By Bella Omar
What is your academic and professional background?
I have my undergraduate degree in anthropology. And then I got a master’s in nursing and became a nurse practitioner, so I’ve been a certified nurse practitioner for over 20 years. In 2006, I came to FSU and worked as a clinical nurse practitioner in the health center. I did that for a few years and then realized that my real passion is health education, so I came over to this office and have been here ever since. I focus on prevention and education. I’ve always had an interest in health and wellness.
What does your current position entail?
There are a lot of different hats that I get to wear. One of them is that I run the [Support Education Action Leadership Strength] SEALS peer health educator program, which is a paid student leadership position on campus. We’re currently hiring for next year’s SEALS. I train them on health and wellness topics and then they go out into peer-to-peer education. They do that in tabling, health fairs, res-programming, social media, and lots of different avenues. That’s a big part of my job. The other part of my job is I meet with students individually who want to talk, or I meet with students individually to talk with them about their drug or alcohol use - particularly if they violated the school policy. I still do a lot of prevention education on campus depending on what the current public health needs are. So it is really quite flexible, depending on what is going on.
What is something unique about your position?
I love the flexibility. I love how much I work with students. I love the content. The topics I get to focus on. I love seeing students thrive. Yeah, I actually love my job.
What are some resources that the health center provides that students may not know about?
So the health center provides pretty much everything a primary care center would provide. So that’s everything from sexual health, to, you know, musculoskeletal health to colds and flues. We have a nutritionist on staff I think a lot of people don’t know about. We have a physician from Children’s Hospital that comes once a week. And then we have three full-time nurse practitioners who do the bulk of the work. And then there’s my local office, which is wellness. So that’s the clinical services over there. And then this is education and prevention in here. So the other thing people might not know is that all visits to the health center are free of charge. And they can prescribe medication and obviously … contraception, and STI testing, and free pregnancy testing.
What do you look for in a potential SEAL?
They have to have a call to health and wellness - that has to be number 1. I look for someone who’s interested in growing as a person. I look for people who want to do the work - who would think doing outreach in a res hall, or a table at one of our fairs would be kind of exciting. I have eight [SEALS] right now - next year, I hope to have 10.
Does the health center have any upcoming programs?
Let’s tell people about Rams Refresh, which is every Thursday, in the CIE, 1:45 to 2:15. I do a guided meditation - it’s open to all students and I do it with one of the counselors upstairs. And it's drop-in - you don’t have to plan if you’re going to come and it’s only 30 minutes, in and out. And so that’s been a new program this year. It’s been great to collaborate with the CIE. Another thing we have coming up is Narcan training on Feb. 27, 4:30 to 5:30. That one is open to anyone - they can come and they’ll get free Narcan. They’ll leave knowing how to use it, when to use it, and why to use it. We’ll also be talking about [fentanyl] test strips. And so that’s an opportunity for anyone who may find that interesting. Another thing we have is our biggest event of the year called Fresh Check Day, on April 3, noon to 1:30. That is a suicide prevention fair and a mental health promotion space. It’s very fun, actually. We’ll have students, a lot of different student organizations having booths, and there will be lots of free giveaways and everyone hopefully will leave knowing a little bit more about suicide prevention and how to help themselves or a friend.