SGA tackled health and wellness, as well as Barnard’s new Feel Well, Do Well initiative with guests Mary Joan Murphy and Jessica Cannon from Barnard Primary Care.
This week’s Student Government Association meeting kicked off with guests Mary Joan (MJ) Murphy, Executive Director of Student Health & Wellness Programs, and Jessica Cannon, Program Director for Health Promotion & Education. The topic at hand was all things health, wellness, and medicine at Barnard, opening the floor to a variety of pressing questions and concerns.
The discussion opened around the topic of contraceptives, specifically their availability around campus and the openness of the dialogue around contraceptive options. Cannon, who specializes in contraceptive/birth control management at Barnard Primary Care, stated that she and the Primary Care team prioritizes tailoring contraceptive needs to each individual student, taking into account reasons for starting to use a contraceptive, health backgrounds, and the specific wants of each individual. From there, she aims to pair each student with their best fit, and ensures that costs are either covered by insurance or a financial plan is laid out. Cannon also stressed the importance of having many different perspectives for students looking to start birth control — all students are able to consult not only Primary Care, but also Being Barnard and Well Woman with any contraceptive-based questions.
Next on the table was the “Feel Well, Do Well @ Barnard” Initiative the College recently enacted, a program President Beilock claimed at 2019 Convocation to be “built around the idea that all members of the campus community are responsible for the health and wellbeing of [Barnard} students—and it is that support that will empower [Barnard] students to thrive, both inside and outside of the classroom.” Murphy stated that the initiative focuses on targeting wellness from many avenues, more than just health services — incorporating wellness in the classroom is key. In order to address the academic pressures wellness present, the Primary Care team are coordinating student-faculty dinners to allow students to learn about professors’ own experiences inside the classroom: their academic backgrounds, their struggles, and their tips for academic success.
In order to further push professors to take wellness inside the classroom more seriously, Murphy explained that she is pushing to get diverse faculty groups to come together to speak about the issue. She is actively reaching out and speaking to individual department chairs in coming weeks; going to the departments themselves is more intimate and allows those involved in the initiative to voice such concerns to push for systematic change.
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