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Editor’s Note: Over the past month, Destination HealthEU has featured student pieces from the 4th level track of Emory’s Health 1, 2, 3 Program within the Center for the Study of Human Health. You can access the series introduction article here. Starting next week, we will also be highlighting personal stories of Health 1, 2, 3’s Health 200 students as they grapple with the transition to online learning and prioritize their health amidst COVID-19. Read on to learn more about the Health 1,2,3 program and how it plays a role in the health and wellbeing of our students.

Photo from It’s Your Health, Revised 2nd Edition, Emory University

By: Sarah Wolber

It goes without saying that life looks a little different for most individuals during this strange time of COVID-19, and that one’s perspective on health may have shifted as a result. Although health has always been a relevant topic in daily life, it seems even more important now in the midst of the pandemic. These uncertain times have led many to reexamine not only their physical health, but also their social, spiritual, mental, and emotional health. While these areas of health are often considered independent of one another, they embody the bigger picture of health and its multi-dimensional nature, which can be conceptualized using the model known as the five pillars of health.

Each of the five pillars is distinct from the next in regards to the human experiences they encompass, while also remaining inextricably connected and dependent on one another. They are influenced by one’s behaviors, including nutrition, sleep, physical activity, and time and energy management, among others. For some individuals, the routines they once had regarding these behaviors have all but dissolved due to the pandemic, while others have been able to adapt their schedules to the new environments in which they’ve found themselves. These changes lend support to the idea that health is a dynamic process that requires consistent attention from multiple angles.

Graphic of five rectangular blocks. In each block is a description of each pillar of health–spiritual, social, mental, emotional, and physical. Above the blocks is a triangle, suggesting the shape of a building such that each rectangle is a pillar of the building.
Photo from It’s Your Health, Revised 2nd Edition, Emory University

Recognizing the fluid and multi-faceted nature of health, and that academic success and wellbeing are contingent upon one’s overall health, Emory’s Health 1, 2, 3 program within the Center for the Study of Human Health provides our students with an understanding of the complex network that health encompasses. The need to educate college students on these health topics has only grown more apparent given the possible deleterious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comprised of three sequential courses–HLTH 100, 200, and 300–Health 1, 2, 3 is an evidence-based program which addresses high-priority issues affecting college health and wellbeing and integrates pedagogical peer support in the classroom to inform positive health behaviors of students.

By sharing their experiences, our students show that there are a multitude of ways students (and non-students) can support their health and prioritize wellness no matter what obstacles lie in the way.

With the end of our Spring 2020 Health 200 course falling in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, the Health 1, 2, 3 faculty team wanted to know how the concepts students learned in Health 100 and 200 have influenced their health in general, especially in relation to COVID-19. As part of Health 200, students submitted vignettes that highlighted their personal experiences. In their stories, our students identified specific health topics within these courses that have benefitted their pillars of health while transitioning to at-home learning and adjusting to new routines during quarantine. While many admit they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs, they also share their successes in the form of strategies they’ve used to support their wellbeing. By sharing their experiences, our students show that there are a multitude of ways students (and non-students) can support their health and prioritize wellness no matter what obstacles lie in the way.

Led by Lisa DuPree and supported by Health Educators, Sarah Wolber and Sara Thorpe, the Health 1, 2, 3 program strives to educate and apply health concepts to the current issues students face, including those brought about by Coronavirus.

To learn more about our students’ application of Health 1, 2, 3 concepts and how they have shaped their COVID-19 experiences, we encourage you to follow along with this series published in Emory’s Human Health blog, Destination HealthEU.

Visit our website for more details on the Health 1,2,3 program within the Center for the Study of Human Health and follow us on Instagram (@cshh_health123) and Twitter (@s_thorpe123, @l_dupree, @wolbersarah).