In a recent blog post, I wrote about BTU, Towson University’s framework for supporting and growing partnerships in Greater Baltimore. One of the five primary impact areas of BTU is addressing community health and well-being across the Greater Baltimore region.
As a leader in addressing community health and well-being, we can’t expect our students and citizens to be productive if we do not address the health and well-being of everyone. We believe that supporting family stability through this lens is essential and we are working across the spectrum to provide services from pre-natal to the elderly.
Much of the work being done to address lifelong health and well-being is done in partnership with the Institute for Well-Being and the College of Health Professions. Located in downtown Towson, the Institute for Well-Being serves as a learning lab for TU students while providing innovative services and education programs to members of the community. The College of Health Professions offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in a wide range of health care professions that enhance health, well-being, and quality of life.
Below are just three examples of how the Greater Baltimore community is benefiting from partnerships with TU’s faculty and students.
Supporting Transitional Aged Youth and Community Integration
One of TU’s closest neighbors is the Sheppard Pratt Health System, one of the nation’s top mental health systems. Through a partnership with the College of Health Professions, TU students offer two community programs to transitional age youth clients at Sheppard Pratt. These young people will be returning home and need opportunities to engage in healthy community experiences that promote their successful transition back home and their successful return to healthy routines. Benefits from this partnership are two-fold.
- Working with clients in these programs provides an opportunity for TU students to develop their professional skills as they create and implement a program for community members.
- Stigma is often attached to individuals housed at Sheppard Pratt. This collaboration allows those clients to engage in community activities that meet their social and developmental needs with peers from different areas, incomes, and backgrounds.
Gilchrist Hospice Center Baltimore at Joseph Richey House
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing careers in the country and TU’s nursing programs prepare students to play key roles in health care delivery around Maryland. Through a partnership with Gilchrist Hospice Center Baltimore at Joseph Richey House, TU nursing students provide nursing care to terminally ill patients in inpatient and outpatient settings in under served communities in Baltimore City. The students learn to work with diverse populations in a community setting while practicing the skills they have learned through their curriculum.
Surfers Healing Our Children with Autism
Children living with autism often struggle with sensory overload; surfing has been found to offer relief from these symptoms. Each August in Ocean City, MD, Surfers Healing sponsors professional surfers to provide a free surfing camp to children with autism. Not only does this unique program introduce children to surfing, it also helps to reduce stress.
Students in the Honors College and Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science volunteer and assist with the surfing camp and family fun day. Through this service-learning project, TU students provide a valuable service to our community partners as they lead activities on the beach for children while offering some respite for their families.
To learn more about BTU and how Towson University is putting partnerships to work for Greater Baltimore, visit www.towson.edu/btu.