STJ Partners with United Healthcare

In an effort to make St. John’s one of the “healthiest college campuses in America,” the University has partnered with United Healthcare to create initiatives that will promote the cause of student health.

SWELL, a health advocacy group on campus designed to help students make smarter choices concerning their well-being, and United HealthCare, a health insurance giant and Fortune 50 company, have paired up to help students learn healthy habits.

“College is the time for most students where they are taking care of themselves, whether they are making their own nutrition decisions, going to the health center or managing their own medications,” Kathryn Hutchinson, vice president of Student Affairs, said.

“The ultimate goal is that each student on campus really thinks of one or two ways that they can improve their own personal wellness.”

Jeff Alter, CEO of United Healthcare Employer & Individual and a St. John’s alumnus, added in a press release: “UnitedHealthcare welcomes the opportunity to work with organizations like St. John’s that share our commitment to helping people live healthier lives.”

“We need to provide young people the tools and support they need to establish healthy habits that will stay with them long after graduation.”

The collaboration will spawn a series of health-orientated initiatives such as a “Healthy Student” program, health education events, a year-long social media campaign, informative podcasts and stress reduction activities and materials.

Although Hutchinson didn’t specify on any exact funding the school will receive from United Healthcare, she said there would be no additional cost for the program to students or the University.

Junior Jeremy Cook said he looks forward to the program benefiting students.

“If it doesn’t cost any additional money [to me] but adds benefits and doesn’t require additional tests, papers, information it comes off as being a win-win thing,” Cook said.

According  to Hutchinson, Stressbusters, a student health organization, is planning to release a mobile app in the Spring 2013 semester that will offer tools, tips, and exercises to conveniently assist students.

Senior Melanie Hernandez is particularly grateful for this technological assistance.

“Well, being a college student and being so busy all the time it’s hard to be able to fit in time to go to events or things that the SWELL program may have,” Hernandez said.

“I think it would be very cool to jump into social media and making an app so that it’s easily accessible to students and getting updates about ways to take care of ourselves.”