Let’s face it. Health is personal. A new wellness initiative gives students an opportunity to get personalized wellness plans. After meeting with a Whistler staff member to discuss wellness strategies, students will receive a brochure with personally relevant information.
These wellness plans can include appointment reminder cards, a list of action items for the student to complete, contact information for other staff members across campus or informational inserts regarding a particular wellness topic.
Crystal LaPidus-Mann, assistant director of counseling services and integrated care coordinator, says “the personalized wellness plans shift conversations from a problem-focus to sharing information with students about ‘how you can do your best work.’”
The title of the initiative, “Be Well To Do Well,” sums up the scope of Denison’s wellness plan. It’s designed to broaden the understanding of wellness across campus in a variety of ways, including integrating the care system for students and providing educational programming.
LaPidus-Mann says the health and counseling staffs located in Whistler Hall have worked together before, but the integrated care initiative creates “a formalized collaboration” between the two departments.
The personalized wellness plans shift conversations from a problem-focus to sharing information with students about ‘how you can do your best work.’”
Under the new system, patient records, treatment information and referrals will be shared among health and counseling staff. For example, if a physician recommends that a patient see the counseling staff, the integrated care program streamlines this process by asking the health or counseling teams to follow-up with the patient about speaking to a counselor.
The definition of wellness is expanding from the traditional understanding of physical health to include spiritual and emotional health as well. Wellness is less about a short-term issue, more about a philosophy of life.
“Denison’s program mirrors national health care providers’ moves to consider health broadly and offer care outside the strict medical paradigm,” says LaPidus-Mann.
As an example of how the conversation has been evolving, students enrolled in Assistant Professor of Communication Laura Russell’s Health Communication course in Spring 2014 maintained a blog with recommendations about practicing wellness at Denison.
Some blog entries include “Friends and Support: Remedies for Emotional Recovery,” “Transitioning Back to Campus after Studies Abroad: A Closer Look at the Challenges to Social Well-Being,” and “Mobile Phones and Social Wellness: How “Connected” Are We?”