Historical Timeline for Student Healthcare at KU


  • First student fees paid for health services ($.50 per student).
  • H.L. Chambers, M.D. hired as the first University physician.


  • Sick Benefit Association formed, later named Hospital Association. 
  • The health fee was raised to $2.00.


  • With the fee and help from the ladies of the faculty, raised enough money to hire a physician and a nurse and rented space in the “Spencer House” west of campus.


  • James Naismith (1907-1917), M.D. the inventor of basketball, became the University physician.


  • Alice Goetz, M.D. became Dr. Naismith’s assistant and looked after the health of women.


  • KU's "Student Health Department" was represented at the first annual meeting of the American Student Health Association, which made KU a Charter Member. Today, that organization is known as the American College Health Association. (See # 18 in related image).


  • Ralph I. Canuteson, M.D. (1928-1965) was appointed first full-time Medical Director.


  • Elizabeth Miller Watkins  donated the funds for a student hospital.


  • Groundbreaking for Watkins Memorial Hospital.


  • Watkins Memorial Hospital (now Twente Hall) began accepting patients in January.


  • Hired full-time pharmacist.
  • Health fee increased to $5.00.


  • Accredited for the first time by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH).


  • Physical Therapy department established.


  • Mental Health Clinic established.


  • Hired full-time psychiatrist.


  • Raymond A. Schwegler, M.D. (1965-1973) was appointed Director.
  • In response to the medical needs of the student population, the new Watkins Memorial Hospital (now Watkins Memorial Health Center) was designed and built.  The new 62,000 square foot building was designed to accommodate students with disabilities


  • Martin Wollmann, M.D. (1973-1983) was appointed Director. 


  • The new and larger Watkins Memorial Hospital (at present day location) opened in March.


  • James E. Strobl, M.B.A., (1983-1999) became Director (the first non-medical director in Watkins history).
  • Health Education Department established.
  • GYN Clinic established and located on second floor.
  • Two exam rooms per physician system established.


  • Number of physicians dictating clinic notes increased from three to ten.
  • Nurse Practitioner utilized to see patients.
  • New Clinic hours of 8-4:30 (changed from 8-11:30 & 2-4:30).


  • Upgraded Physical Therapy equipment and purchased new X-ray film processor.
  • Sports Medicine Clinic established.
  • Student Health Officer Program initiated.
  • Central charting for all medical records initiated.
  • Hematology and blood chemistry analyzers purchased to increase laboratory efficiency.


  • Closed food service kitchen at cost savings of $70,000 per year.
  • Appointment system initiated in General Medicine Clinic.
  • Quality Assurance program started.
  • Beak Healthy Newsletter initiated.
  • Screening nurse process initiated to shorten patient waiting time.
  • Established full-time dietary counseling.


  • Mandatory CPR classes for all health center staff.
  • Peer Review program established.
  • Inpatient service converted to short-term outpatient observation unit at a cost avoidance of $325,000 per year.
  • Registration, Medical Records, and Business Office operations computerized through an in-house mainframe.
  • Blood pressure checks made available on a walk-in basis.
  • Direct check-in established for several specialty clinics (Allergy, Wart, INH therapy).
  • Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic established.
  • INH Clinic established.
  • Risk Management program initiated.
  • Over-the-counter medications, including condoms and spermicides, made available at Pharmacy.
  • New colposcope obrained for GYN exams and biopsy.
  • Cryotherapy for lesion/wart treatments available.


  • Received first three-year accreditation as an outpatient clinic through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), a national association.
  • Walk-in cholesterol screening instituted.
  • Appointment system and Pharmacy operation computerized.
  • Dental screening examination initiated.
  • Eating Disorders Support Group established (ANAD).
  • Adult children of Alcoholics Support group established.
  • Diabetic Education group initiated.
  • Patient Bill of Rights developed and published.
  • X-ray contract established.
  • Chlamydia screening began with all pap smears.
  • First annual Health Fair.


  • Closed third shift (11p.m.-7a.m.), shifting FTE to more usable hours.  “On Call” physician in health center during all hours of operation.
  • Health center closed on major holidays to better utilize staff during peak periods.
  • New computerized health assessment program started in Health Education.
  • Nursing staff returning phone calls for physicians.
  • Mandatory immunization policy initiated.


  • Evening appointments began on experimental basis.
  • One nurse per physician work arrangement started with two physicians (experimental).
  • Provided kiosk for information to students (located outside, west of building).
  • Smoke-free environment for staff and students.


  • Maintained quality of services during Desert Storm crisis.\
  • Added four new board certified physicians: three female, one male.
  • Increased healthcare involvement with the Athletic Department.
  • Physician-nurse teams shortened patient waiting time.
  • Mental Health reorganized into Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).
  • Sports Medicine Clinic received the Governor’s Council on Fitness award.
  • Pharmacy staff received special recognition in associations and participated in organizing programs for school & community regarding substance abuse.
  • Health Education’s Peer Health Advisor class became University credited course.
  • Watkins Admissions & Radiology departments coordinated with the University to process MMR requirements on all incoming students.
  • Customized our computer system to increase efficiency of patient processing, which included patient registration and billing services.
  • Anonymous HIV testing initiated.
  • Street named in honor of Dr. Raymond Schwegler (Shwegler Drive).


  • Health center wide re-cycling instituted.
  • Remodeling of Health Education, CAPS and Administrative areas.
  • Hired GYN nurse practitioner.
  • Received additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.
  • Hired a board certified female physician to replace a retiring male physician.


