Wellness Peer Education

What is a Wellness Peer Educator?

The Wellness Peer Educators (WPEs) collaborate with peers to design and implement student-focused health and wellbeing initiatives. Wellness Peer Educators are hired annually to develop, implement and evaluate holistic health and wellbeing initiatives for all Brown students with a special focus on residents in the Wellness Experience at Sternlicht Commons. 

What do Wellness Peer Educators do?

Peer educators are trained in multiple skills in order to:

  • Work alongside residents/students to determine community needs
  • Encourage sharing of wellness practices that are authentic to an individual’s experience 
  • Promote and facilitate sustainable interventions that foster healthier individuals and communities
  • Guide students with a collaboration workbook that helps to build initiatives and events that highlight a diversity of experiences and practices. This process allows students to develop wellness practices to share with peers that are aligned with their values and passions that are sustainable through a structured process.

Residents of Wellness Residential Experience at Sternlicht Commons along with BWell’s Wellness Peer Educators conducted 33 programs with 325 participants during the Fall 2021 semester, the first semester the wellness theme building was open. Examples include; walking club, journaling nights, yoga classes, dance open studio, and late night discussions on sexual health. Each program ends with an evaluation that asks questions about satisfaction with the program as well as measuring pre-determined wellness learning outcomes.

What theories do Wellness Peer Educators use?

Wellness peer educators are trained to apply an assortment of theoretical practices that help meet students where they are at and bring their wellness initiatives to life. This includes, 

  • 6 principles of trauma-informed care to support the needs of fellow students:
    • Safety: Focus on emotional and physical safety
    • Trustworthiness: Consistency and transparency to establish trust
    • Peer Support: Allowing those with similar experiences to support each other
    • Collaboration and mutuality: Horizontal power exchange
    • Empowerment Voice and Choice: Respecting autonomy
    • Cultural, historical gender issues: Acknowledging oppressive systems
  • Motivational interviewing to help find intrinsic motivations and empower themselves
  • Social-ecological model allows WPEs and fellow collaborators to develop wellness initiatives that focus on multiple factors that may influence wellness which can be intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and/or public.
  • Stages of Change allows WPEs to promote intentional behavior change through decision making. 

Who can work with a Wellness Peer Educator?

All Brown students, including undergraduates, graduates, and medical students can collaborate with a WPE. Students are welcome and encouraged to use the many resources that WPE provides to help them achieve their holistic and integrative wellness goals.

How do I contact a Wellness Peer Educator?

Interested students can reach out to [email protected] to access more information about potential wellness collaborations. If you are interested in learning more about the program from the staff who coordinate it, you can contact Takyah Smith at [email protected]u.