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St. Edward's Tests Online Wellness Program with EducationDynamics Content

St. Edward's University in Austin, TX has completed a pilot intended to explore the connection between a student's physical and mental health issues and academic performance and quality of life. The student health and wellness program, developed by EducationDynamics, offered interactive online modules with information and resources in six areas: maintaining positive relationships, improving mood and self-esteem, managing stress and anxiety, addressing eating and body issues, coping with trauma, and cultivating a healthy lifestyle.

The content ran between January and May 2009 and engaged students through quizzes and self-tests. Participants found articles on subjects such as "Making Friends: Where to Start?" "Am I Just in a Funk or Do I Need Help?" and "Will I Ever Be Happy with My Body?" The goal was to provide preventative health information, resources, and referrals to campus support services.

The program was marketed to the school's 4,900 undergraduate and graduate students using an e-mail campaign developed by EducationDynamics and incorporating design elements that branded the program with the look and feel of St. Edward's; stories in student newsletters; referral cards distributed by health and counseling services staff; giveaways at outreach programs; and monthly peer health education events showcasing each module.

Study results indicated that 43 percent of students participated in the pilot. Those who participated gained increased knowledge of relationship skills, stress and anxiety management, healthy lifestyle practices, and enhanced mood and self-esteem. Additionally, 80 percent of users reported finding the content enjoyable and helpful, and more than 89 percent said they were likely to recommend the program to their friends.

"St. Edward's is committed to educating and cultivating the whole person," said Sarah Porter, staff psychologist and Wellness & Outreach Services program director. "A deliberate focus on the health and wellness of our students is part of that commitment."

EducationDynamics has three programs intended to help schools enhance the health and safety of their students: Student HealthQuest, to promote physical and psychological health and wellness; eScreening, to assess overall student wellness and make students aware of support services on campus; and an alcohol program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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