Wisconsin Clearinghouse closes doors after 40 years of health outreach to Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources closes its doors this year after four decades of serving the citizens of Wisconsin.

A living, breathing embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea, the Clearinghouse sought to transform communities and bring people together on issues surrounding public health, including obesity, tobacco use, and alcohol and other drug abuse. Community stakeholders were also convened in the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea throughout the Clearinghouse’s history. Often, the goals surrounding these issues could only be achieved by involving key public health and community members.

“After nearly 40 years of evolving we are ending our work with real results, many success stories, and a group of more highly focused agents of change in all of the communities we had the pleasure of working with under our final phase as funders of the Transform WI Grants,” said Julie Swanson, co-director of the Clearinghouse.

Opened in 1975, the Clearinghouse was originally affiliated with the University of Wisconsin’s Dean of Students Office. In 1980, affiliation was shifted to UW Hospitals but returned to the Dean of Students Office five years later.

Finally, in 1992, UW Chancellor Donna Shalala moved all campus health-related services, including the Clearinghouse, under the umbrella of University Health Services, where it resided until its closing.

The Transform Wisconsin Fund is just one of many outreach efforts undertaken by the Clearinghouse. Conducted from 2011 through 2014, it worked to create tobacco-free living environments, get students up and moving through physical activity in the classroom, and more.

The Clearinghouse’s unique position allowed it to remain both innovative and responsive to the ever-changing health needs of Wisconsin. Non-traditional prevention partners were often brought together to collaborate on projects; as the leader of Wisconsin’s five-year Community Transformation Grant, the Clearinghouse drew on UW resources like the Department of Family Medicine.

The closure of the Clearinghouse leaves a void in public outreach in Wisconsin. Standing on neutral ground, the Clearinghouse worked to improve the lives of Wisconsinites even as the political landscape shifted over the course of 40 years.

Swanson said she is proud of the work the unit accomplished.

“With our head in the academic world and our feet solidly planted at the community level where theory can become reality, our legacy shows you can shorten the cycle of change in public health.”

Our Three Rs for Spring Break

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Ah, spring break. For one week, Badgers get to catch up on some much-needed R&R after an intense start to the spring semester. No matter where your destination—be it home or Hawaii—we at UHS are committed to making sure you leave with the best tips to get the most out of a restful break.

REFUEL
During the semester, students are infamous for being short on free time, which means sacrificing many things like proper meals and exercise. This spring break, you can get back on track to a healthy lifestyle by reincorporating habits like eating well, getting enough sleep, and keeping up a workout routine. For example, try your hand at exploring different recipes for different meals so you know which simple and fast ones you can cook when school starts again. Remember to also integrate exercise, it’s a great time especially to do some outdoor activities! Do this routinely for a week and plan to carry these habits forward for the rest of the semester. If you make them a priority, they’ll naturally fit into your schedule.

RELAX
Breathe in, breathe out. Spring break is a great time to escape from academic-related worries and get into things that will help you stress less. Crack open that great book that’s collected dust on your shelf, try out a yoga class with a friend, or head to a spa and ease those tense muscles. Having time to let go of worries and allow the pace of life to slow down a little can be really beneficial in terms of putting you in a positive frame of mind as you approach the second half of the semester.

REVAMP
If you’re a worker bee and proud of it, the break can also be used to really get your head back in the game. One week is plenty of time to lay out your goals, tasks, long-term and short-term plans, and come up with action items to achieve them over the rest of the school year. When you get organized through doing things like cleaning up your work desk, budgeting, or making a to-do list, completing tasks will feel a lot easier because you’re not panicking about the need to sort through the clutter. Believe us, your post-spring break self will feel a lot more confident heading into the months to come!

For more tips on having a happy and healthy spring break, visit uhs.wisc.edu/spring-break/

“It Happened Here” screening, discussion examine impact of sexual assault on campuses

On March 25, the documentary “It Happened Here” was shown at the Marquee Theater at Union South. “It Happened Here” follows five female college students as they recount their experiences with sexual assault at their respective schools, and the activism that grew out of those events. The documentary illustrates how sexual assault impacts the lives of students and their communities, and highlights the efforts of student activists to affect change.

