Nicholls and Thibodaux Regional Medical Center Launch Pilot Course

THIBODAUX – Nicholls State University and Thibodaux Regional Medical Center have teamed to establish “Living Well” – a spring 2010 special topics course in the Department of Allied Health Sciences that is designed to promote physical fitness, weight control and other healthy lifestyle choices. The goal is to promote behavior among college-age students that will reduce the likelihood of obesity-related diseases later in life.

“Several months ago, we approached Nicholls about sponsoring this special course and received a positive response,” Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional, said. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Nicholls to address an important community health issue. Thibodaux Regional provides surgical weight loss intervention, including gastric banding, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, but we wanted to become more involved and expand our reach in prevention.”

Students who live in Nicholls residence halls can enroll in the spring 2010 pilot course, taught by a multidisciplinary team from various academic departments. In addition to receiving standard classroom instruction – as well as academic credit following successful completion of the course – students will participate in baseline, midpoint and final wellness assessments and engage in a variety of physical activities.

“I am delighted that Thibodaux Regional has agreed to support such a worthwhile initiative,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “The collaboration between our two institutions will empower students to take control of their overall wellness.”

Simone Camel, program faculty chair, assistant professor and coordinator of the dietetics program, said the new course “will evaluate the best ways to engage young adults in our community.”

“We will utilize upper level dietetics and fitness students to act as peer support – hopefully resulting in student-led campus activities in the future,” Camel said. “The Nicholls community will benefit from the increased offerings of exercise programs, including strength training, yoga, salsa aerobics and cardio boxing. We anticipate that the improved lifestyle behaviors of our students will positively influence the health behaviors of their families in the Thibodaux community."

Dr. Michele Caruso, program faculty member, grant co-investigator and dean of student services, said lifestyle coaching will be an integral part of the new program.

“Participants will not only have an opportunity to learn about nutrition and fitness, but also how their thoughts, behaviors and emotions fit into their decision-making with regard to nutrition and physical fitness,” Caruso said. “This presents a wonderful opportunity for them to make long-lasting and meaningful decisions that will in turn impact those around them.”

Pictured from left are Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president; Simone Camel, program faculty chair, assistant professor and coordinator of the dietetics program; Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional; and Jacob Giardina, Chairman of the Board of Thibodaux Regional.