  • Additional outpatient and staff parking with closer proximity to the health center.
  • Added a fourth full time pharmacist and expanded pharmacy hours to 9:00 p.m. M-F.
  • Increased anonymous HIV testing hours from half day to full day.
  • Initiated Herpes Study with KU Medical Center.


  • New fee for the Watkins Health Center addition was approved by the Student Senate by acclimation.
  • Resurface of Schwegler Drive.


  • Received another three-year accreditation from AAAHC.
  • Construction began on the new 17,000 addition to north end of Watkins to provide more exam rooms.
  • Implementation of new Pharmacy software that included online adjudication with insurance companies.


  • Construction on new addition continued.
  • Remodeling of existing building began.
  • Online adjudication completed in the Pharmacy.
  • Health center hours changed to 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., M-F; 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.


  • Construction on new addition and remodeling of existing building completed.
  • Relocated personnel to new work areas.
  • Established improved patient and record flow.
  • Updated computer system (both hardware and software) throughout the health center.
  • Designed and implemented bar coded labels and visit/charge form processing.


  • Expansion of the appointment system from 20% appointments to 80% appointments.
  • Received fourth consecutive accreditation for another three years from AAAHC.


  • Carol Seager, M.S.A. (1999-2013) was appointed Director.

2000 - 2007

  • New computer system (PyraMed) installed for scheduling appointments and billing management.
  • Triage implemented.
  • Mandatory Health Insurance for International Students.
  • Coverage for spouse/domestic partner added.
  • Immunization Clinic available to general public.
  • Meningitis Vaccination mandate.
  • Tuberculosis mandate for International Students.
  • Wellness Resource Center expanded to include alcohol education/sanction program.
  • Customer Service Plan (RISE) introduced.
  • HPV Vaccine – SHS participation as 1 of 17 study sites.


  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Replaced PyraMed system with Point and Click system for patient scheduling, registration, billing, etc.


  • Adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.


  • Deployment of a secure patient web-portal to allow communications with providers and online appointment scheduling.
  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Implemented a Lab Information System for compiling lab test results and communicating to the EHR system.


  • Adopted computed radiography system to replace the original X-ray “film” process.


  • Douglas Dechairo, M.D. (2013-2019) was appointed Director/Chief of Staff.
  • Purchase of “Beakers” utility vehicle for use in outreach activities by the Health Education Resource Office.
  • Animal therapy incorporated into stress management programming by Health Education Resource Office.
  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Began offering Massage Therapy service.
  • Opened Beaker's Daily Dose snack shop inside the pharmacy.
  • Began using student volunteers known as Watkins Health Navigators to staff information booth at main entry.
  • Extensive remodel of first floor lobby and hallways with input from students.  In fact, the design of the lobby was largely the creation of a KU senior in architecture,.


  • With approval of Student Senate and KU Administration, the name of “Student Health Services” was changed to “Watkins Health Services” (WHS).
  • Replaced the Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in the north wing of facility.
  • Opened an Immediate Care Clinic for KU faculty & staff.
  • KU CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource, and Education) Coodinator established as a confidential resource for sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
  • Health Education Resource Office acquired and began management of the Jayhawk Buddy System.
  • OrthoKansas opened a satellite office on the second floor.
  • Expanded image of WHS through greater use of social media.
  • Began a multi-year project to replace the HVAC system throughout the health center.


  • Hired Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
  • Began offering tobacco cessation program to faculty and staff for a nominal fee.
  • Began offering a bundled set of STI tests at a reduced price.
  • Led efforts to purchase/install 68 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in buildings throughout campus.
  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Patient chaperone protocol established.
  • Regulated the carrying of concealed handguns inside Watkins Memorial Health Center


  • Self-check in kiosks installed in lobby.
  • Traditional phone system converted to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) through Skype application.
  • Implemented C-I-CARE customer experience philosophy.
  • Watkins Health Navigators (formerly volunteer positions) became paid student hourly positions to staff information booth at main entry.
  • Project to complete the replacement of the HVAC system throughout health center was completed.


  • Diana Malott named interim director.
  • Pavika Saripalli, M.D., named interim Chief of Staff.
  • Expansion of gender affirming care services.
  • A record number of flu shots were given following an aggressive marketing campaign targeting students.
  • Obtained MedSafe collection kiosk for safe disposal of unused/expired medications.
  • Received an additional three-year accreditation through AAAHC.


  • Navigated operational changes through COVID-19 global pandemic, implemented screening protocol and drive-up testing.
  • Served as primary partner on KU's Pandemic Medical Advisory Team.
  • Began offering virtual appointments through Zoom application.
  • Many non-clinical staff began remote work from home.
  • Registration & Records department remodeled to provide more privacy to patients checking in.
  • Paint and flooring were upgraded throughout the health center.
  • Point of Sale (POS) module instituted in pharmacy to streamline checkout process.
  • Kory Barrett named interim Administrative Director.
  • Sherri Vaughn, M.D., named interim Medical Director.


  • The University of Kansas Health System assumed medical oversight of Watkins Health Services.
  • Ellen Herman, MAOL, named Administrative Director.
  • Greg Nickel, M.D., named Medical Director.
  • Became a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site for the KU and Lawrence communities.
  • Health Education Resource Office (formerly a department within Watkins Health Services) became a stand-alone Student Affairs unit co-located in the Watkins Memorial Health Center building.

Each KU student has a secure portal for communicating with us:

Login to myWHS 
  • Make Appointments
  • Request Rx Refills
  • View Balances
  • Check Messages
  • View Lab Results
  • and more!

Building Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am-5:00pm
Sat:  12:00 pm-4:00pm

After Hours Care

24-hour Nurse Helpline:

For immediate emergency help after normal business hours, call 911. LMH Health  is located at 325 Maine Street.