June 23, 2017:   Southwestern Adventist University’s nursing department has been awarded a $62,000 grant to fund health and lifestyle education and activities.

The Ardmore Institute of Health approved the grant for the Keene, Texas-based institution.

The Cleburne Times-Review reported that the nursing department started a Wellness Counts program in 2016 to provide the local community with health and lifestyle education.

The grant will help support the work of the Wellness Counts program.

SWAU Director of Marketing and Public Relations Darcy Force said that the Wellness Counts program was designed to support the university’s major initiatives to build knowledge, increase faith and provide service while meeting growing needs locally.

Research into the health needs of the community had revealed major opportunities for service that led to the establishment of the program.

The research revealed that 25% of the population in the community under the age of 65 did not have health insurance.

The university considered this need as well as the benefits of training students to serve the community as they established the Wellness Counts program.

So far, the program has forged a health fair partnership with the city of Keene, and hosted a family fitness class as well as activities such as diabetes prevention screenings and an eight-week Wellness Challenge to support lifestyle change.

The funds from the Ardmore Institute of Health grant will allow for the program to do more for the community.

Plans for the future include an after-school gardening and healthy eating program for local school children.

SWAU students will also be able to join in providing their community with wellness-related classes.

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