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Alberta students to benefit from Alberta Blue Cross® wellness grants

Post secondary students across Alberta will benefit from more than $200,000 being invested into health and wellness programs through the Alberta Blue Cross® Post-Secondary Wellness Promotion Grant Program.

Alberta Blue Cross® launched the program in mid-2015 to support wellness promotion initiatives, specifically for young adults, with funding to be distributed equitably on a one-time basis among Alberta’s universities, colleges and institutes. Grants can be used for a variety of projects ranging from smoking cessation programs and healthy eating campaigns to active living programs and initiatives focused on mental health and stress management.

“We’re pleased to have seen a high level of interest in this program, with applications received from most post-secondary institutions across the province,” says Brian Geislinger, vice-president of Corporate Relations with Alberta Blue Cross®. “These funds will be put to very good use to promote wellness among our province’s young adult population.”

Some initiatives receiving funding include a mental health awareness day featuring Olympian Clara Hughes at Olds College, fitness facility enhancements at Grande Prairie Regional College, a suicide prevention program at Ambrose University in Calgary, a daily physical activity initiative at the University of Lethbridge and a dog therapy support program for students at NAIT in Edmonton.

While many health prevention programs target children and adolescents, young adults don’t often receive the same level of attention. Conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which are commonly associated with later stages in life, are increasingly diagnosed in young adults. At the same time, more young adults are facing mental health challenges. Wellness promotion initiatives targeted at young adults can proactively address health conditions and ensure a healthier future for this demographic.

This program is an addition to the Alberta Blue Cross® Healthy Communities Grant Program through which Alberta Blue Cross® has committed $1 million over a five-year period to support and promote active living in communities across Alberta. Funding for both programs comes from the ABC Benefits Corporation Foundation, established by Alberta Blue Cross® in 1998 in conjunction with its 50th anniversary.