By Kate Colpetzer, health services management student and senior ambassador at the Fairbanks School of Public Health
Have you read the most recent edition of Stall Talk? Maybe you’ve attended a Know Your Status event or utilized safer sex supplies on campus? Well, you can thank the IUPUI Office of Health and Wellness Promotion.
Located in Campus Center 305, students can access a plethora of zero-cost and judgment-free services. The Office of Health and Wellness Promotion offers educational materials, presentations, supplies, and events to students that cover a variety of health topics. Programs and outreach consist of: health and wellness coaching, alcohol and drug cessation, stress management, nutrition counseling, HIV/STI testing, and more!
Indianapolis is a hub for public health promotion and prevention opportunities. Two graduate students from the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health are prime examples of students who have found public health experience on campus in the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion.
Sophia Sparzo (MPH’24) and Annika Whitlock (MPH’23) both work in the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion and have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the IUPUI community through their positions. Both students learned about this position through Handshake, IUPUI’s job board.
“I needed a job and decided to look on Handshake; it made a lot of sense for my future,” Sparzo said. Whitlock says that she wanted more flexibility and the job aligns perfectly for her.
What are their favorite moments in this position?
Sparzo: “The individual programming services help me gain more experience in population health. This position has helped me learn from the pro staff that experimenting is okay and you’ll eventually find what is right for you.”
Whitlock: “Working for the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion has given me the advantage of switching from population vs. personal health.”
This experience has given both of these students a unique perspective that they believe will allow them to be better health advocates in the real world. Working in the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion has also helped both Sparzo and Whitlock with their long-term goals.
“Actually seeing people do the work that we learn in class and the process of implementing it has made it less terrifying and much easier to approach,” Sparzo said.
“Learning from professional staff who are always there to guide you and answer your questions,” Whitlock added. “They want you to succeed.”
What is some practical advice for any student who wants to gain public health experience?
“It is good to test the waters. Go out and try things out,” Sparzo says. “Read up on resources because public health is a part of everyday life and can be found anywhere.”
“Any experience can be a public health experience,” Whitlock said. “Don’t feel like you have to confine yourself to one specific interest or field. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have experience or an internship. Don’t compare because everyone does things in their own time.”
You can catch Sparzo and Whitlock at various health and wellness events around campus. The Office of Health and Wellness Promotion is an important resource on campus for all students. It is clear Fairbanks students have made a great impact on our community and we could not be prouder!