The Okanagan Charter

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The Okanagan Charter is aimed at a variety of international institutions, including universities, colleges, and educational facilities that practice 'higher learning,' and it aims to guide those in how they should practice health promotion.

Those who want to apply the charter to their institution should have a vision of how they want to transform health and sustainability to benefit current and future students, as well as broader communities, while also maintaining the well-being of those involved, places of interest, and the planet itself (Noar, 2012). The charter's goal is to incorporate health promotion into every aspect of the chosen establishment, whether it's academics, business, or health itself (Domnariu, 2014). Both the charter and place of interest should wish to share the same goals of creating successful campus’ whilst still enforcing equity, compassion, social justice, over all to improve the health and quality of life for those, whom study, live, and contribute to strengthen the institution socially, ecologically and economically.

There are three major purposes of the Okanagan Charter, those being:

To direct and motivate those who implement health promotion, and mirror the most relevant theories, procedures and principles

Secondly, to create research that includes not only the local and regional populations but broaden the spectrum by incorporating those nationally and internationally. Which includes, but is not limited to those on the selected campus.

Continuing the development of promoting health in universities and educational institutions whilst including all relevant policies and practices.

The two main ‘calls to action’ are to; include health into all aspects of the institutions culture, whether it be academically, operations or administratively and to include local and global partnerships which help to drive health promotion on campus’ (West, 2013).

The charter acknowledges individuals with their surroundings and that it will occur among everyday life. Viewing health in all elements, being; physically, mentally and socially, which requires a non-invasive positive approach (Ryan & Jones, 2009). Interventions for individuals may come from a wide range from those socially and even in their own environment, which in turn may help them in their own settings, societies and routines.

An Action Plan

Supported by the Okanagan Charter, the framework aims to guide health-promoting institutions through the two ‘calls to action’.

1.1 Embed health in all campus policies: re-assess the campus’ current strategies and procedures with the health of everyone involved in mind.

1.2 Creation of supportive campus environments: Develop a better understanding of those on campus and recognizing opportunities to study and encourage.

1.3 Generation of prospering community and a culture of well being

1.4 Support personal development: Creating opportunities for all of those on campuses, from students to staff members, watching them grow and enhance their skills (Dutta & de Souza, 2008).

1.5 Creation or re-orientation of campus services: Design campus amenities including access for all, and protect and enhance health of the citizens and the environment around them (Johnston, 2009).

2.1 Integration of health, wellbeing and sustainability in multiple disciplines to develop change agents:

2.2 Advancing research, training and teaching to facilitate health promotion action and knowldge

2.3 Leading and partners towards both the global and local action to facilitate health promotion

The following principles are used in the charter and are suggested for institutions to use to guide them through enforcing health promotion amongst their campuses.

Use settings and whole system approaches: Having opportunities, which create situations for health in the ‘higher education’ system. As well as setting an example in other settings for health promotion (Johnson, 2014).

Ensure comprehensive and campus wide approaches: Enforcing strategies, which help the whole establishments population.

Use participatory approaches and engage the voice of students and others: Setting goals that all members of the faculty can strive toward.

Develop trans-disciplinary collaborations and cross-sector partnerships: Developing partnerships whether they’re on campus, socially, locally or globally (Piercy, 2009).

Promote research, innovation, and evidence informed action: Making sure that research is backed by evidence to enhance strategies and procedures to then enhance the campuses population (Camilleri, 2014).

Build on strengths

Value local and indigenous communities’ contexts and priorities: Involve indigenous communities to assess and understand their primacies (Scott, Nsiah-Kumi & Phillips, 2015).

Act on an existing universal responsibility: Maintain human rights whilst throughout procedures, meetings and encounters.

Edith Cowan University: Current Health Services and Amenities

Edith Cowan University (ECU) has numerous health related services not only on campus but within the broader Western Australian community as well as nationally and globally. ECU has three campuses in Western Australia; Joondalup, Mt Lawley and Bunbury, but they also offer a wide range of courses online as well as on campus for those wanting to attend the institution but do not live in the area, let alone the same country (ECU, n.d). The university is seen to be one of Australia’s leading secondary learning establishments, which have received numerous grants, which help equip the community with a supreme learning setting (Sterne, 2010). The growth of ECU’s advancement can be recognized through their highly regarded centers and programs that aim to aid students to be prepared for ‘the real working world’. These include:

The National Teaching Fellowship 2011-2012: Highly awarded leaders from Australian universities that advocate a higher learning will award those a grant to aid the development of tools and strategies to promote simulated learning (Hyman & Sierra, 2010). Funding also aids to help the health related disciplines on campus and further the students of that sector a better quality of learning.

