Health Blog

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New Technology Helping Service Learning Help Communities

September 16, 2016


Cutting edge technology is enabling colleges to take service learning to the next level.

With the increasing importance of connecting students to communities, colleges are starting to offer service-learning as part of the requirements for graduation. Service learning could encompass many areas, however the goal is to “use academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs,” as defined by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC).

Now there is a novel new way for students to continue their learning outside of the classroom by applying their skills as well as their passion to the community thanks to technology developed with support from the National Science Foundation. Prevail Health Solutions has created a best-in-class online behavioral health technology that is engaging students in ways never before seen in a service learning environment.

“There is a lot of power in a model like this,” says Founder and CEO Richard Gengler.

Gengler, a former Navy F-18 pilot, started Prevail as he was finishing his MBA at The University of Chicago.

The students are able to easily sign up for the program through a link that then directs them to apply for the opportunity. Students liaise directly with a manager at Prevail to walk them through the application process.

From there, students are able to progress through a training program that was developed in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs along with a leading national organization that provides additional skills to the students in areas such as active listening, among others.

Currently iPrevail is having thousands of people use the page each and every day allowing the walls of behavioral health stigma to be broken down through the anonymous, fun, and engaging platform.

Utilizing the power of crowdsourcing, users are able to connect with a Trained Peer Specialist 24/7 through any internet-enabled device, including iOS and Android apps. The peers are there to be active listeners, helping people manage the ups and downs of life, enabling them to live a better day, and ultimately life.

The peer-to-peer front-end of the model is connected to a lively program with a few elements that create the foundation. One of the key elements is the interactive video that teaches users the theories of one of the most well-known behavioral theories, Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT). There is also a community where users can ask questions, post, and interact with each other. Interwoven into the program are a variety of behavioral tools to keep track of mood, activity, and feelings.

Points and rewards are wrapped around the entire program providing a key platform to encourage positive reinforcement: the more that users interact and complete actions in the program, they are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards. Now there is an opportunity to live a better, happier, and healthier life and be rewarded for it—all while giving back to the community around you.

Students enrolling in the program are able to capitalize on their experiences by adding it to their resumes as well as their online profiles, such as LinkedIn, helping them with future internship or job opportunities. Those who pass the highest level are even eligible for a scholarship to receive a Peer Certification that is quickly becoming an accepted level in healthcare around the country.

Are you interested in making an impact in the community through service? Click here to find out more!

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