Service, professionalism and mentorship. Those are the three principles of the CONHI Health Initiatives, or CHI, a new student-led organization at Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus.
“This is the first student organization that is focused on students who are non-nursing,” said Rachel Tomlinson, co-founder and vice president of the group.
After recognizing a need for support dedicated specifically to ASU's College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CONHI) students pursuing health majors outside of nursing, the pair created CHI as an innovative solution.
“We are really trying to focus on providing a holistic view of what is available to students, as far as, opportunities in their career and the workforce,” San Andres said.
The organization’s focus came into view after both San Andres and Tomlinson worked as first year success coaches. They said through that experience they discovered the nursing college's students had a hard time figuring out what type of job their health degree could lead to. (Degrees include: community health, health care compliance and regulations, health care coordination, health innovation and integrative health.)
“We saw this kind of behind-the-scenes administrative and one-on-one advocacy component of the health majors which is something really interesting, so we don’t expect freshmen to know it, it's something we just want to help explore with them,” Tomlinson said.
With meetings held every other Friday during the academic year, the plan is to bring in guest speakers, connect students with mentors, volunteer opportunities, and delve deeper into the innovation side of the healthcare profession.
“The health care industry is growing and we’re all kind of learning where that’s going, so I think that’s the fun part but also the really challenging part to kind of explain to students,” San Andres said.
Given that they are a new organization, both Tomlinson and San Andres are all ears when it comes to feedback and what students would like to get out of the experience.
CHI is open to anyone pursuing a health-related degree. They are actively recruiting members, mentors and guest speakers.
“Slowly and steadily the population of health majors in CONHI is growing so we just want the organization to kind of grow to meet the demands,” said Tomlinson.