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Health & Safety

As you prepare to leave for college, you need to feel confident that you will stay safe and healthy in your new home. Here's a brief introduction to the many ways we help the members of our community do just that.

Safety and security

When students are interested in MIT or any other urban school, they typically have questions about campus safety. At MIT, we believe in preventing problems before they start, so we take a direct, proactive approach to safety.

Because we take safety seriously, because we teach students how to avoid risk, and because our campus is a busy place at almost any hour, our safety record is strong. Of those crimes that do occur here, the vast majority are committed against property rather than against people (primarily the theft of unattended belongings). We work hard to teach students how to protect their possessions - and above all how to keep themselves safe.

Our own police force

Rather than relying on security guards alone, MIT has its own police force - 55 armed, academy-trained sworn officers, who have full arrest authority on campus. They're also trained as emergency medical technicians, to staff our licensed ambulance service. Most important, they're highly visible and very friendly. At any time, two cruisers are driving around campus, and half a dozen or more officers are patrolling by foot, bicycle or motorcycle. Because they encounter students on friendly terms every day, they can often prevent problems before they start, rather than having to step in as remote law enforcement officials who intervene only after the fact.

After-hours escorts

One of the most important services we offer is Safe Ride, our system for escorting students safely between their residences and various campus locations after hours. Safe Ride's four vans circulate continuously on regular routes on both the Cambridge and Boston sides of the river every night between 6:00 PM and 3:00 AM (until 4:00 AM on weekends). We also offer individual escorts in special circumstances, and between Safe Ride's hours and daylight, campus police will provide rides in their cruisers on request.

Phone links

The MIT campus has its own emergency phone system. A student can pick up any phone on campus and dial 100 (our internal equivalent of "911") for assistance. In addition, at locations across the campus and on Memorial Drive, students can use blue-light emergency phones that connect directly to our campus police headquarters, so there's no need to remember a phone number to get help.

Teaching our community about safety

We believe in teaching the members of our community how to behave safely. Our full-time, specially trained crime prevention unit has the sole mission of developing and implementing safety education programs and services on campus. We give students lots to read, and we offer programs throughout the academic year.

MIT Medical's comprehensive health services

All MIT students have access to comprehensive health services right on campus at the MIT Medical Department. Almost all health-care services - including appointments with physicians, X-rays and lab test - are free of charge to registered students. MIT also offers all students reasonably priced hospital insurance. Together, these services - and our emphasis on health education and preventive care - create a healthy environment where you can flourish and concentrate on learning.

The special strength of MIT Medical

MIT Medical is significantly different from most college health services. In addition to serving students, we take care of the entire campus community - our faculty, our staff, and their families. The size and scope of our practice allows us to provide full-service medical care, including 23 clinical specialties such as dermatology, ophthalmology and psychiatry. We also maintain strong affiliations with Boston's renowned teaching hospitals. As well as providing efficient help with common medical problems, we're able to provide expert, ongoing care for students with chronic conditions or serious illnesses.

Easy access to excellent services

With a staff of more than 200, MIT Medical is open for urgent care around the clock, every day of the year. We maintain a policy of same-day appointments for illness. We offer, under one roof, full X-ray, diagnostic testing, and laboratory facilities; a pharmacy; and an 18-bed hospital, accredited with commendation by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Personalized, confidential care

Every MIT student can turn to his or her own personal physician on our staff. All new students are assigned a doctor, whom we encourage them to meet early in the year. Any student is free to choose another physician; the idea is simply to make sure that each student forms a long-term, trusting relationship with a doctor. All student health records are private, which means that MIT Medical staff do not discuss a student's health issues with anyone - including parents or deans - without the student's consent.

An emphasis on prevention

One of the most important things young adults can learn is how to take care of their health. Our physicians talk directly with students about ways to prevent illness, starting with proper nutrition and reasonable sleep habits. During Residence/Orientation Week, students participate in Freshman Explorations, a program that covers such topics as avoiding risky behavior and how to deal with stress. We train housemasters and graduate resident advisors (GRTs) to help with these issues as well. And MIT also sponsors MedLINKS, volunteer undergraduate students who live in campus residences and coordinate health activities, listen to student health concerns and refer students to campus health resources.

Affordable hospital insurance

Massachusetts law requires all students to have adequate hospital insurance, so MIT offers students its own Blue Cross and Blue Shield hospital insurance plan, which provides excellent coverage at reasonable cost. You should compare your current plan to MIT's and determine which coverage best suits you. If your coverage meets Massachusetts requirements, you may chose to file a waiver form; otherwise, you will automatically be enrolled in the MIT plan.

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