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Bridges to Healthy Communities

The Bridges to Healthy Communities project aims to help community colleges offer education and information programs and services that lead to the prevention of HIV infection and other serious health problems in students. The five-year Bridges project emphasizes service learning as a community-building and intervention strategy for preventing HIV infection. Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this American Association of Community Colleges national initiative features national data collection and dissemination, an information clearinghouse, advisory groups, mentor team and demonstration colleges.

The Bridges project acknowledges that more than information is needed to create behavioral changes that prevent HIV infection. Colleges must create a culture that increases the likelihood of healthy behavior. Creating that culture involves educating policy and decision makers, supporting institutionwide health promotion programs, and infusing HIV and related health issues into the curriculum. Comprehensive intervention programs can bring together campus and community, and involve individuals, families, schools and communities.

The Bridges project supports and encourages community colleges to improve student and community health through integrated activities in a variety of campus settings. The service learning approach aims to stimulate community-building activities that will move participants beyond self-defense education to caring accountability and active commitment to community health.

St. Louis Community College is one of 10 colleges in the nation to receive a Bridges Implementation Grant. Objectives of our project include:

  • Student Leadership -- Training student leaders to promote the prevention of HIV and other serious health problems among other students
  • Service Learning program expansion in collaboration with community organizations
  • Curriculum Infusion including production of a video to be used in Communications and other classes
  • Wellness program expansion including an annual Wellness Awards ceremony on each campus
  • Social Norms Marketing program