The Healthy Universities is based on an appreciation that by investing in health and wellbeing, universities can enhance student and staff retention, performance and progression; improve staff productivity; and contribute positive to future shaping and corporate responsibility.
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What is this?
The Healthy Universities Network was established in 2006.
Healthy Universities are part of the Healthy Settings approach which adopts a whole system perspective to support health and wellbeing. The Healthy Settings approach aims to make the places where people work, learn, live and play supportive to health and wellbeing. Examples of other healthy settings include: Healthy Schools, Health Promoting Hospitals, Healthy Cities and more recently Healthy Prisons. The ultimate aim is to develop a holistic and ‘whole’ strategic approach to health and wellbeing.
The higher education sector provides important opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of staff and students and the wider community as a whole through the promotion of public health.
Why is this important?
Lifestyle related diseases continue to cause concern globally and the University community is no different.
The development of RGU as a Health Promoting University enhances our profile and contributes to a quality student experience and working environment. Dame Carol Black (2012) highlighted the importance of workplace health and made particular reference to the fact that staff within the University setting are role models for students and should therefore be demonstrating how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
We want to create an environment that enhances health and wellbeing and facilitates learning and personal development for both staff and students. At times, staff and students may experience mental health/stress issues, musculoskeletal injuries; alcohol, tobacco & substance misuse and sexual health issues as well as low levels of physical activity and these are all obvious target areas. By creating a holistic approach to health we aim to alleviate these issues and encourage our staff and students to be pro-active and to look after their wellbeing which will ultimately prevent ill health. As the old saying goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away!’.
In line with A Clear Future: For A Leading Future in a New Era, the student experience is important and the establishment as a Healthy University sets us apart from others.
What are we doing?
In June 2012, SPARG formally approved the formation of a Healthy University Committee within RGU which is chaired by Professor Val Maehle, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care.
The committee members are from all faculties within the University and we are extremely fortunate to have Dr Steve Boorman as our External Advisor.
The Healthy University is now part of the University’s Strategic Implementation Plan. This will ensure that all work undertaken is strategic from a Leadership and Governance approach.
An internal brand has been developed which will allow staff and students to identify with the initiative.
We have a number of student and/or staff focused initiatives managed in different parts of the university. Examples include Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Staff Physical Activity and Wellbeing Questionnaire, Stair Climbing Challenge, Physiotherapy and Clinical Excellence (PACE) clinic, student counselling services, nurse practitioner provision, Garthdee Campus Walks, Ride For Life Event which raised £350 for Comic Relief, healthy eating options within the University catering provision, a wide range of classes, gym and swimming available at RGU SPORT.
This is only the start of RGU becoming a Healthy University and the Committee will be developing short, medium and long term outcomes over the next year. We would welcome staff and student involvement and you can find out more here. The establishment of the Healthy University will provide a central focus and a strategic perspective for these initiatives.
Whether you are staff or students. we want you to be involved in the ongoing health and wellbeing of the RGU community.
This is a long term plan and we NEED you!
Contact Katharine Mieras to get involved.