The Office of Public Health Practice at IU’s School of Public Health celebrated National Public Health Week this week with a series of events such as food drives and de-stressing activities.
Each year, during the first full week of April, the American Public Health Association organizes NPHW to educate people about public health issues ranging from mental wellness to access to health care.
Ta-Kisha Jones, associate director of public health practice at SPH, led the team organizing NPHW UI This year. Jones said NPHW brings communities together to celebrate how healthier and stronger people are when united.
APHA has chosen “Public Health is where you are” as the theme for the week.
“This is a week to celebrate not just public health professionals, but the work that is being done through our public health,” Jones said. “It means that whether you are on campus or off campus, whether you are a dentist, whether you are a person who takes out the trash, whether you are a nurse or just a student, public health is where you are. .”
IU’s NPHW had a different theme: “Leveraging Resilience and Movement.” Jones said this theme focused on celebrating the efforts of students and staff to maintain the health and well-being of everyone on campus.
Jones said the team organizing IU NPHW collected data on public health issues facing students today, such as mental health issues, and used university and community resources to address them.
On Monday, students were able to relax by spending time with two Monroe County Humane Society therapy dogs outside of SPH.
Experts discussed environmental racism and advocacy in a roundtable on Tuesday, which was the first in a three-part series on June 19.
The Office of Public Health Practice also set up student appreciation stations at SPH and the Indiana Memorial Union so students can make beaded bracelets and decorate potted plants on Tuesday.
Aly Lewis, an IU Student Health Center student intern who worked at the potted plant station, said she enjoys interacting with the students and talking to them about public health.
“It’s fun to bring joy into people’s lives throughout the day with a little potted plant while educating them,” Lewis said.
On Wednesday, SPH career coaches and a panel of guests discussed professionalism and inclusion in the workplace.
Rory James, director of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion at SPH, told the panel that students should increase their cultural and emotional intelligence as it is an important part of professional development.
“We’ve seen this shift where now in this post-pandemic workplace we’re more in tune to welcome and accept people of different identities,” James said.
On Thursday, students participated in a scavenger hunt promoting physical activity and learned how to prepare an inexpensive plant-based meal.
Katie Shepherd, a dietitian at IU’s Student Health Center, led the cooking demonstration. Shepherd said NPHW helps people outside the public health field understand the importance of public health.
“Before COVID, people didn’t really know what public health was,” Shepherd said. “These events help people be even more aware of public health and their own health.”
Students can practice mindfulness meditation and learn self-care techniques Friday on Zoom.
The Washington County Wellness Fair will take place on Saturday, the last day of IU’s NPHW. It will include free health services and wellness resources such as health screenings and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid application assistance.
Jones said events so far have been very successful in educating people about their health.
“We’re focusing on good nutrition, healthy movement, and not just the sedentary lifestyle that we’re used to now with a lot of remote work, and dealing with mental health issues,” Jones said. “Finding a way to integrate everything and be overall good is the key.”