'Interproffesional Learning through Stimulation’: There are seventeen properties of audiovisuals along with an instruction manual, these are designed to be as close to ‘real-life’ scenarios as possible and are aimed to aid students before they enter their desired workforce for what is expected of them (MacDonald, 2013). The resources include:

Assertive communication

Case management of chronicdisease

Clinical handover

Communication in family centered care

Creating cultural empathy

Discharge planning

Falls prevention

Impact of health care teams on patient outcomes

Importance of clinical reasoning

Injury and trauma management

Leadership and teamwork in Medical Emergency Teams

Making assumptions

Mental health in the workplace

Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology

Providing a consistent message

Reflective practice

Role clarification

The Interprofessional Ambulatory Care (IpAC) is learning experience that aids students in developing their communication skills and collaboration amongst each other and improves prolonged disease self-management for the clients involved. The program is funded by the Commonwealth Government and increases ECU’s students’ higher learning outcome as they are faced with real problems and are taught how to face those in a positive manner, as well as taking on roles of leadership and things that may go wrong among their profession (ECU, n.d).

Lastly the ECU Health Simulation Centre, which is based at the ECU campus, a state-of-the-art, world-class institution which supplies high quality training which aims toward increasing patient well-being along with clinical outcomes.

Edith Cowan University offers a wide variety of courses at their three establishments including:

One of the nations rapidest emerging Engineering Schools

Holding the biggest nursing program in the state of Western Australia

Exercise science facilities deemed the best in the southern hemisphere

One of the most broad arts and humanities schools in the southern hemisphere

ECU is also home to WAAPA, one of the world’s most credible performing arts acadamies.

The campus itself offers fully equipped centers used for sports and fitness; both students and staff members are allowed to use these facilities and programs at discounted rates. Urging those who attend the campus to use these to better their health and aid as a social tool (Liang, Hsiao & Cheng, 2015). In regards to the university influencing the wider community, they hold a state-of-the-art ECU Health Centre that is located in Wanneroo, allowing training in a real environment and research openings for the student of the university. Services included at the center are: an afterhours general practitioner, breast screening Western Australia, Clinipath pathology, a midwifery nurse program as well as a psychology service as well as many more. The center is looked over by the Health Center committee, including the Deputy Vice-chancellor; Professor Cobie Rudd as well as professors from various schools that are located at the ECU campuses.

One of the biggest initiatives that can be seen on all three ECU campuses is their ‘Smoke free’ campaign. It was enforced in 2012 and is implemented in numerous uses of media and advertising elements throughout the campus to guarantee all students, staff members and those visiting are aware they are not allowed to smoke cigarettes/tobacco on campus, which in turn is hoping to help those who do smoke to quit the habit (Gilligan & Wilson, 2009). The initiative was introduced as it was seen that everyone on the campus has a right to have a healthy workspace and that everyone is to be treated the same in regards to being respectful and courteous (Dumbili, 2016).

In regards to university students, mental health is a big issue among their population. Mental health disorders contribute to 15% of worldwide diseases, making up a known population of 450 million that live with a mental disorder in their day-to-day life (Leontini, et al., 2016). Determinants which can trigger a mental condition could be; a direct change in ones social life, a workload to big for the individual, discrimination amongst gender or ethnicity, an unhealthy lifestyle and being at risk of violence and being physically un well (Jaffary, 2016). As one transitions from a regular high school workload to being a student at a university, it is very stressful and many are at risk of developing a mental disorder because of the sudden change socially and in their workload (Martin, et al., 2016).

On comparison to the entire population, the university students, especially women are at a heightened risk of getting a mental health problem such as; anxiety, addictions, depression, psychosis and chronic psychiatric disorders, as well as a risk of suicide (Nastasi, 2008). In this report, anxiety will be the main mental disorder being focused on. With the prevalence of 15.6% of undergraduates and 13% of graduates, it was found that as an average, most students would have their first episodes of anxiety at the age of 22 (Aldiabat, Matani & Le Navenec, 2014). It was also found that major contribution to students developing an anxiety disorder was in regards to academic courses, failures, and factors within the 6 month semester period.


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May 10, 2023

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