Healthy Universities: A Whole System Approach to Improving Health, Wellbeing and Sustainability in Higher Education

In 1995, the University of Central Lancashire became one of the first universities to establish a Healthy University initiative. Now, more than two decades on, UCLan is acknowledged to be a world leader for Healthy Universities in research, knowledge exchange and in practice.

The Healthy University is a collaborative campus-wide effort, championed through leadership and makes universities a better place in which to live, work and learn. It is a ‘whole system’ approach to the wellbeing of people, place and planet. It adds value to the higher education sector and helps build consistency of approach across the entire spectrum of education.

Research led by Professor Mark Dooris and the Healthy and Sustainable Settings Unit has been instrumental to this systematic approach to promoting university health and wellbeing. Internationally, the publication of the Okanagan Charter has helped catalyse the adoption of the Healthy Universities model in over 400 universities and across more than 35 countries – supported by an international steering group co-chaired by Professor Dooris. The research has had a far-reaching influence on health promotion policy and practice across the globe, benefitting the wellbeing of students, staff and wider campus communities. Universities UK, Student Minds and other national bodies have also adopted and endorsed the whole Healthy Universities model. At the institutional level, implementation promotes student, staff and community wellbeing and 86 UK higher education institutions have joined the UK Healthy Universities Network led by UCLan.

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Academic expertise

Dr Alan Farrier
Research Fellow
School of Nursing and Midwifery

Alan is an experienced qualitative researcher who has worked on a variety of health and wellbeing research projects, predominantly with and arts and/or nature focus, with young offenders, prisoners, people with mental health issues and other socially excluded and marginalised gro…