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March 11, 2010 Volume 31, No. 23

Mizzou promotes women’s wellness

Well and good

Verna Rhodes, left, a retired associate professor of nursing, speaks with Jennifer Farmer at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Mid-Missouri exhibit during the annual Women's Health and Wellness Fair March 4 at the Memorial Union. The event is hosted by the MU's committee on the status of women and sponsored by the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative. Rob Hill photo

Holistic health

Nearly 250 faculty, staff and students attended March 4 event

Health concerns from body image to sexually transmitted diseases were among the topics broached at the third annual Women’s Health and Wellness Fair. The Chancellor’s Status of Women Committee was host to the event held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 4 in Memorial Union’s Stotler Lounge.

The informative gathering, open to both men and women, drew nearly 250 students, faculty and staff, says co-organizer Rebecca Calvin, marketing specialist for the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, which sponsored the event. More than 20 campus and local vendors filled the lounge, providing information of interest,  from adult day care to yoga. This year’s goal was to educate people holistically, Calvin says.

“We wanted them to visit and experience a whole-health learning environment with an assortment of offerings and information about their own personal and medical health, including topics such as risks for heart disease, stroke, cancer and anything related to reproductive issues, as well as information on mental health through exercise and gardening,” Calvin says. “We would have liked to see a few more people coming through, but even if only a few people came and learned something that can help them, then we have met our goals.”

One relatively new campus organization on hand was GIFTS — Girls In Favor of True Self. GIFTS is a student initiative that was adopted from an earlier pilot program developed as an eating prevention disorders curriculum, says Kim Webb, health educator for Student Health Services.

“We have gone from there and adopted our own name,” she says. “ We are more about women’s empowerment. Our mission is to promote awareness about self-image for women, to increase confidence and to further their success in personal development through a positive teaching and learning environment.”

GIFTS is a nine-week curriculum, and during the ninth week students go into local high schools and teach what they have learned. “We are trying to brand the name GIFTS and make it a concept and icon that symbolizes strong women who take care of themselves and one that promotes the status of women.” Those interested in being a part of the program’s development should call Webb at 882-3280.

Other groups at the fair were the Women’s Wellness Center, Missouri OB/GYN Associates and University Hospital for those interested in adolescent gynecology, contraception/family planning, menopause, obstetrics and prenatal care.

Attendees could pick up literature and talk to professionals about cancer risks, from breast to skin, from The American Cancer Society, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and the Mid-Missouri Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation or MU’s Dermatology Department; learn about heart disease and related ailments from the American Heart Association and the Public Health Department. Other vendors included: Overeaters Anonymous, LaLeche of Columbia, RAIN, Alley Cat Yoga, Mizzou Rec Center and Healthy for Life Wellness Program.

The Chancellor’s Status of Women Committee was host to this event. The committee works to create an environment of equity, fairness and justice for all women on campus and to promote the advancement of women through education, communication, advocacy, support and activism. The group also investigates the status of women at Mizzou and makes policy recommendations to the provost.

For more information about the fair or the committee, call Calvin at 884-0640 or visit or