Public Health and Wellness renews its programming on sleep and sexual health


Public Health and Wellness first introduced the initiative in 2018. Credit: Jesse Zhang

Penn Public Health and Wellness brings two back online self-help initiatives designed to help students improve their sleep and sexual health this semester.

The programs – called “Refresh” and “Penn’s Declassified Sex Survival Guide” – have each attracted 3,400 attendees and 1,500 attendees, respectively, since their inception. Both programs are open to all Penn community students, staff, and faculty.

The “Refresh” program is a seven-week asynchronous program where students can receive weekly emails with tips on how to boost the quality of their sleep. Penn’s Declassified Sex Survival Guide is a six-week, asynchronous program that provides comprehensive sex education to students via email.

Public Health and Wellness introduced this initiative to Penn in the spring of 2018 after National College Health Assessment Survey results showed demand for additional sleep health programs.

The “Refresh” program originated in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and was created for students improve your sleep and general well-being. Her program dives deep into topics like the science behind the circadian clock, how to build a productive sleep environment, and mindful bedtime practices.

More than 800 participants signed up in the first half of its launch, reflecting “the need and interest” for such a program, public health and wellness educator Lauren Cordova wrote in an email to the Daily Pennsylvanian. .

“Because the program is asynchronous and delivered via email, it’s accessible and fits into almost anyone’s schedule,” Cordova said. “Each semester, ‘Refresh’ has shown a statistically significant reduction in insomnia-like symptoms for those with insomnia based on the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), as well as notable improvements in the quality overall sleep in all participants.”

Due to the success of “Refresh”, Public Health and Wellbeing led the creation of the “Penn’s Declassified Sex Survival Guide” program in the spring of 2019 and launched it in the spring of 2020.

The “Declassified” curriculum covers anatomy, sexually transmitted infections, barrier and contraceptive methods of birth control, communication, and other holistic sexual health information. The program has received overwhelming positive feedback, according to Cordova.

“Participants saw a statistically significant increase in positive attitudes toward safer sex after completing the program and a statistically significant increase in those who had been tested for HIV one year after completing the program,” he said. she declared.

She added that the team received great feedback, particularly on the program’s discussion of “substance use, communication and healthy relationships.”

Over the year, Public Health and Wellness will have served hundreds of students through its “Refresh” and “Declassified” cohorts. Last spring, 452 members of the Penn community participated in “Refresh” and 180 participated in “Penn’s Declassified Sex Survival Guide.” This fall, 140 Penn community members are currently enrolled in “Refresh” and about 60 are enrolled in “Declassified,” according to Cordova.

“We typically see higher attendance in the spring semester, especially among undergraduates, because after the fall semester students begin to recognize their own behavior and identify their need for sleep education. and/or sexual health,” she said.

Outside of the “Refresh” and “Declassified” programs, anyone interested in hosting a health workshop for their college, student group, class, or any other group can request a workshop on the Public Health and Wellness website.


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