Meet Student Affairs: five questions with Scott Henderson

The medical director of the Student Health Center shares his insights into how students can stay healthy at Mizzou.

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs

Dr. Scott Henderson serves students as the medical director at the Student Health Center.

Scott Henderson, medical director of the Student Health Center, was recently inducted as a fellow into the American College Health Association, for his exceptional service and commitment to the field of college health. I am so proud of his accomplishments and consider myself lucky to have a champion of student health as one of my colleagues.

Let’s get to know Scott!

Bill Stackman: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Scott Henderson: I’m the medical director at the Student Health Center and a board-certified family physician. I’ve been at Mizzou for almost 11 years. Before coming to Columbia, I spent 23 years in academic family medicine, including 12 years as program director at residency programs in Iowa and Wyoming.

I’m motivated by the students I serve, doing meaningful work, working with great people, and learning new things.

BS: What are your top tips for students to stay healthy while at Mizzou?

SH: Remember that there is still an on-going pandemic, so it is imperative that everyone takes necessary safety precautions. Wash your hands. Avoid sharing beverages or food. Don’t go to class if you are sick. Get a flu shot as well as your COVID-19 vaccination. Avoid friends who are ill. Try simple over-the-counter remedies. Make an appointment with the Student Health Center to see a provider. We strive to see students the same or next day.

Additionally, there are many ways students can stay healthy and manage their well-being. Below are just a few of my top tips.

  • Continue your care. If you are currently on treatment or medication, reach out to the Student Health Center so we can help you continue treatment.
  • Eat right. Keep your diet healthy and beneficial. Learn proper portion size and vary your meals. Choose healthy snacks and limit junk food. If you drink, do so in moderation. Try to eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Make routine exercise a habit. Make it fun and bring a friend. Take advantage of the great open spaces we have on and near campus.
  • Getting sleep is an integral part of staying healthy, so get a full night’s rest whenever possible. Create a bedtime routine. Avoid caffeine, eating and drinking right before bed.
  • Sexual health matters. Discuss issues with your partner and don’t do anything you are not comfortable with. Always use protection. Get tested for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Manage your stress. It’s easy to get run down with so much going on, so create a routine and develop time management skills to stay organized. Spend some time away from your schoolwork. Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
  • Mental health is health. Keep in touch with family and friends, but also take the time to build new friendships. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; there are multiple resources available to you – SHC, the Counseling Center, your advisor. Getting involved on campus is a good way maintain your balance.

BS: What should students bring to Mizzou?

SH: From a health and well-being standpoint, have over-the-counter medications on hand. Bring a thermoter and something for cough, cold and sore throats as well as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches and pains. Don’t forget your prescription medications. Also remember to bring your immunization records. Monitoring for communicable diseases and ensuring appropriate immunizations are key components in our work of assisting with the overall health of campus.

BS: What type of medical care can students get at the Student Health Center?

SH: The Student Health Center provides primary medical and psychiatric care tailored to the unique needs of college students. Students are seen by appointment for the diagnosis and treatment of acute illness and minor injury, mental health concerns, maintenance and preventative care, sexual and reproductive health care, or referral to specialty care. You can also visit our immunization clinic, which provides allergy injections and immunizations, including travel-related immunizations.

BS: What is your best advice for students to be successful at Mizzou?

SH: Take advantage of the opportunities in- and outside of the classroom. Not sure how to do that? I recommend reaching out to the Office of Student Engagement and Campus Activities. They can help you identify students organizations that fit a student’s interests and passions. Be sure to make plans to stay healthy – get your flu shot!