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SUMMARY: UREC Health Promotion—formerly known as The Well—created the Well Dukes podcast as a resource for disseminating health information and to encourage further exploration of topics.


By Kristen Essex

Jordan McCann first had the idea of a health-and-wellness podcast in summer 2020. McCann, the assistant director for sexual and relationship health at the University Recreation Center, wanted to offer students an alternative to traditional health promotion programs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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UREC Health Promotion—formerly known as The Well—created the Well Dukes podcast as a resource for disseminating health information and to encourage further exploration of topics, ranging from sleep and eating disorders to sex education and demystifying sexually transmitted diseases.

McCann and this year’s co-host, MaryGrace Johnson, emphasize that the topic of health and well-being on college campuses is about more than just sex and drugs. For example, a podcast episode titled “Self-Care and Self-Medication” covered the differences between the two and how self-care is an important area to develop, especially in our current times, with mental health being so important. The podcast helps Dukes adapt to a changing world by making health-related information available anywhere, anytime.

“I am excited that my position allows me to provide credible information and education on the wellness topics [that] college students want to learn,” said Johnson, the graduate assistant for health promotion.

New episodes of Well Dukes air every other Wednesday and can be found on popular podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Information can be found on UREC’s Instagram account (@jmuurec), where the team posts updates and takes episode requests through direct message.

Often, students who share a passion for wellness are featured on the podcast. Other guests are pulled from different areas of campus, including faculty members, the University Health Center and the Counseling Center. “I enjoy chatting with professionals and students about their passion areas. I learn something new every episode as well!” Johnson said.

Well Dukes has made it possible to stay informed about health-related subjects during a time of uncertainty, when many well-being has suffered for many. Johnson stressed the importance of college students obtaining credible information on their interests. It is easy to get “lost in Google sources,” she said. The podcast is designed to help JMU students understand that there are many resources available for them.

Well Dukes has created a safe space to cope with difficult issues that a student might not want to have a conversation about or admit that they are struggling with, which is why a podcast can be the perfect platform.

JMU senior Carly Sines said, "I love the Well Dukes podcast! The podcast does an amazing job breaking down complex health information into simpler bits of knowledge that can help me improve my own health.”

Well Dukes podcast McCann
Jordan McCann, assistant director for sexual and relationship health at UREC, first had the idea of a health-and-wellness podcast in summer 2020.

In addition to the Well Dukes podcast, UREC Health Promotion offers wellness services and programs such as the 21st Birthday Program, Green Dot bystander intervention and wellness coaching. The primary goal is prevention. Programming aims to educate students to make healthy decisions to avoid pitfalls like substance misuse. The hosts promote proactive measures and ensure that their services are nonjudgmental, useful resources.

“With health promotion, it is important to acknowledge that students know themselves best,” McCann said. “We are here to provide information and resources that can assist and equip JMU students with the knowledge they need to make their best-informed decisions. This includes conversations that can challenge how they think and what they do around their own health and well-being.”

Well Dukes’ mission is to “provide information, programming and services to JMU students that helps them lead healthy and productive lives,” which is a direct correlation to JMU’s mission statement. Both emphasize students leading productive lives.

Well Dukes hopes to grow its audience and continue the conversation about these important issues. UREC Health Promotion intends to expand its reach to the student body and ensure students understand that its services are inclusive and open to all.

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Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, January 20, 2022

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