AED holds inaugural health conference

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Courtesy of Alpha Epsilon Delta Alpha Epsilon Delta members volunteer at the club’s blood drive. Their inaugural health conference will be held April 13.

Courtesy of Alpha Epsilon Delta
Alpha Epsilon Delta members volunteer at the club’s blood drive. Their inaugural health conference will be held April 13.

Whether you’re interested in debating the Affordable Care Act, learning how to follow a healthier diet or taking part in a self-defense workshop, Alpha Epsilon Delta’s inaugural health conference has something for everyone.

The conference, entitled “Health for All,” will take place Saturday, April 13 in the Busch Student Center, and will feature everything from speakers, panels, discussions and debates to hands-on labs, demonstrations and interactive simulations — all related to health in some manner.

As AED is SLU’s premedical honor society, most of its past events have been aimed toward members of the health care community. However, AED President Priya Thumma said that this conference is aimed toward the whole SLU community, and can be beneficial to all, whether or not one is directly connected to a health field.

“This conference is incredibly important and relevant to the SLU community, because health should be a central part of every person’s life… We believe that many people on [SLU’s] campus are interested in issues related to health, and this conference is the perfect way for them to stay informed,” AED Administrative Vice President Shelby Lee said.

According to Thumma, the all-day conference aims to give students an idea of the ever-changing nature of the health care industry by discussing important policy issues, events and medical advances.

For example, one discussion deals with medical ethics and terrorism, another looks at healthcare systems around the world and a third delves into the issue of patient care in correction facilities.

“A lot of people assume health is just visiting a physician or taking medication, but health is about the overall self, being up to date on current policies and issues, understanding the ethical situations that go on in healthcare,” Thumma said.

The conference also focuses deeply on individual health and wellness. Attendees can participate in a first-aid lab, get nutrition tips, hear student perspectives about volunteering abroad, or learn how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

There will be a variety of activities and discussions to allow community members to self-advocate and personally work to improve their own health.

“I hope people take away a better idea of how to lead a healthy life. I also hope that people will continue the discussions started here and seek out information about the health care field,” Lee said.

According to Thumma and Lee, the idea for the conference came about in the fall of 2012, but merely existed as an idea with no real plan.

However, this semester the executive board of AED delved into the project, and the conference, which includes over 25 seminars, interactive labs, panel discussions and more, was planned in just a few months.

“The [AED] board has done an incredible job; it’s been a really joint effort, everyone working together to try to make this event as successful as possible,” Thumma said.

She hopes that this year’s conference will succeed in drawing in a large number of SLU students and St. Louis community members alike, so that it may be continued and built upon in the future.

“Health is so important and so key for all individuals, and I think this [conference] is a really neat way for people to learn about it,” Thumma concluded.

AED poses the question, “What does health for all mean to you?” If you’re searching for the answer, be sure to stop by “Health for All” in the Busch Student Center, Saturday, April 13 from 12-5:15 p.m.

After all, a healthy Billiken is a happy Billiken.