Ms Orania Tokatlidis1, Olympia Sarris1, Ms Rebecca Meldrum1
1University of Melbourne, Carlton, Australia
In response to the health needs and issues among university students, the University of Melbourne (UoM) implemented the Health Promotion Program in 2017. UoM students were invited to participate in an online 20-minute health survey to identify their health behaviours and needs. With the literature strongly suggesting the co-design of health programs with students, student participation has been integrated throughout the program, drawing on student knowledge, skills and experiences.
Working groups were established for each of the three key health needs identified in the survey, consisting of three Student Health Promotion Consultants (SHPC) and various experts in the field. SHPCs contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of health promotion projects and initiatives, offer input into the development of policies and guidelines and contribute to the development and maintenance of collaborative partnerships.
To support the increasing profile and demand of the UoM Health Promotion Program, 17 students were recruited to voluntarily participate in Health Ninja Program. Via the application of their health-related knowledge, skills and experiences, Health Ninja’s act as role models for other students in areas of health decision making and behaviours, and raise awareness and promotion of health issues commonly experienced by university students.
Whilst in its early days, the integration of student participation within the UoM Health Promotion Program is proving to be of great value. Via the creation of a supportive environment and appropriate resourcing, Health Ninjas and SHPCs have been supported to progress ideas and advocate for student health needs throughout their various networks.
A group of Health Ninjas proudly showing of their merchandise.