DIT hosts Annual Irish Student Health Association Conference and AGM 2007

The Annual Irish Student Health Association (ISHA) Conference and AGM took place in DIT Aungier Street last week (25th and 26th January). It was the first time that DIT hosted the event which brings together doctors, nurses and secretaries from student health centres from across the country with the aim of coalescing the knowledge and experience of the centres. The event was organised by the DIT Student Health Centre, which is headed up by Dr. Brendan Clune, Medical Director for DIT and current President of the ISHA. The theme of this year's event was 'Student Social Behaviour and its Consequences'.

Ms Miriam O'Callaghan, who chaired the ISHA Conference, chatting with a delegate

Delegates registering for the conference at DIT Aungier Street

In his welcome address to the conference President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton praised the work of Student Health Centres across the country and took the opportunity to recognise the outstanding work that the DIT Health Service Units do in providing the best care for the Institutes 21,000 strong student body.

Dr. Brendan Clune, DIT Student Health Service, and conference organiser

Ms Miriam O'Callaghan chairing the discussion

The conference centred on a series of workshops and panel discussions. The main topics covered included the three major issues affecting students today - mental health; sexual heath and alcohol related problems. In a unique approach DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama students were recruited to act out real life scenarios that third-levels students find themselves in including role-plays based around sexual and mental health issues. On hand to give advice on how to tackle these problems were a panel of experts amongst which were the Head of Counselling University of Limerick, Dr. Declan Ahern; ICGP Alcohol Project Director, Rolande Anderson and Dr. Susan Clarke, Consultant in infectious & Genito-urinary Medicine in St James' Hospital.

Conference delegates including Melvyn Mullins, co-ordinator of DIT Chaplaincy Service and Dr. Susan Lindsay, Head of the Counselling Service

In relation to alcohol issues Dr Brendan Clune said, "General social attitudes to alcohol in Ireland very often undermine the efforts of students to establish appropriate behaviour to alcohol and drinking. A recent campaign suggesting that one should ' know the one that is one too many' were unhelpful and misleading in their message." Dr Clune went onto say delegates felt that nurses and doctors working in student health services still had a strong role to play in helping individual students modify their behaviour to lead healthier lifestyles.

Exhibitors at the Conference answering delegates' questions

Journalist and Prime Time presenter, Miriam O'Callaghan acted as the facilitator for the questions and answers session.

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