DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Jan 18, 2017) - Grit Digital Health, LLC (Grit) released a new version of the YOU at College portal for higher education institutions on January 16 to further promote healthy lifestyles in the increasingly diverse setting of today's college campuses.
Originally piloted at Colorado State University in October 2015, the mission of the YOU portal remains to connect students with online and on-campus resources to promote a healthy, well-rounded college experience. YOU is a confidential, online tool for students to build self-awareness and gain access to resources to help them in three primary areas of college life: Succeed (academic and career success), Thrive (physical and mental well-being) and Matter (purpose and sense of belonging on campus).
Since launching at Colorado State University in fall 2015 and Colorado Mesa University in fall 2016, the YOU portal has connected over 13,500 students with online and on-campus resources with students averaging five minutes per visit. Customization is an essential aspect of the YOU experience. When partnering with universities, YOU adopts the brand identity (e.g. logo, colors, URL) of each campus in addition to integrating resources unique to each institution. Colorado State University's instance of YOU includes nearly 200 campus resources ranging from student organizations, resource websites and pertinent phone numbers for students seeking assistance through the university. The second level of customization on YOU begins with each individual student. Input provided from students in their personal profiles and in the three 'Reality Check' assessments inform the website's algorithm to sort and serve the most relevant resources toward the top of a student's content feed.
Nationally, the need for solutions that address inequalities in both mental and physical healthcare persists.
According to a report from the National Academy of Sciences released January 2017, one of two ways that unequal health care arises is from intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural inequities that organize the distribution resources differentially across lines of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender expression, etc. Essentially, the variables that obstruct or provide individuals' access to healthcare are widespread and are present in structural systems, including educational institutions.
Universities work to combat systemic disparities in several ways. Examples include student access to diversity offices serving marginalized identities such as race, disability and sexual orientation. These offices, which are embedded into campus resource infrastructure, are exemplary initiatives to ensure equal quality of care and support. However, digital solutions equipped with the same level of consideration for intersecting identities are recent advancements still in the adaptation phase.
"While more and more students of color, international students, first-generation students and students from out-of-state choose CSU, it becomes increasingly important that our students find the support they need," said Anne Hudgens, Executive Director of the CSU Health Network.
The product update of YOU at College aligns resources to ensure tailored care and access to each unique student on today's diverse campuses. For further personalization, the updated YOU at College portal provides additional avenues for campus resource utilization and visibility with the newly released predictive search and featured content functionality. The new version of YOU boasts increased compatibility with screen-reading technologies for visual and/or hearing-impaired users seeking academic, wellness or community-related assistance in their college careers.
Other notable improvements on YOU include:
- A redesigned interface that places content and resources on the foreground of the user experience.
- Achievement of higher accessibility standards pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- A more fluid and focused approach to the Reality Check assessments allowing students to more efficiently complete the questionnaires and review their results regarding their current lifestyle.
- Predictive search functions to suggest hyper-relevant answers to student queries.
- A featured content sidebar showcases trending content and resources that are relevant to current events on campus and on a national scale.
- As before, student activity and interaction with YOU is kept private and secure.
Along with the enhancements on YOU, faculty and staff gain greater reporting channels through the new campus analytics dashboard. Obtaining data regarding student health not only benefits research planning on college campuses, but can also inform financial savings while better serving the true needs of campus based on real-time data. The dashboard layers anonymous and aggregate user data with demographic information (year in school, gender and ethnicity) reported in the student profile on YOU. Administrators will have the ability to view metrics like most viewed content, frequently searched keywords, and number of goals created/completed for specific populations (e.g. Latino/ Hispanic sophomore females), allowing for analysis of the most pressing issues on campus in real-time. With the campus analytics dashboard, the ability for YOU to influence campus resource planning is being advanced.
"We are only seeing the beginning of a partnership between healthcare and technology working in such specialized ways," said Joe Conrad, Founder and Chief Strategic Officer at Grit Digital Health. "YOU at College is a tool that listens and lends information to students in the way that they need, giving each user the autonomy to seek answers that are inherent to their identity and their lifestyle."
ABOUT GRIT DIGITAL HEALTH
Grit Digital Health, LLC is a human-centric business comprised of specialists in behavioral health, wellness, technology and marketing communications. In collaboration with higher education partners, Grit developed YOU at College, the digital hub addressing the well-being challenges facing every student and campus. YOU centralizes, optimizes and expands university resources and connects students with personalized content curated and vetted to help them navigate life and campus. The interactive platform - customized for both the student and the campus -- takes a holistic and proactive approach to student success and well-being. For more information, visit gritdigitalhealth.com.