'Year of Health' covers wide range of wellness issues

Whether it’s maintaining an exercise regimen, finding ways to de-stress, or following a doctor’s suggestions, the issue of health is of utmost importance to everyone.

For the 2014-15 academic year, Penn is focusing on the theme of the “Year of Health,” addressing wellness and welfare in people’s daily lives.

“If you think about health in its broadest terms, it is something everyone has a vested interest in,” says David Fox, director of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives in the Office of the Provost.

Chosen by the Provost’s Office, faculty, staff, and students, the theme year began with New Student Orientation. The Penn Reading Project book, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman, was the required reading for all incoming freshmen.

The book tells the story of a California family—Hmong refugees from Laos—who must navigate the American health care system as they deal with their young daughter’s severe epilepsy.

“In this case, a disconnect happened when American medical practice met another culture,” says Fox. “This focuses on both the American health care system and global practices and interests.”

Year of Health events will include symposia, interdisciplinary conferences, exhibits, and performances thorough the academic year.

The first event, “Call To Action: A National Movement To Build A Culture Of Health,” will be held on Friday, Sept. 19, when Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, speaks at Irvine Auditorium.

Organized by the Center for Public Health Initiatives, the program will be presented via a Year of Health grant.

Year of Health grants are still available for students, faculty, and staff to produce health-themed activities. For last year’s Year of Sound, a grant funded a trip to a music studio to learn how songs are recorded. 

Grant submissions are being accepted in two cycles for the year. The deadline for the current cycle is Saturday, Nov. 1. The second cycle for grant applications is from Dec. 1, 2014 until Feb. 1, 2015.

Year of Health