April 20, 2017 8:15AM
For the past 27 years, Rita Girth has worked to keep students at Pittsburg State University healthy. In recognition of that dedication, the Central College Health Association (CCHA) recently honored Girth with the Ruth Sarna Spirit of College Health award.
“The award is special for a lot of reasons,” Girth said, “but it was even more meaningful because Ruth Sarna was there to present the award to me.”
According to the CCHA, the Sarna Award “recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to CCHA, the field of college health, and their own health center and campus.” The award is named after Ruth Sarna, who served 26 years at the nurse-directed health clinic at Baker University.
Girth, the director of operations at PSU’s Bryant Student Health Center, was hired as a student health staff nurse in 1990. She was promoted to the position of assistant director in 2002 and became operations director in 2006.
Girth said she finds her work immensely satisfying, because it goes beyond just treating illnesses, bumps and bruises.
“In college health, we as medical providers have healing opportunities with students well beyond providing treatment for illnesses and injuries,” Girth said. “We have the ability to foster preventative care and encourage students to adopt healthier lifestyles that will benefit them well beyond their academic years.”
Below: Ruth Sarna, right, presents the service award that bears her name to Rita Girth, operations director at the Bryant Student Health Center.