Public health organization awarded for service, research

The Gamma Mu Chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma, the national public health education honorary, was awarded the Chapter Excellence Award by the national Eta Sigma Gamma office. The award is the highest award a local chapter can receive, and it recognizes a year of chapter achievement in service and education. Gamma Mu is one of six chapters nationwide to earn this distinctive award.

The organization spends significant time hosting and planning service-related events in the community and on campus. These events offer members, WMU students and community members access to new ways to get involved.

Kaleigh Storey

Eta Sigma Gamma president, Kaleigh Storey, reflected on the advancements of the organization in education and service activities.

“Our chapter compared to other chapters of Eta Sigma Gamma is relatively small, but we have made it our mission not to let our size affect how much we do as an organization,” Storey said. “It is nice to see that our hard work is not going unrecognized and we are having our chapter’s work noticed by the national organization of Eta Sigma Gamma.”

The Gamma Mu Chapter also received the Research Activity Award for research WMUs chapter conducted in regard to food deserts surrounding universities.

“The goal of this research was to investigate the extent of food deserts surrounding universities and what factors might correlate with students living in a food desert and demographic student data,” Storey said. “We analyzed 18 universities across the nation and found census tracts surrounding universities with high student populations have high likelihood of being food deserts.”

The Gamma Mu Chapter was also notified of a $132, 557 Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Grant awarded to WMU from the State of Michigan. The grant will focus on developing and implementing new sexual assault prevention strategies. #UHaveAVoice, a social media-based approach to providing sexual assault prevention messages was developed under the guidance of Dr. Robert Bensley, professor and co-coordinator of WMU’s public health programs.

WMU’s public health program, the public health education honorary, and the WMU Office of Health Education and Promotion will work alongside Eta Sigma Gamma to introduce the new campaign.

“Eta Sigma Gamma will assist in conducting focus group assessment, developing and pilot testing social media messages, and gathering evaluation data,” Storey said. “It is a great example of combining an academic program, student organization and student affairs in addressing a public health problem on WMU’s campus.”