Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, September 21, 2018

Wellness Center rebranding to Health Promotion and Advocacy Center

Name change intended to clarify services the center offers

Wellness Center rebranding to Health Promotion and Advocacy Center

The sign for the Health Promotion & Advocacy Center (HPAC) in Hughes Hall. 

The Wellness Center has changed its name to the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center, or HPAC, to provide more clarity on the services that the center offers, HPAC Director Mickey Irizarry said.

The office’s move from McCabe Hall to Hughes Hall in the fall of 2017 was an opportunity for Irizarry and the center’s staff to come up with a new name for the center that could better represent the resources it provides. Irizarry said the term “wellness” has many meanings and renaming the Wellness Center to HPAC will eliminate confusion and allow the center to focus on students’ needs.

“The name change was in the back of my mind for a little while,” Irizarry said. “Because for me, the term ‘wellness’ is a very broad term that’s used across campus and it didn’t feel like we had a lot of ownership over the term.”

Additionally, she said the Wellness Center would often get confused with Recreational Sports and Fitness, or RecFit, since RecFit’s student workers are called “wellness ambassadors.”

HPAC provides a variety of resources and programs to students, including confidential services for survivors of sexual assault, workshops led by peer health educators and mandatory bystander intervention training for all incoming freshmen.

Steph Black, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the sexual assault prevention intern for HPAC, said the office, located in Hughes 105, is a “great space” where students can hang out as well as pick up free condoms, dental dams or informational pamphlets.

“I think this change will only serve to spread the knowledge of all of this to the student body,” Black said.

While many of the services that HPAC offers will remain the same, Irizarry said that the currently vacant role of health education coordinator will become the coordinator for alcohol and other drug initiatives.

“We have been doing and continue to do an amazing job with sexual and interpersonal violence, so now we’re ready to take the next step to make alcohol and drugs our next priority,” Irizarry said.

Jamie Driscoll, a 2018 CAS graduate and the health education assistant at HPAC, said there is a positive impact with the rebranding of the center.

“I think this change will be a great thing for the AU community,” she said. “I want students to be able to easily identify where to go for the resources they need, and the re-branding is a big step toward this.”

asheffey@theeagleonline.com


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