By James El-Mallakh–
University of Louisville’s efforts for providing a healthy environment for students seems to be paying off. U of L came in 20th place out of 140 universities across the nation in an annual sexual health report, a survey that ranks schools according to the availability of sexual health services such as STD testing and counseling on a given campus. U of L is up from 82nd place last year, which marks a big shift in placement.
The Office of Health Promotion, located between the Houchens building and the SAC, offers health resources such as smoking cessation programs, nutritional coaching, stress resiliency and services aimed at improving students’ understanding of sexual health.
Karen Newton, the Director of Health Promotion and Education, explained what their office does, “we also have free STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing, which we do twice a month in the office of health promotion… we do have sexual health advising which is confidential, one on one or even if there are two students who want to come together and that’s with a staff professional.”
The reason for the increase in our placement is, as Newton puts it, “the office of health promotion has been part of campus health services for almost five years… so prior to that time there were medical services but there really weren’t all the educational and support and awareness services that we provide now. So it’s taken some big leaps.”
Rebekah Burke is a graduate student and is a sexual health advocate leader at the office of health promotion. “[Sexual health information] is just good information about your body and relationships that you have with people,” said Burke.
Bruce Tetreault, manager for the company that sponsors the survey, said “we do this because of the startling statistics on sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies… we obviously want to reverse those trends and make those statistics go down.”