Health & Human Enrichment

Health & Human Enrichment

The mission of the Health and Human Enrichment cluster is to support, promote, and enhance quality of life for all through education, research, and partnerships. Integrative approaches are applied to project-based education, research, evidence-based practices, and transdisciplinary exploration advancing the art, science, and ethical awareness of human potential.

Real-World Cluster Project

Creating an Impactful Workplace Wellness Program

Students developed a worksite wellness program to be initiated by the Common Man Family of Restaurants throughout New Hampshire.

The Problem

New Hampshire’s Common Man Family of Restaurants wanted assistance in designing, implementing, and evaluating a new employee health and wellness program.

Awareness of the Issue

Students organized and conducted a health education and promotion needs assessment through employee forums, interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

Collaborative Team Projects

Students in the Health & Human Enrichment and Arts & Technologies clusters collaborated with the Common Man and the PSU Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities.

Proposal Presentations

Data was analyzed and a final report was formulated, branded, and produced in written documents.

Improved Outcomes

A formal presentation to Common Man stakeholders verified project benefits.

Undergraduate Degree ProgramsGraduate Degree ProgramsMinorsCluster Projects
Assessing Student Health & Well-being at PSU

Project Submitter
Barbara McCahan, Rebecca Busanich, Karolyn Kinane, Denise Normandin, & Janette Wiggett

Project Description: The aim of this proposal is to initiate a formal process for building on the “culture of health” established by Healthy PSU (a worksite wellness campaign). The project aligns directly with the mission of the Health and Human Enrichment Cluster in that a program to address the needs of students will “support, promote, and enhance quality of life for all through education, research, and partnerships.”  This project will take an integrative approach to establish wellness campaign in which students will be directly involved and impacted.  Evidence-based practices for program planning will be applied so as to support cross-disciplinary and full-constituency engagement. The process will begin with establishing an enhanced leadership team representing all stakeholders. Next a needs assessment research process will identify campus-wide capacities, and leading determinants of student wellness. Finally, based on the research an action plan with recommended program goals will be produced.  Future stages (beyond the scope of this application) will be needed to set forth an operating plan to identify appropriate objectives and intervention strategies.  This will be a long range process requiring ongoing collaboration. This proposal is only for the initial staging aspects and pilot research studies.

Cadaver Lab

Project Submitter
Linda Levy

Project Description: Students from the Athletic Training and Exercise & Sport Physiology programs will travel to the New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute (NHMI) in Manchester, NH to participate in a cadaver lab.

Planning a Healthy Aging Initiative at PSU

Project Submitter
Barbara McCahan, Anne Marie Conlon, Kathleen Patenaude

Project Description: This project’s aim it to start a community conversation and external partnership with a variety of campus constituents, community partners and external organizations that will collaborate in the design and implementation of a Healthy Aging Initiative at PSU.  This project aligns directly with the mission of the Health and Human Enrichment Cluster in that the resulting Healthy Aging Initiative will “support, promote, and enhance quality of life for all through education, research, and partnerships.”  This approach is integrative by bringing together expertise, interest and resources from a varied groups and disciplines.   Evidence-based practices will be applied and transdisciplinary engagement will be a final outcome. The process will begin with establishing a cross-cutting team representing all stakeholders to begin the process of identifying the regional community capacities and needs around the concept of healthy aging for all. Overall, this will be a long range project, emerging in phases, requiring ongoing collaboration.  The implementation of coursework, community outreach and projects will provide rich opportunities for students to conduct research, participate in projects and develop skills for supporting healthy behavior choices for all ages. This project is just a beginning.

Designing a Worksite Wellness Campaign with the Common Man Family

Project Submitter
Barbara McCahan Ph.D.  & Rebecca Busanich Ph.D.

Project Description: This project will support a new partnerships and collaboration between PSUCenter for Active Living and Healthy Communities (CfALHC) and The Common Man Family (C-Man) for the research, design and development of a worksite wellness campaign for the employees of The CMan. The initial project will consist of consultation and research to complete a needs assessment to inform a long term Operating Plan.

Project Goals and Outcomes:   Project Goals: 1. Establish the application of evidence-based practice for designing an employee wellness program for a NH business 2. Increase the opportunities for university students and faculty members to work collaboratively with the C-Man for building a health education and promotion project 3. Initiate and sustain a working relationship between The C-Man and PSU-CfALHC as a university academic cluster project.

