WCSU recognized for efforts to create campus wellness culture

The Gates at Western Connecticut State University (Andrew Gusciora/Wikimedia)

DANBURY, CT – Western Connecticut State University has been recognized by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) initiative for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. The university is one of only 166 universities and colleges around the world to be recognized for this achievement. WCSU’s efforts to ask students about their exercise habits – and its treatment of that information as a health vital sign similar to blood pressure and cholesterol levels while providing faculty, staff and students free exercise counseling – helped WCSU earn gold level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program.

WCSU EIM-OC Program Director Jeff Schlicht of the Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences (HPX) commented on the recognition and the on-campus program. “This year our EIM-OC program made a giant leap forward when Director of Health Services Nancy Haensch and her staff began providing exercise prescriptions. This connection between medical care and exercise is the ultimate goal of Exercise is Medicine and we hope that students of today who become health care leaders tomorrow bring this philosophy with them and incorporate it into their own health care practice. All students, regardless of career track, benefit from understanding how important exercise is for maintaining and promoting good health.”

EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community. The recognition program, launched in 2014, honors campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness and awards gold, silver or bronze status based on their activities

EIM-OC Vice President of Exercise is Medicine Robyn Stuhr commented on the awards. “We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.”

Of the 166 campuses recognized this year, 77 received gold, 62 silver and 27 bronze. According to the ACSM website, gold, silver and bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized at the 2021 World Congress Annual Meeting, in Washington, D.C.

Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess student physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. To view a complete list of recognized schools and learn more about the EIM-OC program visit www.exerciseismedicine.org/support_page.php/eim-on-campus/.

WCSU’s HPX department is the premier health promotion and education program in the northeast. According to the website, “the mission of the HPX department is to link education and research with service learning, student teaching and internship experiences. In addition, the department educates and creates opportunities about making healthy lifestyle choices.”

The ACSM co-launched Exercise is Medicine® in 2007 with the American Medical Association. ACSM continues to manage the global health initiative, which seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of health care. Visit www.ExerciseisMedicine.org for additional information.

The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. For more details, visit www.acsm.org.

For more information about WCSU’s HPX department, contact Schlicht at schlichtj@wcsu.edu.

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