Miami University will be part of a national demonstration project to educate students on a variety of health issues such as smoking, diabetes, stress, sexually-related topics, alcohol and drugs and intellectual health.
Depending on the outcome of the project, it could be the blueprint for health promotion at colleges across the country.
Miami has received a $300,000 Ford Foundation grant for a 40-foot mobile unit that, starting in January 2010, will be parked in the Uptown neighborhood from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“The idea is to change the face of health awareness among students where they live, learn, laugh and love,” said Reginald Fennell, professor of health promotion and organizer of the project. “This will be a student-run, student-focused project to help college students be more aware of their own health and health issues in general. It may also give students a chance to initiate research on health-related topics.”
Peer health educators will work on the mobile unit – four will be on duty each night – and will distribute information and answer any questions students who enter the unit may have. All 18 of the peer educators – nine men and nine women – have peer health educator certification, training through the American Lung Association and the Ohio Department of Health and are enrolled in a capstone class in health and wellness.
“We want everything in the unit to be as interactive and informative as possible,” said Meghan Ames, a senior dietetics and health studies major and one of the peer health educators. “There will be a variety of posters and models, like a mechanical human digestive system that shows how your body processes alcohol. We really want to engage the students, and we’ll be switching displays out throughout the year to keep it fresh.”
For more information, contact Reginald Fennell at 513-529-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.