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About Us

Mission & Guiding Principles

The UHS Health Promotion Office leads campus-wide health promotion action to advance a culture of well-being, cultivate student flourishing, and positively influence student health.

Always be Student Centered

Put students at the center of our work, using participatory approaches to engage and amplify their voices.

  • Involve students in all steps of our processes, from assessing needs and collecting data to creating, implementing, and evaluating our programs and services.
  • Identify student strengths and competencies rather than problems and deficits.
  • Consider the whole student, their intersecting identities, and how their cultural filters shape their understanding and quest for health and well-being.


Pursue Ever Better Well-being

Define Meliora through the lens of student flourishing.  

  • Help students develop the skills of awareness, mindfulness, resilience, equanimity, acceptance, and self-compassion.
  • Emphasize community-oriented and compassion-centered care, rather than assuming students have the individual resources necessary for self-care.
  • Create opportunities for students to experience connectedness, belonging, and purpose.

Prioritize Evidence-Informed Interventions

Prioritize evidence-informed interventions, utilizing UR specific and national data, published research, and best practices.

  • Take part in ongoing data collection through quantitative and qualitative measures to best understand the needs of our students.
  • Disaggregate data sets whenever possible to recognize the various socio-ecological factors which impact access and outcome for individuals with marginalized identities.
  • Engage in continuing exploration of current research and best practices.

Use Collective Engagement

Be collaborative, with the understanding that this work is far greater than our individual reach.

  • Recognize that cultivating a culture of well-being will be most successful with intentional collaboration.
  • Continually develop and foster cross-sector partnerships with campus colleagues, key stakeholders, and community organizations.
  • Partner with others to jointly plan, coordinate efforts, share information and lessons learned, create a shared vision, and identify new and innovative ways to embed well-being into university systems and settings.

Think Wholistically 

Use settings and whole-system approaches to embed well-being into campus culture.

  • Investigate how various settings (classrooms, residence halls, student spaces) and systems (policies, social norms, allocation of resources) either help or hinder student flourishing.
  • Move beyond individual level interventions to achieve population and systems level change.
  • Commit to a comprehensive, inclusive, and progressive wellness model of college health promotion.

The UHS Health Promotion Office is committed to fostering a culture which values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strive to cultivate sustainable and impactful health promotion and well-being action that can be embedded into our campus community. Our work values the uniqueness of each student’s ethnic/indigenous/racial identity, nationality and citizenship, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender and gender expression, age, ability, body shape / size, and socio-economic status, veteran status, as well as the intersectionality of these social identities. Furthermore, we acknowledge that possessing these identities within environments where those identities are not fully appreciated, respected, or are actively undermined may have a significant impact on a student’s well-being and capacity to thrive.

We understand that we cannot effectively cultivate impactful health promotion without also recognizing the socio-ecological factors which impact access and outcome for individuals with marginalized identities. We play a critical role in addressing systemic and structural issues that perpetuate inequities on campus and prevent students from achieving optimal well-being. Our health promotion efforts center around a community development approach that is strengths-based and student-centered, so that our programs, services, and initiatives best meet the needs of our diverse student body. We commit to lifting up the voices of students with historically marginalized identities and engaging in shared decision-making practices within our office. We collaborate with students, colleagues, and outside organizations with expertise that we lack, and remain humble through recognition that we are a resource, rather than the key to solving issues of student well-being.

We are committed to always serving students to the best of our ability. We acknowledge that this important work is a continual cycle of learning and action, of recognizing and dismantling our biases, and of identifying needs and closing gaps. We promise to be relentless in our critical self-reflection, and will gracefully acknowledge when mistakes are made, recognizing that intent does not equal impact. This commitment is ongoing. We promise to maintain a consistent focus on the interdependence between diversity, equity, and inclusion issues which are necessary to achieve a campus culture of well-being for all students.

We begin by recognizing that the University of Rochester is located on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Onöndowa’ga (pronounced: Oh-n’own-dough-wahgah) or “the people of the Great Hill.” In English, they are known as Seneca people. The Onöndowa’ga People are members of the Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-no-SHO-nee) Confederacy, which consist of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations.

We honor and pay our respects to elders both past and present who have stewarded this land throughout the generations, and whose practices and spiritualities are tied to this land. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and genocide that have occurred on this land.

Land acknowledgement alone is not enough. It is a starting point that blossoms when partnered with reflection, intentional action, and collaborative relationship building. We recognize that academia has a long history of harming Indigenous communities, and although we are one small office within a large academic institution, we commit to taking action, both personally and professionally, in the following ways:

  • Offering land acknowledgements thoughtfully and intentionally at events and presentations we host.
  • Acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day on our social media platforms.
  • Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by sharing community events with Health Promotion staff and encouraging them to attend.
  • Encourage staff to use the #HonorNativeLand virtual backgrounds on Zoom.
  • Post signs within the Health Promotion office area acknowledging the native lands on which our building resides.
  • Continue to understand and address the unique health and well-being needs of our Indigenous students.
  • Advocate for University land acknowledgement resources, continuing education, and policy development.
  • Continue to learn and discover deeper possibilities for decolonizing relationships with people and place.

Content for this land acknowledgement was developed with gratitude to the following resources: US Department of Arts and Agriculture and Native Governance Center.

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