Student Learning Outcomes –Students will be selected to assist with the project.  By the end of the spring term, those students will be able to: 1. Organize and conduct a health  education and promotion needs assessment through varied mechanisms including interviews, focus groups and surveys 2. Describe the process of data management and analysis leading to worksite wellness program goals 3. Facilitate communications with partners and collaborators to support and sustain all needs assessment activities

Integrated Approach for Eating Disorders Prevention

Project Submitter
Mardie Burckes-Miller

Project Description: The project will focus on an integrated approach of education and prevention of eating disorders in two areas. This project is a continuation of successful programs, which have been at Plymouth State University for 9-20 years. The two areas include an empirically based dissonance eating disorders prevention program and second the implementation of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The Body Project is a dissonance-based body-acceptance intervention designed to help high school and college-age women resist sociocultural pressures to conform to the thin-ideal and reduce their pursuit of thinness.  A reduction in thin-ideal internalization should result in improved body satisfaction and improved mood, reduced use of unhealthy weight-control behaviors, and decreased binge eating and other eating disorder symptoms.”( The program has been researched and evaluated for 20 years. The National Eating Disorders Association believes that early intervention and prevention is crucial and launched the Body Project in 2016 as one of their initiatives.

The program does reduce body dissatisfaction, unhealthy dieting, thin ideal internalization, negative moods and eating disorder symptoms. This short intervention consists of 3 to 4 hours in a workshop format, which has been shown to also reduce the risk of future onset of eating disorders as well as future onset of obesity. In the sessions participants argue against the thin/body ideal, engaging conversation and role-plays on topics such as fat talk free, media, peer influences and other factors which influence feelings about a person’s body. The program includes discussions, verbal, written, and behavioral exercises which critique the thin/perfect ideal. The program gives women and men the tools, skills and strategies to confront the unrealistic beauty standards and promotes the development of a positive body image. The research suggests that for every 100 adolescent women who receive this short intervention, nine fewer cases of eating disorders should occur in the subsequent 3 year follow-up( a 60 % reduction  in the number of expected cases) (Stice, Marti, Spoor,, 2008).

This program has been conducted on campus since 2008 and will continue in this integrated eating disorders program over the next three years. The new “Helping Center” will be used as one of our sites to conduct facilitator training and Body Project sessions. Students in the graduate Eating Disorder Institute program, clinical mental health counseling students and undergraduate students and faculty /staff will serve as peer facilitators. It also will provide an opportunity for graduate students and faculty /staff to mentor students.

The hope is to disseminate this program widely throughout the university over the first year to two years and to disseminate it into the Plymouth community (Plymouth Regional High School, Holderness School) in the third year.

Eco-friendly Eating Festival

Project Submitter
Rebecca Busanich

Project Description: This will be a culminating event for the HE 3220, Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living, students, where they can celebrate and demonstrate what they’ve learned in the course to help members of PSU (faculty, staff, students) and the larger community make healthier choices around food. The focus will be on eco-friendly and healthy eating. We will be inviting local vendors (restaurants, stores, local food organizations, and farms) to come and set-up a table that provides samples of local foods, demonstrates ways in which to eat and cook with local foods, and educates the public on the benefits and implementation of a plant-based diet. Other PSU faculty, staff and student groups that are committed to holding a table and helping with this event include Steve Whitman (teaching lecturer, permaculture design), Dr. Brian Eisenhauer (Office of Sustainability), Denise Normandin (Healthy PSU), Common Ground, and the Health & Wellness Club. The Applied Nutrition students will help to organize the event as well as provide educational materials, demonstrations, and experiences around plant-based diets and local foods. The event will be sponsored by the PSU Center for Active Living & Healthy Communities and will take place on December 14th, 2016 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm in ALLWell North Davis Track. If this event draws a lot of participants and proves to be successful, it could become an annual event where we charge attendees a small fee ($10) for a ticket to the event, making it more financially sustainable.

Youth Substance Use Prevention Program Evaluation

Project Submitter
Robin Hausheer

Project Description: Students enrolled in the winter term of CO5070 Research Design in the Helping Professions will work in small groups partnering with the Communities for Alcohol and Drug-free Youth (CADY) to develop program evaluation instruments for specific CADY programs. CADY facilitates a number of programs that address youth substance use prevention and intervention. The group will then define the specific program and provide a detailed description of the program methodology. Each student group will develop an evaluation instrument for CADY to gather data and assess outcomes for the specific program. CADY will utilize the new program evaluation instruments for each CADY program.  Finally, student groups will submit proposals to and design research posters of their program evaluation project for the Plymouth State University Student Showcase of Excellence.  Based on acceptance of each proposal, student groups will print posters to present at the Showcase in April 2017.

Contemplative Communities

Project Submitter
Karolyn Kinane

Project Description:
Contemplative courses, mindful living experiences, and personal reflection help students become powerful and resilient agents of change. In Contemplative Communities we approach problems, issues, and each other with curiosity and compassion to better serve our lives and communities. Coursework, clubs, and community service allow Plymouth State students to design contemplative and mindful approaches to problem-solving in personal, local, and national contexts.