Public Health Committee spreads awareness

By on March 4, 2004

On the tables in the Carl Hansen Student Center, one organization is trying to raise awareness about people’s health.

Public Health Committee is asking, “What’s in Your Wallet”? To promote safe sex, they are handing out condoms and pamphlets which state that “1 out of 4 people under the age of 25 have an STD.”

The Public Health Committee is fairly new, founded last February by Kristen Hylan, a sophomore nursing major.

“My junior year of high school, I attended a Medical Leadership Forum and attended a public health seminar,” Hylan said. “I started a public health committee at my high school and I wanted to continue it in college.”

She got interested people together and had meetings to get ideas.

“We have six general areas we try to cover: safe sex, environment, drugs and alcohol, healthy body, special events and mental health,” Susanne Scofield, vice president of correspondence and a junior pre-med major, said.

“Our purpose is to raise awareness about different health topics that affect the student body and local community at large, whether our message gets to one person or 100,” Hylan said.

According to Scofield, the committee has been successful in bringing about awareness of several health issues.

“There have been several attempts by groups with similar goals, but we are the first to accomplish the goals of our committee,” Scofield said.

One of the Public Health Committee’s future goals is to go to high schools and raise awareness to the incoming first-year students about things they might encounter in college.

Members of the committee have also been made aware of their own health.

“There is research involved and I’m always seeing statistics and learning from them. It’s a huge learning aspect from a shocking club,” Hylan said.

“Last semester we had an AIDS speaker and he taught us so many things I was not aware of,” Scofield said.

One event Scofield and Hylan really enjoyed was “Calming Murals.” The Committee painted small murals for bed-ridden patients at the Harborside Healthcare dementia unit.

The murals could not contain animals, people or dark colors.

Most of the murals were landscapes, flowers and waterfalls. They stimulated the patients, some of whom were unable to speak.

The patients came up to the members and gave them hugs.

“It brought tears to members’ eyes to impact people that way,” Hylan said.

“The way the residents and staff reacted was amazing. We worked hard and they enjoyed having us. They want us back,” Scofield said.

The Public Health Committee works alongside Student Health Services (SHS). They helped SHS with the flu clinic. While there, they had a table for breast cancer awareness.

In addition, the Public Health Committee also raises money for charity. They have raised money by participating in the MS and breast cancer walks.

“It’s tough volunteering, but I know I’m doing something to make people aware. I want to help QU get knowledge. I hope they gain something,” Hylan said.

The campus community seems to have responded well to the messages from the committee.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh they’re doing that again’ and people come and see what we have. They remember us and they are learning,” Scofield said.

Being in the committee is preparing members for the future.

“It’s a jumpstart on what I want to do,” Hylan said.

“In the medical field, you need to understand public health. I’ve learned a lot, even just from statistics,” Scofield said.

The Public Health committee has just been chartered by SGA and they hope to be funded next year. They are always looking for new members.

If interested in the Public Health Committee stop in on a meeting, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in SC213 or email:


About Jennifer DeAmicis