HCC Expands Sexual Health Services


Timothy Winans

The Wellness Center at Howard Community College in the Academic Commons

Aaron Sorak

In a press conference held at the Burrill Galleria, Howard County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball, HCC President Dr. Daria J. Willis, SGA President Israah Ansari and others announced Sep. 22 that the Howard County Health Department will be investing $1 million into the expansion of sexual health services at Howard Community College.

As it stands, HCC Wellness Center already offers impressive free services like pregnancy testing and counseling, contraceptives, STI screenings and vaccines for HPV, Flu, and COVID, but why not provide more? The 3-year $1 million pilot program will now provide access to contraceptives like IUDs, telemedicine, STI treatments, HIV prevention, well-woman visits, a full-time registered nurse, social worker and counselor. A lot to remember, right?

The benefits these new services will provide are unquestionable. With 45% of nationwide pregnancies being unplanned—60% here in Maryland—and the Supreme Court’s June overturning of Roe v Wade, anything local governments can do to support inclusive access to sexual health care not only makes a statement, but also leads by example.

“I am so proud that Howard Community College will partner with the Howard County Health Department to expand reproductive health services and provide our student with the care that they need the most,” says Willis.

“This partnership of enhanced services will ensure more students will be served on a consistent basis with the goal of year-round care,” Ball says. “This pilot program will prioritize preventative reproductive care for women and increase healthcare services for all.”

“We’ve had to turn students away so many times,” says Tara Rupp, Director of HCC’s Wellness Center. “I can’t wait to kickoff these services so we can actually help students when they need it.”

The Health Department and the Wellness Center have had a decade-long partnership, and Rupp says there was a mutual agreement to make these services available whenever they acquired adequate funding. A process like this can be extremely difficult to undertake, which is why it is so valuable that these services will be available at HCC. “It’s not likely to have these services at a community college,” Rupp says.

The implementation of the pilot program will begin during the Spring 2023 semester in January. If you are looking for assistance right now, contact the Wellness Center in person at CL 178 or by phone at 443-518-4950. Never hesitate to reach out—you deserve help. To put it in the words of SGA President Israah Ansari, “It’s important to have something on campus for every student.” Whether you want to find community in one of the clubs or need help with medicine, HCC can help.