At the January 2023 NASPA* Mental Health Conference, Jasmine A. Lee, M.S.W., Ph.D., director of inclusive excellence and Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion, and Belonging (i3b,) and Samantha Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., CHES., director of the Office of Health Promotion presented on Community Conversations. Community Conversations is a collaborative program which advances health equity by embedding mental health prevention efforts within identity-based spaces. Community Conversations is an interactive event that helps students understand the role of community in supporting their well-being and mental health. The conversations also highlight what it means to "show up" for others.
The abstract for Lee and Smith's NASPA presentation states, "institutions often face challenges in providing mental health prevention efforts that specifically address marginalized populations when their health promotion teams are small. This session will provide an overview of a health promotion and identity-based area collaboration focused on advancing health equity and holistic campus mental well-being using dialogue. This session will report on the development and evaluation of an initiative to reduce stigma and promote community care among marginalized identity populations."
Smith was recently interviewed for the February 2023 Baltimore Sun Education supplement story, "Health and wellness initiatives create strong sense of community on campus."
Information about upcoming Community Conversations can be found in the Office of Health Promotion myUMBC group.
*NASPA is the national organization for student affairs administrators in higher education.