ASU furthers expansion into the Westward Ho with new community and health services

(William Everett/DD)
Three colleges on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus will be expanding into the first floor of the Westward Ho complex, offering services based in nursing, nutrition and social work to the tenants there. (William Everett/DD)

Arizona State University is offering free community enrichment and health services for Westward Ho tenants, operating in the first floor of the building.

Michael Shafer, director of the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and professor of social work at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, said the new ASU-Westward Ho initiative will have socially interactive community outreach activities.

Additionally, there will be independent, community-based spaces for two research centers – the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the Center for Child Welfare – serving solely as office and educational research facilities for students, staff and faculty. There will also be a community engagement and training center, where student events and activities can be held.

The Westward Ho recently leased out approximately 15,000 square feet of its first floor to ASU for the three initiatives. Shafer described the extension as a mutually beneficial relationship between the Westward Ho tenants and ASU students, faculty and staff. He said the alliance between Westward Ho and the college will “create meaningful experience for students and improve the quality of life for our neighbors.”

Operating independently from the social and community enrichment activities provided for Westward Ho tenants, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the Center for Child Welfare will also have research offices and facilities for students, staff, and faculty.

As a part of the relationship between ASU and Westward Ho, office and research facility space will present social work research opportunities for the colleges, while free services such as therapeutic recreation, nutritional advice and nursing services will benefit both College of Nursing and Health Innovations students and Westward Ho tenants.

These two centers exist as extra space for the College of Public Service and Community Solutions and are not related to the recreational services that the college provides for Westward Ho tenants.

The College of Public Service and Community Solutions is not the first of the Downtown Phoenix campus colleges to move into the Westward Ho. For the past six years, under the supervision of Kay Jarrell, clinical associate professor of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, senior nursing students have been visiting the residents of Westward Ho twice a week, offering preventative health assessments and general healthcare services, simultaneously emphasizing the importance of regular primary health care provider visits.

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation does not identify itself as a primary health care provider for Westward Ho tenants, but they provide minor nursing services and evaluate how to help the tenants enhance their quality of life. Some additional health services that they assist with may include nutrition advice and evaluation, regular exercise, or weight loss assistance.

According to Shafer, students from the College of Public Service and Community Solutions intend to “expand the wonderful start that nursing has created.” Shafer, along with other students, faculty and staff, believes his role is to expand and strengthen ASU’s presence at Westward Ho.

Jarrell said the collaborative initiative of both colleges will create “a more holistic, multi-dimensional way of caring for someone.” Jarrell described the new partnership as a way to broaden opportunities for health care in a mutually beneficial way – the tenants enjoy and benefit from the presence of experienced college students in their fields, while the students enjoy and benefit from the professional education they receive.

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