Student Health Center Fee Ensures Access to Excellent Care, Services

At the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, our mission is to provide quality, compassionate, cost-effective and convenient ambulatory healthcare and education services that promote healthy habits and academic success.

Our center is conveniently located on campus and staffed with licensed medical doctors and providers, registered nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory and x-ray technologists. These dedicated professionals are here to serve you and help diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries.

The Health Center fee allows SMU to enhance our facilities and services, including increased access to specialists and mental health counselors. However, balancing rising healthcare costs while maintaining excellent care is challenging. To ensure that you continue to have access to the best available healthcare services, SMU is implementing a stepped increase in the Health Center fee for the next three years, pending final approval of each fiscal year’s budget.

  • The Health Center Fee for full-time undergraduate students not residing in a residence hall will increase by $15 per semester, or to $115 for the 2023-24 academic year; the fee will increase to $127.50 per semester for 2024-25 and to $140 per semester for 2025-26.
  • The fee for part-time undergraduate students not residing in a residence hall will increase by $10 per semester to $60 per semester for 2023-24; the fee will increase to $65 per semester in 2024-25 and to $80 per semester in 2025-26.
  • The Health Center Fee for all graduate students will increase by $25 to $75 per semester for the 2023-24 academic year; the fee will increase to $110 per semester in 2024-25 and to $140 per semester in 2025-26, aligning the fee with what undergraduate students will pay for access to the same services.
  • The fee is included in the room and board charges for students who reside in University-owned housing. It is mandatory for all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in on-campus degree programs and is separate from any mandatory insurance costs.

As a reminder, students are required to maintain health insurance to cover the costs of specialty care, prescriptions, emergency care, inpatient care, and other off-campus health services. This requirement can be met either by purchasing the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or an alternative insurance plan with comparable benefits.

The fee adjustment will allow us to continue expanding staffing levels, as well as our investments in best-in-class technology, infrastructure, and security. Your health and well-being are our top priority, and we remain committed to providing excellent patient care to you and your fellow Mustangs. Please check out the many services covered at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center by visiting this website.


Randy P. Jones, DDS, MPH
Associate Dean of Student Life
and Executive Director of Health Services


Take precautions against the flu

As flu season sets in, we’re seeing a significant rise in respiratory illnesses on campus. Typically, infections begin to pick up around the holidays and peak in January and February. Rates of transmission are currently high in Texas and around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are predicting a difficult flu season.

We highly recommend getting vaccinated. This season’s flu vaccine continues to be a good match for circulating strains.

Other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, are also circulating, so it’s also a good idea to get boosted. Both the flu and COVID vaccines are available at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and can both be administered during the same appointment.

Nobody wants to be sick, especially during the holiday season. Contact us today to make an appointment. Please schedule online or call 214-768-2141.

Learn more at

Are we all lonely? How to manage feelings of loneliness and isolation

In a time when we can instantly be connected to anyone in the world, why is loneliness and isolation at the forefront of our mental health conversations? Covid-19 isolation mandates, polarizing politics, and societal injustices have all caused feelings of uncertainty, anger, sadness and isolation.

When our means of connection have changed so much in three years, we can feel whiplash at the thought of how and when to socialize. The 2020s have highlighted the question: what does it mean to be connected to others and are we really feeling lonely?

Are we lonely or does everyone else look like they’re having more fun?

It can feel odd talking about loneliness when it’s easier for us to connect with others now than at any other time in history. However, the means of connecting have changed, and some of the most popular options are designed to encourage comparison to others. As a result, while we might enjoy a quiet night at home if we then see others socializing (or having different experiences) we may then question our choices or things about ourselves and our relationships that we otherwise wouldn’t have.

In fact, research has shown that if we think our relationships should be or feel a certain way because of a standard we’ve set, we may feel even more lonely. So, even if we do have friends we regularly see or talk with, we may still feel lonely because we are comparing our relationships to a standard that we saw on social media and incorporated into our thinking.

Because of the design of social media, we also know it’s hard to avoid comparing ourselves to others on social media, and that experience further amplifies feelings of loneliness. It doesn’t actually matter what we do on social media, just being exposed to the content on the platform contributes to feelings of loneliness.

We’re not saying that you should never go on social media again, but it’s important to know that doing so can cause our feelings and behaviors to be hijacked without us realizing it.

Chief Clinical Officer of Togetherall, Dr. Ben Locke wants us to know “loneliness is a real feeling, regardless of what prompted it, but there are a lot of ways to manage it.”

We are social creatures but also creatures of habit. Combine that with digital tools that can put us on autopilot, and we may be actively worsening our own feelings without realizing it.

How do we get off autopilot? Dr. Locke emphasizes that it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, and the more you do it, the better you’ll become.

“Intention setting is one of the best ways we can combat loneliness. Our typical go-to move when feeling lonely or bored (or even uncomfortable) is to pick up our phone and scroll. The problem is that not only does this automatic behavior not fix our lonely experience but what you see suggests everyone else is not lonely and having a better time. To feel less lonely or isolated, we have to challenge ourselves to not do the easy and automatic thing. Instead, set an intention to connect with others or do something that makes us feel better.”

People are drawn to social media because of new information and novelty. If this can lead us to feel lonely and isolated, it can also have the power to do the opposite if you are intentional about which services you use.

To feel connected and supported by others, do we have to know who is giving us the support?

