Cornell Health provides primary care services for all students on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. [see Who We Serve]
"Primary care" is defined as the provision of general and continuing medical care for patients within a healthcare system designed to serve a community. This approach to healthcare is aligned with a university environment, where an individual’s needs are integrated and require coordination with specialty care or community resources. Students benefit from a patient-centered, collaborative, and team-based approach because they can get the resources they need to find health and thrive. Population health research has demonstrated the benefit of this approach to our systems and communities by increasing quality and decreasing cost (learn more about primary care).
At Cornell Health, we use a primary care model that addresses the whole-person – their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being, as well as cultural, linguistic, and social needs – using appropriate clinical and supportive services that include acute, chronic, and preventive care, behavioral and mental health, health promotion, and public health.
Every student needs a home base in Ithaca to meet their health care needs and goals, and that’s what they find at Cornell Health. We are not just a medical office: we are partners in healthcare with our students. We are certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) as a "Patient Centered Medical Home." Our model of health care delivery is designed to increase Cornell students' access to and appropriate utilization of the comprehensive, patient-centered, health care and wellness resources that support their academic and life experience.
Image credit: Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative
Your Primary Care Provider at Cornell Health
Each Cornell student is assigned a Primary Care Provider (PCP) who will oversee your medical care and help support your health throughout your time at Cornell. When you need an appointment with a medical clinician, we recommend scheduling with your PCP whenever possible.
All of the PCPs at Cornell Health are credentialed medical clinicians – physicians (MDs, DOs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs) – with outstanding educational and professional backgrounds and a passion for working with college students. PCPS are supported by teams including nursing staff, behavioral health consultants, nutritionists, and others who collaborate to provide high-quality care for students.
Why does Cornell Health assign a PCP to every student?
PCP assignments are made to facilitate strong, trusting, and continuous relationships between students, their PCP, and their healthcare team.
We know that almost every student comes to Cornell Health for medical care during their time at Cornell, usually for a combination of acute needs and preventive services. Studies show that systems that promote strong PCP relationships lead to improved quality of care, and fewer individual and system costs.
Some students come to Cornell having a strong relationship with a PCP from home or from previous community. Having a PCP at Cornell is important to ensure that your healthcare needs are met while you’re in Ithaca, so students may transition their primary care from their home PCP to a Cornell Health provider. Our medical staff coordinate with previous treating providers, PCPs, specialists, and facilities to ensure we have the information to support the students in our care.
If for any reason you feel that you and your PCP are not a good match, we will do our best to help you connect with someone with whom you can be comfortable and confident. Please discuss your concerns with your provider, or contact Dr. Anne Jones, Director of Medical Services, at 607-255-5155 (press 8).
What is the role of my PCP, and my healthcare team, in my healthcare?
Your PCP is a healthcare provider who, over the course of your time at Cornell, can get to know your specific medical needs within the context of who you are as a person. The more you see your PCP – both for preventive care and acute care – the better we will be able to address your needs in a time frame that works for you.
We recommend scheduling medical appointments with your PCP whenever possible. However, we know that students have busy schedules, and that your needs may be urgent at times. If your schedule cannot accommodate a visit with your PCP, you will be offered appointments to best meet your scheduling and medical needs. First, we will aim to schedule an appointment with another clinician on your PCP’s medical team. If needed, we can also offer appointments on other teams and with other medical clinicians.
PCPs are part of medical teams located on Level 3, Level 5, and Level 7. Your medical team is determined by where your PCP is located. Team members – including nursing staff, behavioral health consultants, nutritionists, and clinical administrative staff – work together with the PCPs to support patient care. When appropriate, medical team members also collaborate with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff (who are co-located on Levels 3, 5, and 7), as well as Cornell Health physical therapists.
The Specialty Services team, located on Level 4, is responsible for triage, immunizations, allergy services, and Travel Clinic services. These nursing and administrative professionals can help you determine the first steps to take in a medical situation, discern the right appointment or professional who can help you, and can meet specialty needs for allergy and travel services.
For more information about the full range of medical services available at Cornell Health, please visit our Medical Care page.