Peer-to-peer health education can improve performance in school, University Health Services representatives said in an annual health panel Thursday.
The Student Health Advisory Committee presented its third annual Town Hall, “Put the You in UHS,” in San Jacinto Residence Hall to encourage open discussion between students and a panel of health experts. The panel, consisting of state and UHS officials and educators, answered questions regarding insurance use at UHS, the Affordable Care Act, health leadership and the relationship between health and grades. Panel members discussed the use of insurance at UHS and the steps a student must take in order to receive medical coverage at UHS. UHS associate director LeAnn Gutierrez said students have experienced many changes since the Affordable Care Act was signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. She said although the act requires insurance providers to cover 100 percent of preventive care services, some insurance agencies maintain “grandfathered” pre-existing coverage guidelines and do not follow guidelines set by the act.
“Different companies are going to interpret coverage guidelines in different ways,” Gutierrez said. “Students should try to get to know their insurance plan’s coverage as much as possible.”
Panel members also presented students with various leadership opportunities through UHS and stressed the importance of being health leaders on campus. Students may get involved with UHS in many ways, such as participating in the Clinical Volunteer Program, being a peer educator and volunteering in the Cashier and Insurance Department.
Texas Public Health preisdent Matt Haviland said getting involved with UHS and being a health leader on campus can help students find their role in society.
“People really do respond better to health information on a peer to peer basis,” Haviland said. “Students can become a driving force for health issues and policies by advocating to their peers the importance of being health conscious.”
The Student Health Advisory Committee, which relays student concerns and feedback to UHS administrators, is responsible for promoting UHS initiatives. Committee president Kevin Hou said the committee’s efforts this semester include staffing UHS’ flu shot campaign.
Hou said committee initiatives for annual Town Hall meetings were made to allow students transparent time with UHS administrative staff. He said it is crucial for students to be conscious of health initiatives because health and academic success are closely intertwined.
“Academic performance correlates so much with better health,” Hou said.
Printed on Friday, November 2, 2012 as: UHS talks healthy living, grades