Skorton Center for Health Initiatives
In 2015, Cornell’s Board of Trustees honored outgoing President David J. Skorton, MD, by establishing the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives within the university health service.
During his tenure, President Skorton elevated student health as core element of the university’s learning mission and provided national leadership on health-related issues. His articulation of Cornell as a “caring community” provided the basis for a campus culture in which every member has a role to play in fostering an environment supportive of health and well-being.
The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives (SCHI) will realize President David Skorton’s visible and visionary commitment to supporting student and campus health through innovation in institutional leadership, education, research, and public engagement.
The SCHI provides leadership for university-wide, public health approaches that seek to promote student, staff, and faculty health and well-being and prevent harm to individuals and the community.
In concert with campus partners, the SCHI provides strategic direction for health-related university councils and committees including:
- Executive Committee on Campus Climate, Health, and Safety
- Council on Mental Health and Well-Being
- Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Council on Sexual Violence Prevention
- Council on Hazing Prevention
The SCHI develops and implements evidence-based educational programs, media campaigns, and cultural change strategies to promote the health of individuals and the campus community. The SCHI also trains future health professionals through its Public Health Fellowships and, through an Engaged Cornell initiative, will serve as a field placement site for undergraduates in the Global and Public Health Sciences major.
Current educational initiatives include:
- Notice & Respond programs to help staff, faculty, and students learn how to recognize and respond to individuals in distress.
- Resilience seminars that help students understand behavioral and mental strategies to practice when things are going well so that they continue to thrive when faced with adversity..
- Prosocial bystander training (Wingman 101 and Friend2Friend) that helps students take action when they observe situations that could lead to a sexual assault or to emotional struggles, including thoughts of suicide.
- Media strategies to foster behavior changes related to alcohol use, hazing, and help-seeking for mental health challenges.
- Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program.
- Support for student leaders working to improve campus health and safety through cultural change strategies, including the work of Cornell Social Consultants (CSC).
- Continuing education presentations, seminars, and workshops on student health and well-being for staff and faculty.
The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives is establishing partnerships with faculty from the College of Human Ecology, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, and School of Industrial and Labor Relations to create a program of research and evaluation to support evidence-based institutional strategies – and strengthen Cornell’s national reputation as a leader in student health.
Current SCHI-related projects are examining student mental health and suicide prevention, patterns of alcohol use, prevalence of sexual violence, and evaluation of strategies to prevent hazing in student organizations.
The SCHI will continue President Skorton’s commitment to share our knowledge and experience beyond the campus through public events, consultations with local leaders on health-related issues, and leadership meetings of health professionals and researchers within the higher education community.
Please refer to our Contact Us page.