What does a healthy community look like? What does it mean to be healthy?
These are questions driving AdventHealth University’s (AHU) theme for the year, “Healthy: You, Campus, and Community.” As a University advancing the practice and innovation of whole-person health, it’s important to cultivate a campus that exemplifies that ethos.
“It’s easy to take our health for granted,” said Edwin I. Hernández, Ph.D., president of AHU, at the University’s Convocation in September. Hernández spoke to the assembly of employees and students about the choices, big and small, many make every day about health — whether deciding between taking the stairs or the elevator, or between salad or pizza for lunch.
But, these choices aren’t exclusive to physical health. Whole-person care means focusing on spiritual and mental health too. A video that played during the Convocation showed students answering the question of what being healthy means to them. They emphasized the importance of caring for the mind, body, and spirit. A balance of all three is the key to leading a healthy lifestyle. “Eating properly … exercising, but it also means having a great relationship with God,” said Marielle Griffiths, AHU OTA student.
Hernández challenged each person to make their own health a priority. “We want to be part of a vision of life that is flourishing. We want you to be healthier. We want our community to be healthier … anywhere we may be.”
This healthy campus initiative is being carried out as a series of monthly challenges. Each month introduces a new theme with a daily goal for participants to complete. The challenge themes cover physical, mental, and spiritual health, which reinforces the importance of whole-person care.
For October, AHU challenged its campus to eat one veggie salad a day. The salad challenge team sent out daily emails with recipes, as well as more resources for people to find salad prepping tips. The team behind the challenge even partnered with local restaurants to offer discounts to AHU employees and students.
To further engage the campus, a live salad-prep demonstration was held in the lobby and streamed live over social media. The intent is to reach a wider community, not just AHU’s campus. Social media hashtags are utilized; there are giveaway contests; and departments are encouraged to create their own challenges to complete, post photos on social media, and engage students in activities.
For November, the challenge is “Gratitude” — perfect for a time of year when many reflect on all the blessings they are thankful to receive. Other planned challenges include exercise, prayer, self-care, and more.
AHU’s campus has been developing skilled professionals who live the healing values of Christ for more than 25 years. As Alexia Stewart, an AHU nursing student, said in response to what a healthy community looks like, “… It kind of looks like AHU — everyone’s happy, everyone’s always supporting each other.” Healthy faculty, staff, students, and graduates are better equipped to provide whole-person care that extends the healing ministry of Christ.
Adventist University of Health Sciences | November 2018