Southwestern Adventist University’s Nursing Department is thrilled to announce the approval of a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health. The Nursing Department started a Wellness Counts program in 2016 to provide health and lifestyle education and activities for the local community in the Keene, Texas, area. The $62,000 grant will make it possible for the nursing department to grow the program to better enrich the community.
“The Ardmore Institute of Health is pleased to support the work of Southwestern’s Nursing Department in extending and expanding the reach of its Wellness Counts program,” says Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Ardmore Institute of Health. “We are confident that the program’s emphasis on healthy living will bring the benefits of improved personal health to many people in Johnson County, in keeping with the Institute’s broader mission to improve the health and vitality of people to live more meaningful lives.”
The Wellness Counts program was designed to support Southwestern Adventist University’s major initiatives to build knowledge, increase faith, and provide service and to meet growing needs in the local community. After conducting a wellness survey in Johnson County, significant health needs were discovered. For instance, 25 percent of the population under the age of 65 reported that they do not have health insurance. This need, coupled with the university’s desire to teach and give students opportunities for service, led to the development of the Wellness Counts program.
Since 2016, the Wellness Counts program has provided free activities to the community such as a health fair in partnership with the City of Keene Business Expo, a weekly family fitness class, diabetes prevention screenings, an eight-week Wellness Challenge to support lifestyle change, and the Supper and Discover program that offered a free meal with a class on tips for healthful living.
The Ardmore Institute of Health grant will enable the Wellness Counts program to expand their offering and reach to the community. These plans include a partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife to create an afterschool gardening and healthy eating program, a community resource garden to increase availability of fresh produce, and further partnerships with other area programs such as the Johnson County Alliance for Healthy Kids. There will also be more opportunities for students to assist with wellness-related classes in the community.
“We are delighted to collaborate with other organizations to address health needs in our community,” says Terri Gibson, Wellness Counts director and nursing professor at Southwestern. “Nursing students will be given the opportunity to utilize their health education skills and community residents can benefit. We are thrilled to be able to help our community and look forward to a journey to wellness together.”