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March 16, 2012

Staff profiles: Kathi Braunlich

After working for Michigan State University Student Health Services for 22 years, Kathi Braunlich is able to answer most of the questions emailed to the email address – but she is constantly adapting to the new ways in which her audiences are receiving their information.

"My goal is to make sure that students and their parents and to a certain extent, faculty and staff, are aware of the services that we provide," said Braunlich, marketing and communications manager for MSU Student Health Services.

"There are a lot of different ways that we aim to make sure people are aware of our services, and it varies for the audiences," she said.

Braunlich provides information to parents of incoming freshmen during the parent orientation programs in the summer, which parents may attend while their student is attending the Academic Orientation Program. In March, she is typically preparing informational brochures about MSU Student Health Services to be sent to the printer to be used during the orientation programs.

"Over the course of six weeks during the summer, we generally talk to about 5,000 parents of incoming freshmen, letting them know what services we have, what type of health issues they might want to be aware of that their student may face — the types of things that could impact a student's success," she said.

To reach freshmen, Student Health Services sets up tents near the different neighborhoods on move-in day and passes out first aid kits, pens and magnets to build awareness of the services they provide.

"We really want them to know that we want to be as accessible and friendly — they can come talk to us," she said.

Student Health Services — not be confused with the Olin Memorial Health Center, the building in which the department is located — has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

"Students are so used to the seven-second sound bite. How do you pack in the information that they need in a very short amount of time?" she said. "It's the multitasking generation, and trying to get information (to them) has been an interesting challenge."

Braunlich also is working on an overhaul of the Student Health Services website in addition to her regular responsibilities as the point of contact for many MSU departments, and advisor to the Student Health Advisory Council.

She also helped coordinate open houses for a number of neighborhood clinics that recently opened in Hubbard, Holden and Brody Halls. Another will be opening in McDonel in the fall.

"(Our goal is) getting information out, doing open houses, doing things to help let people in those neighborhoods know this is Student Health Services, too, it's not just to come get a Band-Aid," she said. "If you need lab tests done, if you need to determine whether you have pneumonia or something else, that's what the neighborhood clinics are there for."