University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 032/2022 dated 15 March 2022
Focus on student health: AOK Bavaria and the University of Bayreuth cooperate
The "UBT Healthy Education" project has set itself the task of promoting health awareness, health resources, and health potential among students.
How are students in Bayreuth, actually? What role does health play for students in their everyday lives? How are coronavirus-related developments affecting student well-being? These are the questions that the "UBT Healthy Education" project team is investigating in order to improve the health awareness and health skills of students. The topic of holistic health is thus brought to the attention of students and is contributing to the University's educational mission.
Since 2017, the University of Bayreuth has been working more intensively on promoting health awareness among students and supporting them with various programmes. These are health-promoting offerings that are subdivided into the "Exercise", "Nutrition", and "Mental Health" fields of action. A systematic concept is required for sustainable and holistic student health management (SGM). This is now being developed together with AOK Bavaria in the "UBT Healthy Education" project. The University of Bayreuth has already been cooperating with AOK Bayern since 2020 to create even more health literacy.
"Our students come to Bayreuth with a wide variety of backgrounds. In order to promote health in the best possible way, we use both proven and innovative methods to get to know the students and their needs, and adapt our offering in consultation with them," says Dr Philipp Laemmert, who oversees the project as Health Coordinator at the University of Bayreuth. Especially the effects of the coronavirus pandemic should be considered in health promotion at this moment.
AOK Bayern is providing financial support for the University of Bayreuth's project from 2022 to 2024. "Promoting health where people live, work, and live is the goal of AOK Bayern," says Marko Ahrens, Head of Marketing and Health Promotion at the AOK Bayreuth-Kulmbach Directorate. "With the financial project funding 'Healthy Studying', we support universities in establishing sustainable health management. Effective measures to promote students' health, which are developed individually and in line with their needs, could, in turn, be implemented permanently."
In addition to financial resources, AOK Bayern also provides its know-how in the field of health promotion. This includes, for example, the counselling services offered by AOK health experts on the topics of nutrition and exercise, and the organisation of health days with corresponding programmes and tips for everyday life.
In the university environment, there are already some service and counselling centres, such as the psychological counselling or courses on stress management and relaxation methods offered by the Upper Franconia Student Union or the services offered by the office of the representative for disabled and chronically ill students. University Health Management also offers services such as the Campus Active Path, finding exercise pals, and Active Break for employees and students. The existing offerings are now to be bundled. "UBT Healthy Education" brings together experience and strengthens existing structures. The funding from AOK Bavaria will make it possible to systematically develop SGM over the next three years.
"Due to the pandemic, students' lives have changed a lot, especially in the psychosocial area," explains Prof. Dr. Susanne Tittlbach, Chair of Social & Health Sciences of Sport at the University of Bayreuth. "It is therefore very important to us that SGM is aware of these new requirements and responds accordingly."
As a first step, steering committees are being formed to determine where there is a need in direct consultation with students. At the same time, new communication channels are being sought to reach out to students and enable dialogue. This will be done, for example, via social networks, but also in completely new, innovative formats on campus, which will start as early as the summer semester of 2022. The findings of this work will subsequently be used to enable an even better offering for the health of students at the University of Bayreuth. Here, too, new approaches are to be made possible. Innovative ideas for SGM can come from the students themselves, but also from the project team.