IU experts provide tips for minimizing stress during the holiday season

The holidays.

For some, the time of year consumed by parties, family gatherings and gift buying excursions can be seen as the best of times and the worst of times.

In fact, in the last few weeks my friends, and myself as well, have already started grumbling about “figuring out the holidays,” — where will we go, how long will we stay there, and knowing along the way we’ll never have enough time to plan and go everywhere we want to go.

Cathlene Hardy Hansen

Cathlene Hardy Hansen

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the stressors that can accompany the holidays. Whether it’s managing your time off, finding the perfect gift for your loved one or simply trying to stave off the feeling of loneliness that can come with this time of year, the holidays can be a trying time for some.

But it doesn’t have to be a time of anxiety and sorrow, said Cathlene Hardy Hansen, director of health and wellness at the Indiana University Health Center.

“With all the demands and expectations of the season, the best tip for reducing stress is to simply acknowledge your feelings and think through what is best for you and the ones you care for,” she said.

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Ready to Move IU program pairs student health coaches with university employees

Amy Hull knows she needs to be more active.

But when it comes to movement, the associate director for IU’s Office of Student Financial Assistance admits she needs a little extra encouragement to keep her on the right path.

Move IU

IU employee Bridgett Milner, left, walks with student Katherine Zukerman, middle, and IU employee Amy Hull as part of the Ready to Move IU program. | Photo by IU Communications

So when she heard about the Ready to Move IU program — which pairs employees with graduate students from the School of Public Health-Bloomington — Hull used the opportunity to get motivated and get moving.

“I am very sedate in my job and in my home life,” Hull said. “So I wanted an opportunity to have someone give me that kick in the pants to get moving and take more steps. I need to be more active, and I thought this was a good catalyst to get that going.”

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IU School of Public Health student creates self-examination curriculum for area schools

Samantha Ginther’s task started out simple: help the Olcott Center for Cancer Education update its breast and testicular cancer self-examination curriculum.

A Master of Public Health student at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, Ginther originally set out to simply help the center — which taught a self-examination curriculum in area high schools — update its presentation.

Samantha Ginther

Samantha Ginther

But with the help of her fellow students, professors and a local school corporation, Ginther, who has since graduated and works for My Public Health Direct at IU, was able to create a completely new curriculum that teachers could utilize on their own.

“Due to a lack of resources, the Olcott Center realized it was no longer able to provide the curriculum to schools in the area,” Ginther said. “So we all worked together to develop a comprehensive, completely digital curriculum that teachers can deliver in their classrooms.”

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5 ways to have a safer and healthier Halloween at IU Bloomington

Post by IU Communications colleague Milana Katic:

Halloween at Indiana University

Halloween at Indiana University Bloomington

For some, Halloween weekend in a college town involves partying, which can sometimes lead to risky behavior. It’s as if putting on a costume can somehow shield us from the potential dangers of out-of-control drinking and other scary actions.

However, the Indiana University Bloomington community wants to remind everyone this Halloween season that, as cliché as it sounds, you don’t have to drink or act carelessly to have fun. IU Late Nite, and several other IU organizations are providing a variety of safe, fun alternative Halloween events for students and community members to enjoy throughout the week and weekend.

“Many students want to avoid risky situations during Halloween, and they don’t want to stay in their dorms alone,” said Jackie Daniels, director of IU’s OASIS program and co-facilitator of the IU Late Nite committee. “Additionally students report that the party scene can get old, and Late Nite provides a diversity of events to choose from.”

If you’re interested in a variety of safer Halloween events, here’s a list of five activities to keep in mind:

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Living Learning Center provides a community dedicated to students’ wellness

Indiana University freshman Gabe Nolley grew up actively participating in an array of sports including tennis, basketball and baseball.

Gabe Nolley

Gabe Nolley volunteers at the Hoosiers Hills Food Bank as part of the School of Public Health – Bloomington’s Living Learning Center.

No longer an athlete, Nolley still hopes to turn his love of sports and active lifestyle into a career in either health fitness or sports programming.

So when he came to IU Bloomington from Loogootee, Ind., Nolley not only wanted to focus on his major, he wanted his living experience to reflect his interest. He found that in the School of Public Health-Bloomington’s Living Learning Center.

“Being healthy has always been a big part of my life,” he said. “I love being active and eating healthy, and this is what the LLC promotes: a healthy lifestyle.”

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With flu season approaching, one IU expert is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot

It’s that time of year again.

Time to start thinking about ways to protect yourself against influenza, most commonly known as the flu.

“Influenza is a serious disease,” said Nancy Macklin, a nurse practitioner and director of nursing at the Indiana University Health Center. “We use the term flu to talk about everything from a cold to a stomachache. But we are talking about influenza, a viral disease which can be quite serious.”

