Health Now!, a completely student-run and constructed public health campaign, will soon be the newest student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The organization’s founder, junior Kylie Ruprecht, wanted a way to highlight healthcare resources available to students and increase public health outreach on campus.
“We want to facilitate discussion and thoughtful thinking in students about their health so that when they leave school and are primarily in charge of their own health, they can be informed consumers and advocate for themselves,” Ruprecht said.
Health Now! is created by students for students, and aims to help students become informed and empowered to advocate for their own healthcare needs. Students passionate about serving the community and health, like Ruprecht and the Health Now! team, are bringing that goal to the UW campus.
As a member of the Unexplored Medical Professions Society, Ruprecht gathered students who are interested in careers related to health and are passionate about improving health in the community. They brainstormed and settled on a goal to advocate for better access to healthcare resources through education of services available and facilitating discussion surrounding healthcare.
“I have had trouble obtaining quality healthcare, especially growing up,” Ruprecht said. “I think that a lot of young people don't know of all the options available to them and feel overwhelmed by the thought.”
Programming is set to include signs covering Bascom Hill, social media and posters in campus buildings highlighting health resources like take-home STD tests and information on free clinics. In early December, the group hopes to get local high schools involved and lobby University Health Services for new measures and ideas that could increase healthcare access.
Health Now! is already in contact with University Health Services, but in order to reach as many people as possible, the group is hoping to get Dane County and Wisconsin Departments of Health involved. Giving suggestions on how to improve quality healthcare, and having programming featured on their websites and other forms of promotion would increase exposure and inform students living not just in the campus area.
“My biggest hope for Health Now! is that the message and at least one component of our programming will reach every student on campus, and members of the larger community as well,” Ruprecht said.