UM-Flint installs wellness vending machine with accessible medication, hygiene items

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A UM-Flint student accesses the new health and wellness vending machine installed in the second floor of the UCEN.
The University of Michigan-Flint has installed a health and wellness vending machine on the second floor of the UCEN. Photo by Jake Cessna, UM-Flint Office of Marketing & Communications

If you're in need of over-the-counter medications, contraceptives or personal care products while on campus, there's no need to make a drug store run as you can now simply visit a Harding Mott University Center vending machine.

The University of Michigan-Flint has installed a health and wellness vending machine on the second floor of the UCEN following a recommendation from U-M's reproductive rights task force and input from student leaders. Similar machines will also be placed on the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses.

Lisa Sancrant

"Wellness vending machines increase access and reduce barriers to health care products, as students are able to access them at any time when on campus," said Lisa Sancrant, UM-Flint student health and wellness senior director. "With many students reporting difficulty finding the time for self-care, increasing access to health and well-being products reduces the stress of untimely health issues and saves time of trying to find over-the-counter medications off campus."

Products include toothpaste and toothbrushes, GasX, Advil, Tylenol, Dramamine, Benadryl, Claritin, triple antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, deodorant, bandages, Tums, cough drops, eye drops, chapstick, rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, condoms and naloxone nasal spray. Once it's available, emergency contraception for pregnancy prevention will be added to the vending machines at a subsidized cost.

The vending machines are intended to increase access to affordable health and wellness products, particularly items that may be needed discreetly, urgently or after hours.

"Wellness vending offers privacy to purchasing sensitive items that students may be hesitant to purchase in a store," Sancrant said. "Hopefully the vending machine makes them feel more comfortable and less anxious about their purchases as no one else is involved when they access products through the vending machine so they do not have to worry about feeling embarrassed or experiencing judgment about purchases."

University Health Service and Wolverine Wellness brought the machines to the three campuses. The UHS pharmacy provides some medications at a lower cost for the machines, and the naloxone is provided at no cost by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. As additional machines are added, a list of locations will be available on the UHS website.

Lindsay Knake is the Communications Coordinator for the UM-Flint Division of Student Affairs. Contact her with any questions, comments, or ideas about the DSA newsletter, social media, events, and communications.