Response to “Inside the health promotion office”

Editor’s note: This letter was written in response to an anonymous editorial published last week titled “Inside the Health Promotion Office.

For the publisher:

We were disappointed that the Campus opening hours October 17 (online) / October 19 (print) The opinion piece “Inside the Health Promotion Office” included misinformation and omitted some of the key initiatives the office is engaged in to support our diverse student populations. We would like to underscore our commitment to quality care at University Health Service, clarify the variety of ways we collect and use data to drive our programming efforts, share the strategy behind our initiatives, and highlight some of the programs we offer. currently addressing the various target audiences we serve.

Overall quality of care

At University Health Service (UHS), we continually strive to serve our students in a way that aligns with our core values ​​- caring, respect and excellence. According to our Patient Satisfaction Survey, we are proud to say that approximately 90% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the care they received. This has been consistent across our survey population for over a decade.

For students who have comments to share, we have has created many avenues to do this that are more effective than a Campus opening hours article. We encourage students to consider these options in the future:

  • On our Concerns and praise web page, students will find a feedback form to share their thoughts with us. This can be entered anonymously, or students can request a personal follow-up. Each entry is reviewed by the UHS management team twice a month.
  • If students have a concern that they are not comfortable discussing with their provider, they can contact our Patient advocate.
  • Students who are motivated to truly make a change “from the inside” are encouraged to join the UR Student Health Advisory Committee (URSHAC) or our Peer health advocate (PHA) internship program.

A data-driven approach to programming

As the author noted, the UHS Health Promotion Office (HPO) launched its annual assessment of the American College Health Association – National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) in February 2020 and received a response rate by 13.9%.

  • A comprehensive marketing plan has been used to promote the survey and included email, print and social media promotion, face-to-face outreach and incentive strategy.
  • This response rate was similar to that of the national cohort of 39,602 respondents who represented 14.1% of students surveyed at all participating institutions in the United States.

However, ACHA-NCHA is not one among many sources that the HPO uses to direct the development of services and programs.

  • Other surveys conducted over the past 18 months include the Coalition on Student Mental Health and Wellness Mental Wellness Survey, Distance Learning Survey, Wellness Survey graduate students and the Active Minds Mental Health Survey.
  • This quantitative data along with the qualitative feedback gathered through URSHAC, the PHA intern team and focus groups are all used to stimulate the development of the programs and services offered by the HPO.

Strategy and framework

The HPO is a small office responsible for health promotion programs for a large population. Therefore, we must be strategic in how we use our resources to have the greatest impact in meeting the varied needs of a diverse student body.

  • Our strategy is guided by the ecological social model, which includes four levels that have an impact on well-being (individual, social, environmental, political). We focus our efforts on some targeted individual programs, as well as strategies that improve campus culture and change social norms.
  • Offering more programs at the individual level for each target audience, as the author suggests, will not have the greatest impact, nor is it achievable without unlimited resources.
  • We also recognize that we do not have the capacity to focus on all health topics for every population, which is why we support, promote and collaborate on programming with our campus partners such as the University Counseling Center, the Burgett Intercultural Center, Title IX Bureau, and International Services Bureau.

Inclusive health promotion programs and services

If the author were to take a closer look at how the HPO supports our diverse student body, especially students with marginalized identities, he will note:

  • Previous programs such as Expiry (a meditation space created for LGBTQ + students), The inner work of racial justice Reading group and a diverse peer support staff from UR Connected. In addition, the Mindfulness for us The program mentioned by the author will continue to be offered to students from the BIPOC community in the coming semesters.
  • The addition of a working group on diversity, equity and inclusion for URSHAC. They will focus on many projects this year, including creating educational materials for transgender students and developing guidelines for providing gender-affirming care.
  • A full-time program coordinator who was hired for BHP earlier this year. One of its main areas of intervention is inclusive health. In this role, she will create targeted programming for Pride and Queer students of color, becoming certified as a Safe Space facilitator, and lead a mandatory one-year LGBTQ + training for all UHS clinical and administrative staff.

Collaboration and constructive feedback

As a member of an educational institution, it is important to encourage students to think critically about topics such as their health care, public health, and inclusive health promotion. We encourage students to participate in an open dialogue that uses constructive means to share their thoughts and opinions. We work hard to create a space where students feel welcome to share their unique perspectives and ideas directly with us. With collaboration, understanding, and grace, we can all work together to create health promotion programs that are truly always better.

Amy McDonald, MS, CHWP
The author is deputy director of health promotion at the University Health Service and a member of the UHS leadership team.

Ralph Manchester, MD
The writer is the Vice-rector and director of the university health service and professor of medicine.


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