Community outreach

Center for Optimal Health Across the Lifespan

The Center for Optimal Health Across the Lifespan, also known as COHL, is an interdisciplinary, collaborative space in the new Cici and Hyatt Brown Hall for Health and Innovation. COHL was born out of Hyatt and Cici Brown’s goal of enhanced health education, and investment into the local community’s health care providing an opportunity to create community outreach experiences. The goal of the center is to provide easy-access programs for physical and mental health disorders prevalent in our community, to enhance the health and well-being of the community, as well as to train future Florida health service providers. The center houses the following projects:

  • The Play and Creativity in Counseling certificate program, housed in the Department of Counselor Education, has been serving low-income children in Head Start programs over the past five years. The center would provide space for children and their families to engage in expressive arts and therapeutic play activities to facilitate the healing of trauma and other mental/behavioral health disorders, as well as to support the health and well-being of families in Volusia County.
  • The mission of the SMART Lab is to teach and research the efficacy of stress management and resiliency skills with individuals from Volusia County and students from Stetson University. The SMART lab targets significant reductions in stress levels using biofeedback monitors and can be combined with self-report measures of psychological disorders and indicators of resilience. The SMART Lab is capable of intervening with a wide age demographics from children to geriatric and can be combined with other health initiatives including psychological counseling, play therapy, and brain fitness. The SMART Lab is staffed by Jesse Fox, PhD, and student research assistants.
  • Brain Fitness Academy is a cognitive rehabilitation program for older adults living with dementia. This program has had success in other parts of Florida and is particularly apt for West Volusia given the high rate of dementia in the community as well as a lack of outpatient programs. Participants attend three-hour group sessions twice per week, working with Stetson students on cognitive rehabilitation activities, physical exercise and socialization. Simultaneously, graduate students from our counseling program lead caregiver support groups.

Current and future programs within COHL aim to improve health outcomes throughout West Volusia, provide in-depth, hands-on training for Stetson undergraduate and graduate students, and improve opportunities for our students post-graduation. Funding would provide opportunities for program maintenance and growth, positions within the center, and supplies and equipment to manage the center.