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New PNCA health and wellness coach and educator to connect students to resources

by Melanie Moyer,

Hunter Marcus
Hunter Marcus

Hunter Marcus (she/her) has been hired as PNCA’s Health Coach and Educator, a new donor-funded position that will work one-on-one with students to develop strategies to support their wellbeing and health goals. Marcus will start in the new role on April 17, 2023.

As Health Coach and Educator, Marcus will provide 1-1 health coaching, facilitate workshops, and provide resources to enhance PNCA students’ wellbeing. The goal is to help students not only thrive while they are at PNCA, but to learn skills and strategies for a foundation of life-long positive health. Marcus will also help guide students through what can be confusing processes like finding medical providers and medication management, and provide on-going follow up to help them stay connected to the appropriate community care resources.

“Having someone to identify the needs, the right resources for those needs and stay with students during the entire process is really crucial,” said Don Thomson, Willamette University's Associate Dean for Health and Well-Being.

Most PNCA students commute within the Portland metro area to access their physical and mental health care services. Although a myriad of clinical and community-based resources are available, sometimes students aren’t aware of or understand their options or how to access them, especially during their first year at PNCA. Balancing school with trying to access support can be challenging.

“PNCA is thrilled to have a health coach/navigator who can help galvanize resources, link students with onsite health coaching, courses and classes, and provide that extra boost of support in connecting the dots,” said PNCA Dean Jen Cole.

Marcus will earn her Masters in Public Health with a focus in health promotion from Oregon Health Sciences University/Portland State University this spring. She earned undergraduate degrees from Pacific University in both anthropology and creative writing, where she learned the importance of mapping individual stories to see problems from multiple perspectives. “It informs everything I do,” she says.

Marcus says she will use her background in creative storytelling, education, and public health to help PNCA students lead healthier lives through programs created with student input. “My first priority is to meet whatever the students see as their needs.”

“Sometimes, the most powerful intervention is just being listened to and believed, and I want to let the PNCA student community know that I am a safe, judgment-free person to come to, no matter what you’re feeling or struggling with,” she adds.

As PNCA’s Health Coach and Educator, Marcus will also provide information on preventative care and participate in initiatives such as the JED Campus network, a mental health resource for all of Willamette’s colleges, and make connections to Willamette’s Gender Resource and Advocacy Center offerings located on the Salem campus.

Funding for this position was provided by an anonymous donor who recognizes the complicated landscape of healthcare options students must navigate. As part of its commitment to the wellbeing of all students, Willamette University also contributed financial support toward the position.

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