Skip to main content

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 are expensive and should be limited.

For most medical situations, it is best to begin with a visit to the Student Health Center (for students) or a Primary Care Physician.  During evenings and weekends, Urgent Care Centers are an option if you cannot wait for treatment.  Below is a helpful chart that provides examples of when to go to the Student Health Center or Primary Care Physician and when to go to the Emergency Department.

(Adapted from Michigan State University)

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 Health Assist Program provides assistance to people who need healthcare or healthcare coverage (such as TennCare, Medicare, or private insurance) but cannot afford it. Our Health Assist Specialists help clients by identifying community healthcare resources available to them. Health Assist Specialists do more than just make referrals; they are client advocates that help set appointments, fill out applications for insurance and prescription assistance programs, and follow up to ensure our clients get the services they need.

For more information, contact the Health Assist Program:

  • For English call 615-313-9972 or toll free 1-800-269-4038
  • For Spanish call 615-227-7568 or toll free 1-800-254-7568
  • For Kurdish/Arabic call 615-313-9840 or toll free 1-877-652-3046
  • For Bosnian call 615-313-9382 or toll free 1-877-652-3069
  • Email:



  • 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
    • Rite-Aid – 2416 West End Ave., 615-321-4505
    • 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.  For information about this assistance, call 615-936-3938, Monday-Friday 8am-4pm

Prenatal Care

If prenatal care is not covered by your insurance because it is considered a pre-existing condition, there are some resources that may be available to assist you. If you meet income qualifications, you can be eligible for prenatal care through CoverKids, a program of the Tennessee state government.

Shade Tree Clinic and Franklin Road Women’s Health Center provide reduced fee services.  Other similar clinics are available throughout Nashville.