September 23, 2003

Gannett to Host Women's Open House

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For many female students, the daily stresses and responsibilities of living independently at college can lead to countless health problems, ranging from eating disorders and tobacco addiction to depression and anxiety. Tomorrow afternoon from 5-7 p.m., Gannett: Cornell University Health Services will host their first-ever “Women’s Health Open House” to make young women on campus more aware of these risks, and of the variety of services available to help prevent and treat these problems.

“Coming to college is a transition, especially since most students have always had someone to take care of their health needs,” said Nina Cummings, health educator at Gannett. “This [open house] is a chance to encourage women to take charge of their own health and learn about what types of questions they should be asking.”

Staff from Gannett programs, such as Cornell Healthy Eating, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Tobacco Cessation program will be on hand to answer questions. Medical staff will also be available to provide information on sexual health and birth control methods.

In the past, Gannett has focused on outreach programs to educate groups such as athletic teams, fraternities and sororities about health risks and prevention but this will be the first open house at the health center.

“There are many barriers for women, especially in their first year, to take the first step towards taking control of their health care,” said Sharon Dittman, associate director of community relations at Gannett. “The purpose of this open house is to make people feel welcome, less afraid, and empowered.”

The organizers’ goal is that women will walk away with a proactive attitude towards their health.

“You don’t have to wait until you are totally, completely depressed and stressed out to come and see a counselor,” Cummings said.

The open house will also feature free massages and free food. Peer educators will give tours of the facility, including the newly renovated Level Six.

Nicole Augustine ’04, intern at Gannett, will staff a table on women’s sexual health, focusing on the female condom as a way to give women power in protecting their bodies from disease.

“I’m hoping this open house will give a lot of women good information about what it is to be healthy and will empower them to take action to see the doctor more often and take good care of the mind and the body collectively,” Augustine said.

Archived article by Stacey Delikat

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