A new Ryerson group on campus is gearing up to raise awareness about public health issues.
The Ryerson Public Health Outreach Group aims to discuss topics including STI prevention, food safety, vaccination, diseases and more.
The group was granted official status by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) in April and is still establishing how it will run. Currently, the group has 90 members and will mainly operate online where current health issues will be discussed on the group’s Facebook page and Twitter. Optional meetings will be held monthly to facilitate in-person discussions.
“We just want to make everyone aware of all the things they can do to ensure their life is the healthiest it can be,” said Jessica Pryzdial, one of the group’s three executives.
For now, the group plans to distribute information printouts and condoms to students. When the weather gets colder, the group plans to put together care packages for the students, which would include HALLS, Kleenex and other things people often use when they get sick.
The group will also inform the Ryerson community on how to potentially avoid the flu by getting vaccinated, or the importance of handwashing.
“I’m very excited to have such dedicated and passionate students who feel it is their responsibility to raise awareness on issues of public health importance,” said Jordan Tustin, the group’s supervisor and an assistant professor at Ryerson’s school of occupational and public health.
Pryzdial said the hope is that the group will create a ripple effect and provide more information to friends and families. She said there are a lot public health issues locally and globally, but little awareness and too much misinformation.
“[Students] will probably take away a sense of awareness about what’s going on in public health,” she said. “A sense that public health affects everyone – it doesn’t discriminate, it’s not prejudice – it can affect anyone.”
Shafi U. Bhuiyan, an adjunct professor at Ryerson’s school of occupational and public health, says the group will generate knowledge and understanding, allowing students to become change agents at home, at a community level and national level.
“I think this is the best way,” he said. “You learn from each other and try to adopt and adjust in your daily life.”