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Articles: Health

SAFE ZONE—Kent State higher ed students with gluten intolerance need not worry when eating at Prentice Café, since the entire facility is gluten-free.

The number of U.S. colleges offering gluten-free dining options is rising, as more people learn about the seriousness of celiac disease, says Chris Rich, vice president of development for the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Colleges and universities taking extra care to improve the safety and quality of life for students with food allergies can participate in the Food Allergy Research & Education’s College Food Allergy Program, which launched in 2014.

In 2015, FARE chose 12 colleges nationwide to participate in a pilot program, and in 2016 the organization announced the expansion of the program to 23 additional institutions.

One of the overall goals is improving access for potential students and parents to information about food allergy accommodation efforts at colleges and universities.

Keeping college students emotionally healthy comes down to the resources campuses are willing to provide. (GettyImages.com: Solstock)

The growing demand for mental health treatment on campuses resulted in part from a national effort, mounted over the last decade or so, to eliminate stigmas and get more students to seek help when grappling with emotional distress.

MOBILE MINDFULNESS—UT Austin higher ed students and faculty using  Thrive at UT can take a few minutes to read daily and weekly gratitude reflections. Interactive quizzes help students apply the concepts to their own lives.

A well-being app encourages students at The University of Texas at Austin to stay in the moment—via the device that often takes them out of it: their phone.

First-year college students with executive function (EF) difficulties arrive on campus and can be overwhelmed by the independence.

“The reaction to people who are threatening in the workplace, classroom or laboratory environment has changed,” says International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Executive Director Sue Riseling.

“We've seen a tremendous number of cases where there is a mental illness component. Of course, that’s why you want to intervene early and get them the medical help they need.”

Despite the expanded awareness, higher ed currently struggles to keep pace with the growing need for mental health services, with a shortage of available professionals.

In uncertain political times, some higher ed lobbyists say their most important role may be blocking legislation that could harm their client colleges and universities. 

Ten years ago, few universities employed chief information security officers. Now these administrators—known as CISOs—lead teams dedicated to shielding information, systems and research from internet thieves, and to keeping up with federal regulations.

STANDARD CARE—Research college labs are required to meet federal animal research standards, which includes the need to provide a clean environment and adequate care.

Following a spate of violence aimed at animal research facilities in the late 1990s, universities have worked to create greater transparency around scientific testing while maintaining stringent security to protect staff and animals. 

In 13 Midwestern states, veterans can now receive college credit for military vocational skills and trades learned working on base or in the field.

Technology can be a powerful resource for behavioral health care. It grants a level of comfort and anonymity to those who have questions or concerns about their mental health, making it easier to reach people who otherwise might not seek help.

Over the last several decades, programs in Health Coaching, Health Advocacy, and Nutrition have gone from rare to a significant number of undergraduate and graduate programs of varying lengths, prerequisites, and professional focus.  

At the University of Oregon’s Collegiate Recovery Center, students can relax in a lounge with free coffee and tea.

To combat a surge in opioid overdoses and continued abuse of alcohol, colleges and universities are expanding services and facilities that aim to keep students in class as they recover from addiction. 

Anxiety has replaced depression as the most common reason students seek counseling on campus. (Photo: Thinkstock.com/Max-kegfire)

New research finds mental health treatment of students pays off medically and financially. With those students now pressing administrators to increase mental health services, some colleges and universities are expanding their counseling staffs and other services.

Health insurance, along with everything from faculty recruitment to information technology, is one of the emerging areas of shared services that regional consortia are now tackling. Their success in saving money and improving efficiencies has fueled a wave of new collaborations.

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