Mission and History


The mission of the Birkam Health Center is to complement the academic mission by assisting students, their families, and other targeted university groups to achieve their optimum level of health so that they can participate in the formal learning process at Ferris State University.

Our Center is a walk-in or by-appointment medical clinic staffed by licensed physicians and registered nurses. We encourage students to view us as their doctor while away from home.

Student Affairs and Ferris Mission


The current Health Center was founded in 1960. In 1969 Frederick Birkam, M.D., came to the Health Center and stayed until his death in 1981. The Health Center was dedicated to Dr. Birkam on October 15, 1988, and the name was changed to the Birkam Health Center.


The terms "assessment" or "evaluation" are not unfamiliar to the staff at the Health Center. The medical team continually employs clinical assessment in the treatment process of every patient to determine the basis for treatment. All staff regard the "patient encounter" at the Health Center as being critical to clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and to our accountability with external constituents including Ferris State University, the State of Michigan, and our accrediting bodies.

Several assessment activities occur each semester or on an annual basis at the Health Center:

  1. Patient Satisfaction Survey
    A sample of patients is surveyed each semester for their satisfaction of services. A paper/pencil series of questions related to receptionist, clinical and billing contacts as well as health education and classroom retention and attendance issues are asked of the students.
  2. Medical Chart Evaluation
    A Health Center work team regularly samples medical charts for accuracy and quality according to documentation, coding, and billing. This is a requirement by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. The University (Instructional Research and Testing, the Health Center and the Counseling Center) administers the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) to identify Ferris State University student health attitudes and behaviors and to compare them to a vast national sample of college students on a year-to-year basis. This provides benchmark data and information on our own students which provides a basis for treatment and intentional programming at both the Health Center and Counseling Center.