Healthy CMU Project
On any given evening, Chiang Mai University’s campus is a hive of activity with people walking, running and playing a wide variety of sports.
With a population of 48,000, including students, faculty and support staff, Chiang Mai University is a town unto itself, requiring effective management to ensure a good quality of living for all residents.
Health is one of the most important things in life and Chiang Mai University, as one of the five Thai universities in the ASEAN University Network (AUN), is also a member of the AUN-Health Promotion Network which has a policy of promoting universities to become Healthy Universities.
The Healthy CMU initiative was therefore formed to create a framework to support this strategy.
“Our students are many and mostly very young; we also have lecturers and other personnel who cross multiple demographics,” said
Associate Professor Ronnaphob Uaphanthasath,M.D., Assistant to the President. “What this means is that to help them all achieve and maintain good health, we have to ensure that they are healthy in body as well as mind. Many don’t have the time to exercise. They are too busy working or studying; some doctors are too busy looking after other people’s health to care for their own. Others may have time, but don’t have the inclination or impetus to exercise, so our task was to find ways to help urge them to do more.”
The Healthy CMU team is comprised of experts from multiple faculties and departments including science, health sciences, technology, sports, public health, mass communication, dentistry, pharmacy and education. These faculties are all working seamlessly to use their expertise to forward the agenda of a healthy campus. A total of 11 major organisations are spearheading this vision – Faculties of Dentistry, Education, Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, Medical Technology, Public Health, Mass Communications, the College of Arts Media and Technology, the Science and Technology Park, the Library as well as the university’s council.
So, how to ensure the people of the “town” are healthy and reduce health risks like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol or depression? The university has set two avenues to achieve this aim – building awareness, understanding and participation and creating a health data system. There are currently nine projects launched to support this aim.
1. The CMU i-Health platform, which can be accessed through a CMU IT Account. A 5-10 minute questionnaire will offer an initial health evaluation as well as follow-ups (led by Assistant Professor Dr. Orawit Thinnukool from the College of Arts, Media and Technology).
2. CMU 3 Fs: Foods, Fit, Fresh which is a series of activities including food health seminars and Fit-Firm four-month weight loss programs. There are also walking activities such as the CMU Walk Together program (led by Ratiya Weerakam from the university’s library).
3. The CMU Staff Health Volunteer program focuses on the development of health personnel who can offer basic health advice and evaluations. Online courses, development of health aids and guides as well as seminars are some of the tools used (Associate Professor Dr. Wanicha Puengchompoo oversees Healthy CMU: Overview of the HU Project and CMU Staff Health Volunteers).
4. CMU Health MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) communicates through various channels focusing on information related to health (non-communicable diseases). A five-hour course offering information on NCDs, health promotion and rehabilitation knowledge on heart disease and other diseases including depression among working professionals (led by Assistant Professor Dr. Supat Chupradit).
5. CMU Stop Staff Stress & Stress Management Clinic promotes emotional wellbeing through anti-stress clinics which are designed to support and offer advice to those suffering from stress. Breathing techniques, meditation and other tools are used (led by Assistant Professor Dr. Chalinee Suvanayos).
6. CMU Health Talk creates media to raise awareness on health for staff of the university offering tips and advice on how to care for health and wellbeing through the Healthy CMU Podcast and other channels (led by Assistant Professor Dr. Warawan Udomkhamsuk of the Faculty of Nursing).
7. CMU Smart Self-Monitoring is a platform designed to allow users to self monitor and record daily health details such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen level, etc. It also offers alerts and warnings on various health issues and monitors risk related to heart disease, diet, and sleep habits. This data will be used by the university to continue to develop its Healthy CMU platform (led by Assistant Professor Dr. Thaneeya Chetiyanukornkun).
8. Health Monitoring: Infected COVID-19 Behaviours is an application developed to track COVID-19 on an open platform. COVID-19 health information is also provided (led by Associate Professor Dr. Waraporn Boonchieng).
9. Healthy CMU: Mass Communication is the development of various communication channels from web sites to YouTube and to LINE to promote good health for the Chiang Mai University community. Media channels include Facebook (@HealthyCMUOfficial), Line (@healthy CMU), YouTube (Healthy CMU), FM 100 radio, Podcasts, Infographics, Webinars, and Facebook Live broadcasts : Let’s talk with MOR, as well as printed materials such as the university’s Thong Kwao publication and Chiang Mai News (led by Dr. Siwaporn Sukittanon of the Faculty of Mass Communications).