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On Nov. 5, Ashlee Halbritter was named the director of Campus Health. Previously employed as a health educator at Penn for the past three years, Halbritter seeks to make public health more consistent at Penn.

As a former employee with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Halbritter is very familiar with the public health world at federal, state and local levels. Halbritter earned her master’s of public health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, majoring in communication and minoring in public and community health. Learning about public health at each of those levels gave her experience that she has used during her time at Student Health Service.

“It was a great learning experience, and has served me here at Penn, I can use my local level experience working on staying connected with students. We know what the data tells us, but just because it does doesn’t mean that it’s the best for students,” Halbritter said.

Campus Health is the public health division of Student Health Service, which was created out of a growing need for more official and ongoing public health. Highly trained in evaluation, Campus Health interprets the data from various sources, sharing information among different groups on campus, as well as advising Student Health Service.

In a previous Daily Pennsylvanian article, the late SHS Executive Director Evelyn Wiener explained that the idea of creating an office devoted to public health as been thought about for roughly 10 years, and that they have been finding the time and resources to develop it during the past five years.

Halbritter said that right now she is working on building environmental initiatives such as creating healthier infrastructure through safe roads and clean air. She wants to be able to address the various health needs of all students, and make it known that a safe environment exists, but that there are outside resources as well.

“I want the healthy choice to be the easy choice [for students],” Halbritter said.

Campus Health can be split into three distinct sections. The first is health education and promotion. Campus Health works with different student groups, such as Greek life and health-awareness clubs, along with Residential Advisors and Graduate Associates.

“It’s completely across the board. We certainly have different events that reach different target populations, but for the most part the information is general enough that it can stay the same for all group.” Halbritter said.

Secondly, Campus Health focuses on their policy work. Working with the University Planning Committee, they have established several initiatives, including creating safe biking environments through bike helmet voucher programs and working to create a tobacco-free campus.

Another program that Campus Health has been focusing on is communicable disease surveillance. Using the data that they collect through student visits, they are able to track communicable diseases and prevent the spread on campus.

“We know when flu is on campus, and we can do outreach with our peers on campus.” Halbritter said.

Campus Health has been extremely busy this year, signing onto the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Healthier Campus Initiative. As the only Ivy League school to do this, Penn joins 37 other colleges in the pledge. The initiative requires colleges to adopt guidelines around nutrition, physical activity and programming on campus.

Campus Health also has nine different programs ranging from “Sleep Well” — focusing on sleep hygiene, to “Breathe Well” which focuses on smoking cessation. All programs are free and available to all Penn students.

“Our vision is a healthy Penn.” Halbritter said.

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