Health initiatives launch at Metropolitan Campus
By Kenna Caprio
Nurse Ann Mahan wants members of the FDU community to take better care of their health.
About six years ago, the nurse practitioner and director of Student Health Services — Metropolitan Campus, established the FDU Community Health Taskforce. Originally conceived to react to any health crises that may arise on campus, the group started thinking proactive once SHSMetro began hosting flu shot clinics for students, faculty and staff.
That proactive stance, coupled with recent developments and possible changes to the University’s health and benefits plan, got Mahan thinking.
“People are not utilizing preventative care and getting mammograms, colonoscopies and annual physical exams,” says Mahan.
These realizations concern Mahan. So, she decided to institute health and wellness initiatives and programs, in an effort to increase knowledge across campus.
Mahan, along with fellow SHSMetro nurses Carol Brown-Taylor and Joan Cann, plans to launch a “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” series in fall 2013. “We want to have guest speakers from the FDU community or maybe local hospitals,” says Mahan. Students and staff can bring a brown bag lunch or buy from the dining hall. “It’s good for students and staff to see each other on informal terms,” says Mahan.
These lunches will be an extension of what the two already implemented earlier this year at the monthly staff social “Greet, Eat and Meet,” or GEM, sponsored by the provost’s office. The ladies added a salad option to accompany the pizza offered at GEM and introduced a health and wellness-related “topic of the month” at the event.
Mahan and Brown-Taylor align GEM topics with national holidays and months — October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and February is American Heart Health Month, for example. They’ve even raffled off health and wellness-themed baskets full of nutritional goodies.
“May is the final GEM of the year and we have a special surprise. It’s relaxation month! We’ll be trying to wind down and relax as we get into summer,” says Mahan.
The nurses are also coordinating health and wellness tours on campus. Next up is a trip to the gym! “This month (April) we’ll be offering tours and equipment orientation at the Fitness Center with director Scott Fisher,” says Mahan.
Tours of the dining hall were recently offered to Metropolitan Campus students, faculty and staff by Gourmet Dining corporate dietitian Jenn Bostedo, a registered dietitian.
“Too often people just go to the same food stations, but there are so many other options out there. Fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Make sure you get a variety of colors,” advises Bostedo. “Take advantage of the 50-foot salad bar. They are much harder to come by once you have graduated.”
Even better, eating healthy can benefit more than just one body — right now Gourmet Dining will donate one dollar, for every salad that a student, faculty or staff member eats, to a nonprofit that supports getting fresh fruit and vegetables to the underprivileged. Gourmet is also working with contestants in its semester-long weight loss contest.
The SHSMetro nurses and Bostedo want to keep the campus community feeling fresh and healthy.
“Wash your hands, get a flu shot, drink water, take walks, eat fruit and vegetables and take the stairs,” recommend Mahan and Brown-Taylor.
Bostedo adds, “Better food choices help you succeed in all your endeavors, academic and physical. Sports drinks are not effective unless you’re working out strenuously. Soda adds extra empty calories. If you put gas in your car, it’s going to take you further. The same is true of breakfast, it takes you further. Try: low-fat dairy, high fiber cereal, a piece of fruit or high fiber granola bar.”
These small changes can make a big health difference.
“We’re just trying to do our bit to increase education and awareness on campus,” says Mahan.
Contact Bostedo at firstname.lastname@example.org for more on monthly Gourmet Dining nutrition events and free nutrition counseling (available on both of FDU's N.J. campuses).