Xavier, TriHealth team up for student wellness

By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of cincinnati.com | The university recently announced a new partnership with TriHealth, which will include building a new fitness center.

The Office of Student Affairs has a big announcement for all students: Xavier University is partnering with TriHealth in order to build a national model of excellence for collegiate health and wellness.

In support of the new partnership, Xavier plans to shift all of its services in July to TriHealth, and several current members of Xavier’s health services plan to train with the company and become a part of its new team.

“TriHealth is going to bring resources to the student health side of things that we haven’t had in the past and really work to connect to all the other kinds of wellness work that we will be doing on campus,” Director of Student Integrity and Dean of Students Jean Griffin said.

Counseling services for students will still be provided by Xavier at no extra cost; however, the services for TriHealth will now be insurance based, meaning students will have to use their insurance in order to access those services.

The partnership focuses on four dimensions: student and employee wellness, academics and innovations, athletics and a brand new building.

“They’re going to bring along a remarkable amount of expertise, and they bring the region’s broadest network of providers and experts around health and wellness,” Associate Provost and Chief of Student Affairs Officer David Johnson said, “and we’re going to be able to tap right into that.”

Programs will be specifically designed for Xavier employees through the partnership. These programs will aim to invite and lead employees to live healthier lives and to use any of the TriHealth services when they are in need of assistance.

“One of our specialties and expertise is the health and science fields,” Johnson said. “So we will be able to do things like provide training to the professionals across the TriHealth network, and we will be able to think together about what are some innovative ways to do health care in the future.”

TriHealth has been a longtime supporter of Xavier’s varsity and club athletics and is hoping to work together with Beacon Orthopedics to provide more service through this partnership.

The newly formed partnership will also lead to the development of a new wellness center during the fall of 2019. The current name for the building is the Health United Building (HUB), and it will be located between University Station and the Commons Apartments.

“Why is it being called a HUB?” Johnson said. “Well, that is because we will have all of these spokes of activity that come into it.”

The building is going to have multiple academic departments and be a home to all of Xavier’s recreational activities and functions that are normally provided by O’Connor. The building will also include student health and counseling services normally provided by the McGrath Health Center.

“The idea is that when you have all of these functions in a HUB together, that there is going to be more synergy,” Johnson said. “There will be more opportunities for collaboration and partnership in ways that will ultimately matter to our ability to serve students.”

The hope for the new HUB is that students learn about becoming healthier through programming and the services provided and take what they learn with them through the rest of their lives.

“The reality of the building coming is that it’s not just going to be about going to fitness centers,” Griffin said. “It’s going to be about wellness broadly, and students are going to see visually the connection between exercise and mental health.”

“We think that this new HUB will ultimately be a magnet that will pull in new students, for a variety of different reasons, but once they are there they may end up doing Y when they came there for X,” Johnson said.

For the following months, the Office of Student Affairs will plan the specific features of the new building and how it will be constructed. Its hope is that there will be several student representatives who will be a part of the project to act as the voice for the students. The Office of Student Affairs is requesting students’ opinion on the new partnership and building ideas.

“A year and a half ago, Father Graham brought together a core of his senior leaders and said, ‘I’m interested in developing a partnership that will support student and employee wellness, that will support our athletics and that will have a real impact on the growth and development of our academic programs. I want you guys to start thinking about how we can bring all of these pieces together in one partnership.’ So student support is very important to us,” Johnson said.