Creating Health and Building Community
Raphael Coleman 10C 13MPH is the assistant director for prevention strategies with the Office of Health Promotion within Campus Life. He is an active member in GALA who understands the pulse of Emory students on campus.
The Office of Health Promotion is designed to foster healthy interaction between the university and its students. As they describe, “Students connect with our office to get involved in promoting health on campus. We advise several student organizations, interns and student volunteers who want to take action to promote positive psychology, better sleep, great sex, violence prevention, and general wellness.
What do you find most fascinating about your role on Emory’s campus?
We work on very important topics, but there is a strong understanding that nothing we do is done in silo. We always think about what works for Emory students when it comes to promoting health. We have a strong social justice foundation for how we approach health promotion, so we do think how our work impacts marginalized groups on campus. When we plan programming, we ask, how can we minimize some of the health disparities that may occur on campus?
Can you tell us the PrEP Clinic?
I also work in sexual health promotion to help coordinate the PrEP clinic with Student Health Services. Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, also known as PrEP, is available at Student Health Services. PrEP may be appropriate for some students at higher risk for contracting HIV. PrEP consists of a once-a-day medication; regular condom use; and routine medical visits with labs (usually every three months). Through this I have sexual health education conversations with students who are using PrEP. Emory is so responsive to preventive care. They took the lead with intentional conversations about sexual health, going above and beyond what might be expected. I’m glad to play a role in this important process.
You are a Double Eagle with two degrees from Emory. What surprises you most about Emory students?
I’m amazed by how Emory consistently attracts the same type of incredible student. They share a very similar passion for knowledge and for changing the world that we live in. Students are thinking beyond what they will do professionally and are already thinking about how their work can impact the world. They are brilliant, and many may already have professional focus. It’s so awesome. We have created an intellectual space for them that helps to develop innovators. Our students create their own businesses. They are very entrepreneurial whether their work is for profit or nonprofit.
Why do you think GALA is important?
It is so important to introduce our students to GALA alumni who remain connected to the campus. These alumni demonstrate their passion for Emory, they are doing great things professionally, and they also have a voice in shaping Emory’s policy. Many also do social justice work when it comes to bettering our communities.
Editor’s Note: Raph writes, “I work with faculty, staff, and students to build a healthy campus environment, particularly as it relates to changing the campus culture and climate around high-risk alcohol and other drug use. Prior to my current role, I held positions in residence life, student conduct, Greek Life, and health promotion. I am a Double Eagle, having earned a BS in NBB from Emory College and a MPH from RSPH in BSHE. When I am not at Emory, I enjoy hanging with friends or taking classes towards my PhD in College Student Affairs Administration at UGA! My hobbies include cooking, karaoke, taking road trips, and visiting local festivals!”