but hard to accomplish. 


There is a larger health issue looming which will affect all of us, and that is the impact of climate change. You don't have to look much farther than the incessant rain and flooding in the Boston area and along our local coastline to see the effects of climate change. There are currently 5 significant climate tipping points that we are facing: loss of ice sheets in Greenland, glacier loss in the Antarctic, thawing of the permafrost, destruction of coral reefs, and the collapse of oceanic currents in the North Atlantic. These changes can quickly affect entire ecosystems, changing the ability to grow certain crops, promoting infectious diseases, worsening respiratory and heat-related illnesses, creating water insecurity, and causing mass migrations. Scientists are making some progress to mitigate these changes – but what can we as individuals do to minimize the effects of global warming?  


As busy college students, life gets crazy but here are some easy changes which may also save you some money:  

  • Turn off the lights and turn down the heat when you are not at home. 
  • Wash your laundry in cold water. 
  • Decrease your red meat consumption, you don't have to cut it out completely, but be aware red meat has a huge carbon footprint. 
  • Don't sit in your parked car with the motor running for more than 5 minutes. (Did you know you can get a ticket for idling?) 
  • Limit purchases of anything in plastic bottles. 
  • Bring your own bags to stores to reduce the use of plastic and paper bags. 
  • VOTE, VOTE, VOTE- evaluate who you believe will best protect our air, water and other natural resources to reduce the climate changes which will affect you. 


This truly is your future, just as completing your degree is your future.

Healthy Jokes

What happens if you boil a funny bone?

It becomes a laughing stock. Isn't that humerus?


If you’re feeling lonely, stressed or just have things on your mind, on Togetherall, you can get anonymous support from a community of real people who understand.

Click on the icon below to join today!

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