Flu shot pic

An IU employee receives a flu shot during a flu shot clinic.

Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus strains which mainly spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. The flu usually strikes suddenly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can last several days with symptoms including fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose.

The flu can be more dangerous for infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system.

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IU researcher reflects on the first White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing

Guest blog courtesy of Brian Dodge, associate professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion.

Sept. 21, 2015, became an unexpectedly meaningful day in my life both as a public health researcher, educator and advocate and as a bisexual man. It marked the first ever White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing, an event for which nearly 100 scientific, governmental, community and other experts gathered in the hallowed halls at the heart of our federal government to discuss issues of importance in the lives of bisexual men, women and others.

Brian Dodge at White House

Brian Dodge, center, poses with bisexual and trans advocate Dr. Scout, left, and bisexual author and advocate Robyn Ochs, right.

Bisexual individuals are a particularly at-risk and understudied public health population, often reporting the highest rates of adverse physical, mental and other health concerns relative to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian individuals — so in many ways, allocating a day to recognize the unique challenges faced by the bisexual community was long overdue. Aside from the obvious logistical and political aspects of developing and implementing such an event, we certainly had our work cut out for us with reviewing, revising and putting forth policy briefs and recommendations on issues as diverse as data collection, education, employment and economics, immigration, mental health and suicide prevention, physical health, violence and HIV prevention, treatment and care (or, in other words, sexual health). It was in the latter area, based on my own scientific and advocacy efforts, which I attempted to contribute … that is, when I was not lost in thought with marveling at how we had come this far.

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IU School of Public Health-Bloomington celebrating milestone year

Mohammad Torabi

Mohammad Torabi

Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington has had a banner year.

In June, the school was awarded full accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health for five years, the maximum for an initial accreditation by the accrediting body.

Throughout the past year, the school has also increased its credit hour production; expanded its undergraduate program to include a degree in environmental health; recruited and hired academic leadership and public health specialists from throughout the country; and is celebrating its third anniversary of becoming the School of Public Health.

“Our school takes its mission of research, teaching and community engagement very seriously,” said Mohammad Torabi, founding dean and Chancellor’s Professor at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “We’re unique as a school on campus, because not only do we conduct important research and teach the next generation of practitioners, preparing them for both rewarding and in-demand careers, but we also play an important role across the campus and throughout our local and regional community in so many ways.”

Now, it is time to celebrate the school’s growth and accomplishments.

The School of Public Health-Bloomington is hosting a Campus and Community Fall Celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 25 on the west side of the School of Public Health building, 1025 E. Seventh St. The event is open to all IU faculty, staff and students and the community.

In honor of the day, IU Provost Lauren Robel and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan have proclaimed Sept. 25 “Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington Day.”

“Quality of life is an important component of wellness,” Torabi said. “The Bloomington campus is a beautiful place that contributes greatly to our lives. With the School of Public Health-Bloomington right in the middle of it all, it’s a great place to bring our friends, colleagues, students and partners together to celebrate all the wonderful things about our campus and our city.”

IU hosting upcoming event that celebrates student recovery

When Indiana University student Jacob Desmond decided to return to campus after seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, he was nervous.

Sober and in recovery, Desmond wanted to make sure he had the support he needed to be successful a second time around.

Jacob Desmond

Jacob Desmond

“My biggest thing was having a social group to do fun, sober things with,” said Desmond who got sober at the age of 19. “The last thing I wanted to do was come down here and not do anything with anyone because I was scared to go out.”

Although IU has a number of programs for students dealing with addiction, Desmond found there wasn’t really a student-run group that served as a supportive and social atmosphere for students in recovery and those supporting recovery.

So with the help of Jackie Daniels, director of OASIS, which provides campus-wide alcohol and drug prevention, education and intervention, Desmond helped create Students in Recovery – Bloomington.

Founded in the spring of 2015, Students in Recovery – Bloomington aims at providing a safe and supportive community for students in addiction recovery. The group was established from a Transforming Youth Recovery grant OASIS received

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IU School of Public Health-Bloomington receives grant to create Healthy Schools Corps program

School districts throughout South Central Indiana will now have an additional resource when it comes to keeping students healthy.

The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington was recently awarded a three-year AmeriCorps grant from Serve Indiana to support a new Healthy Schools Corps program.

School of Public Health-Bloomington

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

Through a partnership with the School of Public Health and IU Health Bloomington, the Healthy Schools Corps program will place AmeriCorps members in 10 Indiana counties starting this fall.

“This is another way Indiana University is being proactive by partnering with IU Health and our local school systems to further promote health and wellness,” said Linda Henderson, community relations specialists for the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.

The AmeriCorps members will assist with recruiting and organizing volunteers on local wellness teams; completing school-based community needs assessments; and drafting coordinated school health plans.

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