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Cougar Health Services feature

April Peer Health Educator of the Month – Mari Irvan

Photo of Mari Web
Photo of Mari Web

 

Mari Irvan is a fourth year senior at WSU completing a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in human development. She joined the peer health education program in the fall of 2018. Her peers in the program nominated her for the April Peer Health Educator of the Month award. This award is given to peer health educators in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the program. We sat down with Mari to hear more about her time in the program and why she thinks other students would benefit from joining.

How has being a peer health educator been meaningful to you?

MI: Going into the program, I was excited about the opportunity to make a difference on campus and be involved in a club that promotes various aspects of health. Being in the program has opened my eyes to different opportunities after graduation and my trajectory has definitely changed.

I’m going to be trained as a community coalition coordinator working for the state to prevent substance abuse at the community level. And I don’t think that would have happened without this spark of interest.

How do you think being a peer health educator has built career skills?

MI: Throughout school, you get opportunities to stand up in front of a classroom and do a presentation. But something I didn’t expect from [being a peer health educator] was being able to gain skills in how to present in a very engaging way.

You learn how to get the audience to want to participate and to feel the information personally relates to them, no matter who they are. I think this makes presenting a lot more effective and fun for everybody.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a peer health educator?

MI: One of the most impactful things I did as a peer health educator was go through Mental Health First Aid training. I liked how it teaches you how to respond to someone who is having a crisis. This isn’t something covered in a lot of my psychology classes and it can be really difficult to respond in these situations.

What do you do in the moment? Or what do you do if you see someone who you’re really concerned about? How do you be direct and ask them ‘hey, are you ok?’ I think this is easier said than done. [What we learned] was very applicable and is something everyone should know.

What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a peer health educator?

MI: [Being a peer health educator] is a great opportunity to be a leader and to be part of something that is making a positive impact. You will be surprised at how much you learn as an individual about different aspects of health and safety. What I learned was super applicable for when I was starting to look for internships to complete my human development degree and for what I would do after graduation.

I don’t regret joining at all. It has been one of my favorite things I’ve done at WSU. I’m glad I was able to snag the opportunity before I graduated, and I would definitely recommend it.

Help us facilitate ‘Booze, Sex and Reality Checks’ for incoming students

Instructor speaking to a room of students
Instructor speaking to a room of students

 

Our Health Promotion team is offering an exciting opportunity to lead new Cougs through the Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks (BSRC) workshop. Incoming students under the age of 21 attend this evidence-based program as part of their Week of Welcome experience.

As a Facilitator, you will gain public speaking experience, receive training in motivational interviewing, and become equipped to facilitate group discussions. As Support Staff, you will participate in implementing Week of Welcome workshops and develop skills in customer service.

Opportunities Available

BSRC Lead Facilitator and Co-Facilitator

  • ROLE: Lead Facilitators take the lead in presenting content for BSRC workshops. Co-Facilitators assist Lead Facilitators during BSRC workshops and present basic content
  • WHO CAN APPLY: WSU staff or graduate students (undergraduate students can also apply for Co-Facilitator role)
  • PAY RATE: Will be discussed once application has been submitted

Support Staff

  • ROLE: Help set up workshops, sign-in students, direct students to correct workshop locations, and answer general questions.
  • WHO CAN APPLY: Anyone (undergraduate students encouraged to apply)
  • PAY RATE: $12 per hour

Job Requirements

BSRC Lead and Co-facilitator

  • Attend all 10 Facilitator trainings (8:30am – 12:00pm)
    • On Tuesdays – June 25th, July 9th, July 16th, July 23rd, and July 30th
    • And on Wednesdays – June 26th, July 10th, July 17th, July 24th, and July 31st
  • Attend 1 logistics training (2 hours long)
    • Either on August 8th or 9th
  • Available to facilitate workshops August 10th through August 17th

Support Staff

  • Attend 2 Support Staff trainings (8:00am – 5:00pm)
    • Both August 8th and 9th
  • Available to work full-time August 10th through August 17th

How to Apply

BSRC Lead Facilitator and Co-Facilitator

Applications for these two positions will be accepted through May 31st. If you are interested, apply here.

Support Staff

Applications for this position will be accepted through April 5th. If you are interested, apply here.

 

We hope you’ll join us this summer!

Questions?

Contact Health Promotion:

Phone: 509-335-9355
Email: cougarhealth.healthpromotion@wsu.edu

Become a peer health educator

Photo of Cougar Health Services Peer Health Educators

This fall, our health promotion team is continuing a peer health education program. Peer health educators are a diverse group of undergraduate leaders who work with us to educate and empower their fellow students. Students who participate in this program facilitate workshops, represent CHS at campus events, table, and collaborate with campus partners.

We consistently hear from students who are interested in peer health education programs, and studies show that students view peer health educators as credible and trustworthy sources of information. The program is supported by the Service & Activity Fee and will help increase our collaboration with students.

Students who participate in the program will receive a range of professional development opportunities, including training and hands-on experience. Peer educators will develop leadership and public speaking skills, foster positive working relationships, and gain foundational knowledge in a variety of health topics, including violence prevention, mental health, substance use, and sexual health.

The application for becoming a peer health educator will open March 18 and close on April 19.

Students who are accepted into the program will receive BACCHUS training on Sunday, September 8th and Sunday, September 15th from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Students will then take an exam for their peer educator certification. The program has a one year commitment with 25 hours of involvement per semester and bi-weekly meetings which occur on Wednesdays from 4:00 – 5:30pm.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Peyton Prothero.

Protect yourself from flu

student using hand sanitizer
girl using hand sanitizer

We’re in the middle of a very active flu season and we’re starting to see cases of influenza at our medical clinic. Here’s how you can protect yourself from the flu and get the care you need!

Know the symptoms

Make sure you know the symptoms of flu and cold, and when to see a health care provider. Remember that flu viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

If you feel sick, stay home

You might not want to miss class, work, or other responsibilities, but the most important thing you can do is rest and avoid spreading germs to others.

According to the university policy on absences, instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals. If your instructor asks for a note, you can provide the Cougar Health Services letter on excused student absences.

Get medical care

You can make an appointment at our medical clinic online or over the phone. Keep in mind that our same-day appointments are limited due to short-staffing. If you need or want to seek care from a community provider, we can help you with referrals and questions.

You can also call our main line at 509-335-3575 for 24/7 advice from nursing staff. When the clinic is closed, your call will be directed to a nurse at Harborview Medical Center.

If you have mild cold or flu symptoms, check out our guide on managing symptoms at home.

Protect yourself from flu

Try to avoid spreading germs and practice healthy habits for preventing flu. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time! The peak of flu season can run through March, and flu activity can continue until May.

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurances. Check with your insurance provider for details on your coverage and where to go. You can check with our clinic on our flu shot supplies and make an appointment by calling 509-335-3575.