The film was followed by a panel discussion with Sam Johnson, the violence prevention specialist with UHS EVOC; Jamie Temple, the survivor services coordinator at UHS EVOC; and Tonya Schmidt, the Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Student Title IX and Clery Compliance.

“Each survivor’s needs are different when it comes to healing from a sexual assault,” says Temple. “Survivors, especially student survivors, inherently know that reporting their assault comes with a social risk, particularly when the perpetrator is someone they know.”

This film shows the journey of these five women as they deal with denial, fear, social isolation, and frustration. It also shows their strength, and their efforts to change how sexual assault is managed at their schools.

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“In addition to ensuring that student survivors are supported in achieving their academic success, UW-Madison continues to invest in primary prevention efforts and programming,” says Johnson. “The goal is to assist students in developing the knowledge and skill sets they will need to challenge disrespectful attitudes and harmful behaviors that contribute to sexual and relationship violence.”

This film sparks an important conversation about rape culture, consent, and respect; through these conversations, we can discover proactive ways to make students feel safe and supported on campus.

Appropriately, the national campaign focus of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April is on college sexual assault. The event highlighted services offered by the university for survivors, and hopefully served as a launching point for students to be engaged in preventing sexual assault on campus.

For more information on the services available to you, visit http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/assault/sa-resources.shtml. Students, faculty, and staff can call, email, or visit UHS EVOC during open access hours to learn more about resources and options for student survivors.

– Jodi Stern, UW-Madison #ItsOnUs campus organizer

Getting Through It: How to make the most of the rest of your semester

You’re over halfway there! First rounds of midterms are through, spring break is just ahead, and you’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But with all that may come a growing workload, dwindling motivation, more erratic sleeping habits and heightened stress.

Sound familiar to you? Try some of these tips to pick yourself back up, stay on track and finish it out on a strong note.

  1. Map it out and form a plan: Review your syllabi and planner and make sure all of your due dates match up. This will let you “map out” your study course and plan your schedule for the rest of the semester.
  1. Check in with your goals: This is a great time to take a step back and objectively reevaluate your performance so far. Are you where you want to be? What steps can you take to get or stay on track to accomplishing personal goals? Maybe write some down, as well as manageable steps you can take get there in the coming weeks.
  1. Pay your professor and TA a visit: If you haven’t done it already (or even if you have), it doesn’t hurt to go into office hours and talk with your instructors about, well, anything! If you’re unhappy with an exam grade, this is a good opportunity to get pointers on how to improve before finals. Bring in any past tests or papers, so your TA and professor can provide individualized feedback.
    General tip: Even if you don’t have a specific reason for going into office hours, it’s still a good idea to drop by. Meeting with instructors is another way for them to recognize you, and if you do end up needing their help later on, it’ll be less intimidating.
  1. Connect with family and loved ones for support: Feeling the stress? Reach out to your family or friends. Checking in on those you care about, and who care about you, is a nice reminder of your support system. Plus, they can offer valuable advice and guidance.
  1. Keep some perspective: Remind yourself that your school work is like a full time job, and should be treated as such. Are you putting in the amount of time and energy that your studies require? If not, it may be time to hit up tip #2 and work to make studying a higher goal, which might require making other sacrifices to keep tabs on what you decide is most important.
  1. Spice it up: Been studying in the same library, at the same desk all semester? Try switching up your routine and changing your scenery! A new study atmosphere might provide new levels of motivation and energy to help you plug through till the end. And on a campus this size, there’s no shortage of new places to discover!
  1. Respect your health: This is huge, and should naturally happen if you follow our other tips! This means getting sleep, eating well, exercising routinely, keeping your priorities in check, and effectively managing your time so that you’re able to do activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Keeping your mind and body healthy will keep you focused and driven through finals.

Keep these tips in mind next time you start to feel overwhelmed. And just remember, you’ve made it this far already! Study on, Badgers!