Health and Human Services Week Focuses On Healthy Minds, Bodies and Communities

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

In late March, Health and Human Services Week will celebrate healthy minds, bodies and communities, and will address important issues like veteran suicide prevention. Health and Human Services Week is the College of Health and Human Services’ signature university-community event. The weeklong celebration reflects the College’s mission of creating transformative learning experiences, advancing knowledge through research and scholarly activity, and engaging communities.

Health and Human Services Week is slated for March 23-27 on the UNCW campus. The 23 events planned this year range from lectures and showcases to wellness activities and art programs.

“We encourage students, faculty, staff and community partners to attend, to celebrate health and wellness, and to learn new information and skills to keep themselves and the community healthy,” said Ashley Wells, assistant dean for community engagement and impact. “We enjoy this week and see it as an opportunity to enhance our learning, our relationship building and our commitment to enhancing health and quality of life.”

The week kicks off with the annual Research and Innovation Day, featuring a keynote, “Health Care Innovation in VA and the Military” from the Honorable Robert Wilkie, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The presentation will highlight ways the military and Veterans Affairs are using innovative technologies and approaches to address health concerns amongst soldiers.

The lecture begins at noon on March 23 in Kenan Auditorium. Tickets are required and are available through the Kenan Auditorium Box Office Monday-Friday from noon until 4 p.m. For questions regarding tickets, including reserving blocks of tickets for classes, contact Abigail Beck at or call 910.962.3500.

Later that evening,  Wilkie will join Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston and MSG Leroy Petry, both Medal of Honor recipients, and Student Veterans of America President and CEO Jared Lyon for a panel discussion about preventing suicides in the veteran community. Livingston and Petry, who served during the Vietnam era and current conflicts, will discuss their challenges, how they’ve overcome them and ways to have difficult conversations about suicide.

“A Conversation on Veteran Suicide Prevention” will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 23 in Trask Coliseum. The event is free, but tickets are required.  Contact the UNCW Office of Military Affairs to obtain tickets at The event will also be streamed at

A majority of the events are open to the public. Check here for a detailed schedule.

Highlights of the rest of the week include:

Tuesday, March 24: Film: “What Counts”
3 p.m. McNeill Hall, Room 1005

“What Counts” highlights the stories and experiences of a growing group of leaders who are taking critical steps to end health disparities among their patients. Spanning a diverse set of geographies and organizations, the film shows what's possible when we reimagine what counts as healthcare. A panel discussion will follow.

Wednesday, March 25: Impacts of Childhood Poverty: Taking the Pulse on Poverty
6 p.m. McNeill Hall, Room 1005

Explore issues of children living in poverty including health, education and the social service system. Panelists will speak about their expertise and discuss how to address these challenges. Learn how collaborating with UNCW faculty, staff and students can help to address some of the issues related to childhood poverty.

Thursday, March 26: Homemade Happiness
2 p.m. McNeill Hall, Room 1051

What do we need to be happy? Explore different researched strategies that increase our ability to be happy. Learn scientifically proven ingredients to homemade happiness including mindfulness, self-compassion, gratitude, sharing positive experiences, having a purpose, and kindness, while hearing suggestions of concrete methods of implementation to improve your daily wellbeing.

Friday, March 27: The Impact of Historical Trauma and Racism in Wilmington: Promoting Resilience and Healing
7 p.m. McNeill Hall, Room 1005

This event provides a better understanding of Wilmington’s unique history and the legacy of historical and racial trauma existent today. Experience the Invisibility Project’s powerful dance and spoken word performance that conveys the emotional narrative of Wilmington’s history in the wake of the 1898 coup d’état and massacre. Hear from local community leaders to help us connect the past to the present, exploring contemporary issues relevant to service provision within the context of historical trauma and racism. A reception will follow.

--Venita Jenkins