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Where to go for Health Care

Health Insurance

It is important for all students, scholars, and their families members to maintain health insurance coverage for the entire time they are present in the U.S.

Details about health insurance and how to select a plan can be found here.

Where do I go for health care?

There are several types of health care providers in the U.S. and it can sometimes be hard to know which is appropriate to choose.  It is important to remember that visits to the hospital emergency department (also know as the “ER”) are expensive and should be limited to true emergencies (such as heavy bleeding, severe chest pain, or broken bones).

For most medical situations, it is best to begin with a visit to the Student Health Center (for students) or a primary care physician (PCP).  During evenings and weekends, urgent care centers (also called walk-in clinics) are an option if you have a non-emergency issue but cannot wait to see a doctor.  Examples of issues that an urgent care center can treat include the flu, sprains, or small cuts.

Always check the website of your insurance provider to see which PCPs, clinics, and hospitals are considered “in-network.” A healthcare provider that is in-network will be less expensive than a provider who it out-of-network.

How do I find a health care provider?

Zerfoss Student Health Center

  • Students who are enrolled at Vanderbilt should always first visit the Zerfoss Student Health Center for non-emergency health care.  The staff are available to meet all of the primary care needs and can assist in finding a specialist if needed.
  • Appointments are strongly encouraged, but a walk-in clinic is available for urgent matters. Information on how to schedule an appointment can be found here.
  • Emergency consultation services are available after hours to assist students in making decisions about illnesses, injuries, and whether to use emergency services.

Community Resources

  • The Student Health Center has compiled a list of health care providers in Nashville that are available for students, scholars, and families. The list can be found here.
  • Please note that your health insurance plan may designate some providers as “in-network”, meaning the cost to you is lower when you use these providers.  It is important to check with your insurance plan before selecting a provider.
  • Health Assist Tennessee is a non-profit organization that provides language services and medical interpretation.


  • The Student Health Center can dispense some medications to students.
  • Vanderbilt Medical Center has several pharmacies available for patients.
  • There are many options for pharmacies near campus, including some located in grocery or general merchandise stores.  Some options are listed below.
    • CVS – 426 21st Ave South, 615-321-2590
    • Walgreens – 3010 West End Ave, 615-269-9881
    • Kroger (Green Hills) – 2131 Abbott Martin Rd, 615-297-4431
    • Target – 26 White Bridge Road, 615-352-8484
    • Wal-Mart – 7044 Charlotte Pike, 615-352-1240

Low Cost Options and Financial Assistance

Those with limited financial resources may find a need to seek out lower cost health care options.  There are some clinics and organizations in Nashville that offer services at reduced cost, usually based on your income.

*Please note that F and J non-immigrants are not eligible for federal assistance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.*

Shade Tree Clinic –  Free clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students, including prenatal care

Siloam Family Health Center – Provides care for people without insurance

Vanderbilt Medical Center Patient Financial Assistance Program – VUMC patients with financial need may be eligible for a discount on services.