September 8, 2023
As a new school year begins, you may have noticed a recent addition to the Gillings School campus. Located on the ground floor of Armfield Atrium, not far from the common area outside Blue Cross and Blue Shield Auditorium, a new vending machine from Campus Health now makes it easier to purchase common over-the-counter (OTC) health care products on-demand.
The Healthy Heels 2 Go vending machine offers convenient access to many popular health items, including cough and cold medications, first aid supplies, COVID-19 tests, menstrual products, pregnancy tests, contraception, and other self-care items like lip balm, tissues and cough drops.
The machine is stocked by Campus Health Pharmacy and requires a UNC One Card for payment.
All products are selected by UNC’s clinical pharmacists and providers and include information about how to connect with Campus Health on each product.
Two additional vending machines already exist on campus in Rams Head Recreation and the Carolina Union. Positive feedback from users has been building since the machines launched in 2021, which led the Campus Health Advisory Board (CHAB) to seek a location for a new machine that would be central to graduate students, particularly in the health sciences area of campus.
Former CHAB member Mark Simon, a recent graduate of the Gillings School, said students and families appreciated the increased accessibility to low-priced, commonly used OTC products, such as ibuprofen, allergy medicine, first aid items and generic Plan B. “Gillings was suggested as a logical place for the machine, given its location, student population and like-minded goals of improving access to health care,” he said.
During his final year in the Master of Public Health program, Simon served on the CHAB as a representative of the Graduate and Professional Student Government, where he advocated for policies and programs to support health and well-being for graduate and professional students and their families. In addition to helping bring the vending machine to the Gillings campus, Simon also sought ways to make dental insurance more accessible for graduate students and planned campus-wide mental health and well-being events.
Simon is now a research project manager in the Department of Health Behavior, supporting the Carolina Center for Healthy Work Design and Worker Well-Being and the Peer Support Core, and he anticipates an immediate impact from the vending machines on the health, safety and well-being of students on campus.
Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at email@example.com.