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November 6, 2008

"Create Healthy Hawks" initiatives take flight at ULM; Fall Health Fair set for Nov. 13

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is determined to “Create Healthy Hawks” by way of three progressive initiatives.

Meningitis Campaign

Student Health Services recently launched a drive educating students, faculty and staff on the dangers of meningitis and increasing the number of freshmen vaccinated against the potentially fatal disease, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers first-time students living in residence halls as a very high-risk group.

The Student Government Association donated $2,000, matched by an equivalent amount from Student Health Services, to offset the cost of these vaccines. Eligible students will be able to receive the $100 vaccination for a cost of $10 at Student Health Services or will be referred to the Ouachita Parish Health Unit to receive the immunization for $10.

For information, contact Student Health Services at 318-342-1651.

Fall Health Fair

The ULM Fall Health Fair is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m.– 2 p.m., with the goal of “Creating Healthy Hawks.” Student Health Services and the School of Nursing will collaborate with multiple on-campus departments and community organizations.

Student Health Services will give out meningitis information. The School of Nursing will offer free blood pressure screening, and will operate multiple informational tables on various student specific health care topics. The Counseling Center will provide information on stress management. The Dental Hygiene Department will demonstrate healthy dental care.

Students will have an opportunity to learn about back safety and have their back packs weighed by the Occupational Therapy Department. Free hearing screening and vocal training will be provided by the Speech-Language Pathology Department. The School of Pharmacy will conduct free blood glucose screening. The ULM Activity Center staff will collaborate with the Kinesiology Department to promote wellness in exercise.

Ace, the ULM mascot, will also be on hand to show his support of “Healthy Hawks.”

Haik and Humble Eye Center will provide free vision screening. The Campus Activities Board donated $600 towards $60 gift cards for full eye exams, if students require further testing. Student Health Services is matching the CAB donation. Haik and Humble are providing the exams for half price and are also giving an additional 10 gift cards.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals personnel will assist female students with registration for “Take Charge” – a women’s health program in Louisiana that assists them with free health exams and contraceptive management. DHH is also hosting an emergency preparedness table directed specifically at the student population.

The Louisiana Office of Public Health will pass out information on STD prevention. GO CARE, a community-based HIV prevention and management group, will provide information on HIV prevention.

Representatives from Gallagher Insurance will discuss the health insurance plans available to ULM students.

According to Marge Michel, manager of the Student Health Clinic, “Student Health Services, the ULM Counseling Center, multiple student organizations, and departments on campus have been very involved this semester in providing opportunities for students to learn more about their health risks and prevention strategies. The number of participants and free health screenings available grows annually.

“As members of the American College Health Association, we recognize that we have the same types of health care concerns for our student population as other colleges across America. According to the ACHA, the top five impediments to academic performance are stress, cold/flu/sore throat, sleep difficulties, concern for a friend or family member, and depression and anxiety disorders.”

HIV Testing and Prevention

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Student Health Services, along with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, will host a HIV Prevention Seminar Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Bayou Suites Conference room on campus.

The community-based HIV prevention organization GO CARE will provide the guest lecture.

Michel quoted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, which states that about 40,000 people become infected with HIV each year, half of who are under 25 years of age. “Young African-Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV. The only sure way to know if you have it is to get tested. The recent availability of free HIV testing in Student Health Services has opened an avenue for involvement of student leaders on our campus to engage in activities to promote HIV testing and prevention.”

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