UMass Dartmouth senior Nursing student Anna-Rae LeClaire received the Outstanding Student Award at the annual meeting of the BACCHUS Network, a national non-profit organization that promotes student leadership on healthy and safe lifestyle decisions. The Outstanding Student Award is granted to up to five students nationwide who have demonstrated commitment to their peer education program, excelled in leadership roles, maintained academic success, and sought involvement in other campus activities.
"Anna-Rae is absolutely wonderful - both as a leader and as a peer-educator. Our Peer Health Educator Program is a model for success of what student-to-student communication and outreach can achieve," said Dr. David Milstone, Associate Vice Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth's Office of Student Affairs. "Our Peer Health Educators continually display a commitment to positively impacting their campus community. As a team, they demonstrate a passion, creativity, and follow-through in their initiatives, serving as true leaders and role models in their efforts."
Anna-Rae has served as a Peer Health Educator for three years, and now serves as the program's Peer Health Educator Coordinator. In addition to managing many of the program's administrative functions, Anna-Rae also made significant contributions to enhancing and expanding educational programming. Anna-Rae has balanced her co-curricular activities while excelling in a rigorous academic program, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, holding an internship at the local YWCA, and working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at two nursing homes. Anna-Rae is also an Endeavor Scholar and the Academic Chair for our Honors Student Council. The New Bedford YWCA was so impressed by Anna-Rae that they selected her to participate in The New England Council's prestigious "30 Under 30" Leadership Training Program.
"I was honored to be a part of the annual BACCUS Network meeting and I'm very proud of the tremendous work of our Peer Health Educators and the recognition we receive," said Anna-Rae. "Through outreach, workshops, and collaboration we serve as a health information resource and proactively address health and wellness issues relevant to college students."
This award follows a series of honors for the UMass Dartmouth Peer Health Education Program. Earlier this year, Stavroula "Sheila" Tsiakalos was awarded "Outstanding Peer Educator-Area 10" for New England. In 2009 and 2011, the BACCHUS Network awarded the UMass Dartmouth Peer Health Education Program "Outstanding Peer Education Group-Area 10" for New England. Three alumni also previously received the Bacchus Network's "Outstanding Alumnus" award: George Henry Aulson IV (College of Nursing, '08), Kelly Ann (Boehm) Hoyt (College of Nursing, '11), and Jaime Conlon (College of Nursing, '11). Beth-Anne Vieira, MPH, Assistant Director of Health Services for Health Education and Promotion, was named "Outstanding Advisor" for the New England area in 2010. Additionally, the Peer Health Education Program was named the National Organizations for Youth Safety's YOUTH-Turn It Around Grand Prize Winner in 2012.
The UMass Dartmouth Peer Health Educators are student leaders who are recruited and trained to provide the UMass Dartmouth student community with educational, interactive programs on health issues, raise awareness about health and wellness, refer students to appropriate resources and advocate for policy, procedural, and environmental changes that support the health and well-being of the campus community. Additional information regarding the UMass Dartmouth Peer Health Education Program is available at www.umassd.edu/phe.