269567 Peer Advocates vs. Educators: Understanding the Efficacy of an Integrative Approach to Wellness among College Students

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maralis B. Mercado, MPH , Duke Student Wellness Center (DUWELL), Duke University, Durham, NC
C. Colgate Taylor, MEd , Office of Assessment and Professional Development Programs, Division of Student Affairs, Duke University, Durham, NC
Thomas Szigethy, MA , Duke Student Wellness Center (DUWELL), Duke University, Durham, NC
Scott Leighty, BS , Duke Student Wellness Center (DUWELL), Duke University, Durham, NC
As the diversity of the college student population increases and programs are competing for their attention, a paradigm shift toward strategies aimed at improving the health and well-being is needed. Previous studies on peer educators have shown mixed findings on their efficacy as well. Following the need for more targeted, holistic interventions, the application to diverse populations, and the competition for students' attention, the Wellness Advocate Program was developed. Using Stage Theory of Organizational Change and the Duke Integrative health coaching model, the Duke University Student Wellness Center (DUWELL) has developed a student-driven advocacy model to promote the health and wellness of the college student. In a Pilot program, 40 individuals were identified to become “Wellness Advocates”. This interactive presentation will cover the pilot implementation of the intervention, including the selection of the Wellness Advocates, roles and responsibilities, the integration and dissemination of evidence-based health and wellness messages and strategies to encourage a decline in high-risk health behaviors (e.g., substance abuse and risky sexual behavior). Presenters will describe ways in which this model contrasts to many traditional models of peer education programs, including the self-driven goals and program development. The model used for assessment of the pilot will be shared and preliminary findings on the reach and effectiveness within the organizations will also be discussed. Based on the pilot implementation of the Wellness Advocate program, opportunities for growth and implications for future work on college campuses, including application to a residential community model, will be considered.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
• Discuss trends in the use of student involvement and wellness models on college campuses. • Identify the need for wellness advocacy on college campuses within student organizations. • Describe the process of implementing and initial findings from a pilot advocacy program within Greek organizations and communities of students.

Keywords: Health Promotion, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the Health and Wellness program coordinator for the Student Wellness Center. I am qualified to present because I oversee and advise student health and wellness programs and organizations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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