Actually, research has shown that a greater number of weaker ties (people you may have casual conversations with but not consider a friend) someone has, the happier they feel and the fewer depressed feelings they have. So, to have a happy and satisfied life, it doesn’t necessarily have to be filled with best friends or super close ties.

Sometimes it can even feel easier to open up to someone who is not our closest confidant. While our closest friends and family may know the most intimate details of our life, it doesn’t mean that we always want them to be involved in difficult or private problems. Sometimes we just want someone to listen to us. Period.

If we find ourselves dealing with a difficult situation or difficult emotions, we typically prefer to talk with someone who has experienced something similar. This allows us to feel that we have a shared experience and that this will lead to greater understanding. In addition, sometimes it is just easier to share difficult details with people who are not a close friend or family member.

Feeling better even if we’re feeling lonely

As the past few years have presented numerous physical, mental and emotional challenges for the world, it’s easy to understand how loneliness and isolation have kept people from feeling well.

How can we feel better if, and when we feel lonely?

Recognizing when we start to feel lonely can be a big step to helping us feel more connected.

1. Set an intention each day to feel better. If you find yourself feeling lonely, try setting an intention to cut down on screen time or maybe actively disengage from social media accounts that invite you to compare yourself to others. Simple strategies like setting a time-limit, scheduling your social media time for the day, or creating a daily reminder of the link between social media and well-being can be surprisingly effective.

1. Engage with loose ties, meaning connect with others who may not be your best friend or family member. Not every person can give us every type of support we may need, so widening your support network can help you feel understood with a greater sense of belonging. Allow yourself to open up and engage with a broader range of people and experiences.

1. Connect with others who have had similar experiences, even if you don’t know them, that sense of support and empathy can make us feel like we are part of a community who understands.

If you find yourself wanting to widen your network and sense of belonging, try Togetherall—a free 24/7 anonymous online mental health community that is monitored 24/7 by trained clinicians. When we’re experiencing difficult feelings, it can be helpful to talk to others who have experienced similar situations. You can get support and give support to others anytime from anywhere.



Flu Shot Clinics 2022

Just reminder that flu shots are being offered this year at our walk-up mobile clinics and at the Health Center Monday – Friday 9A – 5P (closed for lunch 12P-1P).    

Flu shots are free to SMU students, staff, faculty and the extended campus community.

For more information visit


COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Health Center is now offering the new bivalent COVID boosters for both Pfizer and Moderna. Appointments may be scheduled through the SMU Health Portal.

Eligibility requirements:
– Authorized only for individuals who have completed a primary series
– Must be at least 2 months since receiving the last COVID vaccination

Click here to determine when you should get your booster.


COVID-19 reminders for Fall 2022

August 16, 2022


Dear SMU Community,


If you have been away, welcome back to the Hilltop. We hope you enjoyed the summer break and are looking forward to a fall full of engaged learning and fun activities. Thank you to the staff and faculty who have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming school year.


You will likely remember that SMU lifted the University’s COVID-19 protocols at the end of the spring term on May 15, 2022. We recognize that the virus is still present in our community and while it is contagious, in most cases it is less severe and more manageable, especially for those who are vaccinated.


University leadership continues to review guidance from local, state and federal health officials. The President’s Executive Council frequently discusses the latest information about COVID-19 that is specific to our area and is prepared to adjust the University’s response if needed.


Here are a few things to remember as we start the fall term:


  • The campus remains mask optional, including all classrooms and academic spaces. Faculty and staff may request masking in their classrooms, labs and workspaces. Although compliance has been high in the past, masks cannot be required.
    • N95 masks are available upon request. A limited supply of disinfectant and cleaning materials is also available for faculty and staff. Please submit requests through STABLE.
    • Employees seeking a reasonable accommodation based on a disability should contact the Office of Institutional Access and Equity (IAE) at
    • Students should contact Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies (DASS) to request accommodations.


  • As with any contagious illness, if you feel sick, have symptoms or test positive, do not come to work or class. If you have been exposed, monitor for symptoms.
    • Students, contact your instructors and make up any work if you miss class.
    • Faculty and staff, please alert your dean or supervisor if you plan to miss work due to illness.



Along with the links in this email, check the Mustang Strong website for updates on SMU’s response and resources on COVID-19, as well as access the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Please practice healthy habits. Information on COVID-19, monkeypox, influenza, allergies, counseling and other health and well-being resources can be found at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center website. Let’s work together to stay Mustang Strong.



Randy P. Jones, DDS, MPH
Associate Dean of Student Life
Executive Director of Health Services
Dr. Bob Smith Health Center



Health information about monkeypox

August 9, 2022


Dear SMU Community,

You likely have seen news reports regarding the spread of the monkeypox virus in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively tracking cases of monkeypox, as are many state and local health departments.  Dallas County recently issued an emergency declaration due to the increasing number of cases in the North Texas region.

To date, there are no known cases of monkeypox in the SMU community. The University and the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will continue to monitor this situation and coordinate preparedness efforts with Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS).

According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms, and development of a rash or sores. The virus is typically spread through close, skin-to-skin contact. Please take a few minutes to educate yourself about the monkeypox virus, including helpful prevention measures, with these important CDC resources and FAQs.

If you believe you might be infected with the virus, contact your health provider immediately. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center can provide testing for students who are symptomatic. Vaccination inquiries will be referred to DCHHS.

Your health and wellbeing are important to us. We will continue to keep you updated regarding any developments.


Randy P. Jones, DDS, MPH
Associate Dean of Student Life
Executive Director of Health Services
Dr. Bob Smith Health Center