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Health & Wellness Director wins national award

The College of Idaho’s commitment to proactive and preventative treatments for its students and their continued health has received national recognition from the American College Health Association. C of I Director of Health and Wellness Services Barbie Vander Boegh, RN, was selected as the 2017 recipient of the ACHA’s E. Dean Lovett Award for Exemplary Contributions to a College Health Program.

Vander Boegh applied for the award on the heels of record-setting turnouts for free, campus wide immunization clinics for Meningitis B, Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) and updated vaccinations as mandated by the state of Idaho and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although she was confident in the school’s programming, she was still surprised when she learned of the honor.

“I give a big credit to the students for showing up to the clinics, and the faculty and staff have given me fantastic support to make this into what it is now,” Vander Boegh said. “I’m in the proactive range of things right now. I don’t want to have anything go on at this campus that I could have helped prevent.”

Vander Boegh was selected for the award for multiple reasons, many of which stem from her passion toward immunization. The ACHA called her clinic for Meningitis B “the largest proactive clinic in the United States without a student death driving it.” Vander Boegh led the way by providing thorough information about the disease, which is most dangerous to young adults between the ages of 18-25, to students and parents through print, television and online media. More than 200 students attended last year’s clinic, a record for her office.

She was also recognized by the ACHA for her commitment to providing free or low-cost vaccinations to international students, as well as her activity as a member of C of I’s campus committee for a smoke and tobacco free Campus.

“From the day Barbie arrived at The College of Idaho to lead our Health Center, she has been an ardent advocate for the preventative health of our students,” said Paul Bennion, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Our campus community owes Barbie a debt of gratitude, especially in regards to her efforts to educate everyone about the importance of immunizations.”  

Vander Boegh has an enthusiasm for providing immunizations in addition to the physical and mental health care her office provides. Backed by C of I President Charlotte Borst, the College’s updated immunization policy has helped her implement a more robust strategy.

“It’s very important to me that these kids stay healthy,” Vander Boegh said. “They have their whole lives ahead of them. We don’t want to cut it short because of a lack of vaccine.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.