Health Promotion Class Leads to Bike Helmet Project at Georgetown

APRIL 13, 2016 – Through early May, Georgetown students will be able to purchase bike helmets for $5 at the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) office.

The new safety effort grew out of an idea developed during the “Health Promotion and Disease Prevention” course taught by Joan Burggraf Riley, MS, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN, assistant dean for educational innovation at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“We were challenged to imagine a health intervention that could be implemented on Georgetown’s main campus that would help promote student health,” explains Marnie Klein (NHS’17), a human science major who worked alongside Melissa Vargas (NHS’18) and Kayla Giger (NHS’17), both health care management & policy majors, on the project.

Campus Teamwork

“My thoughts immediately turned to the lack of bike helmet usage amongst bike riders on college campuses and how that leaves college students vulnerable to devastating injuries,” Klein says. “Professor Riley helped us conduct a thorough needs assessment of the discrepancy between bike use and helmet use across colleges nationwide and helped us plan a grant proposal to promote bike helmet use at Georgetown.”

The students applied for several grants to support their proposal and eventually earned funding through the Georgetown University Student Association – a step that helped them purchase the helmets.

Additionally, GUPD Chief Jay Gruber agreed to partner with the students to implement helmet sales. Finally, the undergrads utilized the graphic design talents of Yvoire Whitaker (NHS’17), a health care management & policy major, for promotional materials.

Effecting Change

“Professor Riley’s class didn’t just teach theory, it taught me how to effect change,” says Klein. “[The class] equipped me with the tools to make a difference here at Georgetown. The NHS is a laboratory, in all senses of the word. We don’t just think. We act to change our world.”

The Georgetown University Police Department will be selling the helmets every day – except Sunday and Monday – until May 2. The office is located on the first floor of Village C West. Bring cash or a check and a valid GOCard.

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