Partners for Health
KEENE, TEX. – The Center for Wellness Integration (CWI), a new Southwestern Adventist University initiative, is already actively collaborating with various local organizations to promote whole-person wellness as it seeks to involve students, faculty, staff and the community to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the surrounding area.
The center’s mission is to “Partner with community representatives and agencies to provide support for the well-being of our neighbors.”
Educated in community health and faith community nursing, Terri Gibson is an associate professor for the university’s nursing department and the creator and director of the center. Gibson has found an outlet in the center for her passion of promoting whole-person wellness.
“I’m most excited about the intentionality behind the center,” says Gibson. “We’re intentionally partnering with local agencies while providing opportunities for our students to be actively engaged in the community.”
What does this intentionality look like? Last year, the university ran a diabetes reversal program that influenced 130 local residents and produced statistically significant reductions in weight, body-mass index and systolic blood pressure for two cohorts of participants.
For the fall of 2019, the university’s religion department began offering a class called Integrated Wellness Connections, specifically designed to take a whole-person approach to therapeutic communication. The center recently launched its website focused on wellness education and event promotion.
To truly advocate for whole-person wellness, Gibson knew that all aspects of wellness needed representation in the center’s leadership. She invited five faculty members to join her on the center’s leadership team, each from a different discipline related to one of the five aspects of whole-person wellness–economic, physical, social, emotional and spiritual. Many of these faculty members were already engaged in programs that aligned with the center’s mission. Now, as part of the CWI, these community-focused wellness programs have a central hub for coordination and event promotion.
Visit SWAU.edu/CWI for more information, or follow the center’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/SWAUWellness.
By Brianne Michalski