08:28 AM

​Two-day conference to focus on advancing health and wellness

Finding new partners and new connections to lead to a healthier world is the goal of the 2018 Community Engagement Conference at The Ohio State University.

The conference is a new initiative for the university. Donna Shalala, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, will be the keynote speaker for the first day of the two-day event at the Ohio Union on Jan. 24 and 25.

“We hope that maybe by bringing our off campus and on campus folks together we can have a more concentrated and well-coordinated effort in helping solve some of the problems that are facing our state today,” said Roger Rennekamp, director of OSU Extension.

Stephen Myers

The focus is on health and wellness because it’s an area where the university can make an impact Rennekamp said. He noted life expectancy in the country is no longer among the best in the world.

“Well we believe that health and wellness of a community is just essential for how families can thrive,” said Associate Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement Stephen Myers. “And so we have a big effort at Ohio State University across many colleges that relate to health and wellness and we chose that to be our first theme for this conference.”

Myers said the conference is designed to provide faculty, staff, students and community partners with opportunities for professional development and networking. Conference organizers are currently seeking presenters focused on building and sustaining health-centered community engagement projects.

 Roger Rennekamp

Myers said the conference fits Ohio State’s mission as a modern, land-grant university.

“If you look at the strategic plan, there's a strong emphasis on community engagement and I think that's because one of the big goals of this strategic plan is that in the 21st century, Ohio State is going to focus on solving the very complex societal issues that we face,” Myers said.

Rennekamp agreed.

“I truly believe that Ohio State is committed to solving the problems of the state of Ohio, the nation and the world,” he said. “And I think this really brings the three mission areas of the university together on campus: our teaching, our research and our commitment to community engagement in ways that make the world a better place to live.”

If you are interested in learning more about the conference or submitting a proposal, you can learn more at the conference website.