Kelowna university introduces a new course focusing on student health

Call it a health dose of education.

UBC Okanagan students will have a new elective course to consider this fall when the university introduces its HEAL 100 course on health and well-being.

Developed over the past year by the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, HEAL 100 will offer an in-depth look at health studies with an emphasis on student health – focusing on education, research and their impact on a variety of student health issues.

“The course is for first-year students, when they’re making that big transition to university,” said Sally Stewart, senior instructor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences.

“We want to give students the tools and techniques to really thrive in a university environment. We already offer health programs – human kinetics, nursing, and facets of health and well-being in psychology courses, for example – but this course is more for students to develop health competencies.”

A broad-based course, HEAL 100 explores all the dimensions of well-being and health including physiology, nutrition, mental health and well-being, sleep, and mindfulness.

In 2015, post-secondary institutions from around the world gathered at UBC Okanagan to develop an international charter for health-promoting universities and colleges. Known as the Okanagan Charter, the document is a commitment to embed health in campus policies and services, to create environments which support health and personal development, and to become communities with a culture of well-being.

“This course specifically is a way of putting well-being as a top priority for our UBC students,” said Stewart. “We want students to be well, so they can do well in their university life. Well-being is linked to academic success.”

Stewart noted that no matter what type of work graduates go into, they will take with them the health competencies learned through the HEAL 100 course.

“To me, that’s another huge benefit of this course,” said Stewart. “It can have long-term health implications in our broader community for years to come.”

Other than students in the Human Kinetics program, students from any faculty at UBC Okanagan may register for HEAL 100. Details are posted in the UBC Okanagan academic calendar.