Bowling Green State University recently hired a community health educator as part of its continued investment into the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff and commitment to the BGSU Community of Care action plan.
A recent BGSU graduate, Lauren Albert ‘21 began her role as the university’s third health educator this summer. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and is now pursuing her Master of Public Health.
Albert is initially focusing on hazing prevention and education and envisions using a boots-on-the-ground approach to engaging with student leaders.
“When we talk about late-night events or educational workshops, I think there’s always a certain demographic of students you’re going to miss,” she said. “I want to meet students where they are and find out what kind of education they’re receptive to. I want to have honest conversations so we can work to understand why hazing happens and develop ways to stop it from happening.”
Albert’s work with students to eradicate hazing aligns with the university’s larger initiatives, including the first-ever Ohio Anti-Hazing Summit being held at BGSU this week.
As a community health educator, Albert is primarily responsible for identifying the health issues most widely impacting students, faculty and staff through surveys, focus groups and cultivating key relationships across campus. She will develop real-time strategies to address those needs based on the information gathered.
“It’s really about recognizing what type of education or resources we need so we can make the most impact,” said Ben Batey, chief health and wellness officer at BGSU. “Public health is about responding to where the need is. If we’re starting to see a health trend that we need to get in front of and provide more education on, the health educator will have the flexibility to do that.”
Aside from hazing prevention and education, Albert plans to develop resources to support alcohol and substance misuse and abuse, diversity and inclusion and sexual misconduct and Title IX. The two existing health educators focus on physical and mental health, so the addition of Albert broadens the support network across campus to include all facets of an individual’s health.
“The goal of our health educators is to build a bridge between the needs of our BGSU community and the resources we’re providing to support health and wellness,” Batey said. “Adding Lauren as our community health educator elevates the support we can offer to fully address the range of needs within our campus community.”
All three health educators will be aligned closely with the university’s Life Design program as an additional avenue to connect with students and help them understand the importance of prioritizing well-being throughout their college careers and beyond.
“Wellness is a spectrum,” Batey said. “Our goal is to help individuals move along that spectrum toward wellness, which we know will be different for everybody. We want to ensure that whatever the need, we have the resources to support the journey.”