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About Sather Health

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What is Sather Health?

Sather Health is a website established in September 2011 that aims to deliver accurate health information to students. We intend to become a trusted online health resource by producing health promotion material catering specifically to the student population and by providing a platform whereon students can discuss health topics most relevant to their lives. This is an ongoing project, and as such, we are constantly rolling out new features.


Operating an ASUC-sponsored publication, our staff is made entirely of students just like you, and they know from personal experience that a student's life can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. They have carefully crafted a series of articles on the most common health issues faced by college and high school students, and they also routinely contribute opinion blogs and discussion posts on the most current of health topics. Most of our staff members are registered UC Berkeley students ("Go Bears!"), so you might run into some of them around campus. You never know!

Why should you care?

Victims of circumstances, students are often at much higher risks for many health problems. According to a 2009 survey by the American College Health Association, 30% of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" in the year before. Some experts have also remarked that young adults (loosely defined as those between ages 13 and 29) hold the highest rates of severe eating disorders. Further, population densities in educational institutions facilitate pathogen transmission. For instance, the CDC classifies those aged 24 years and below as at high risk for the swine flu (H1N1) virus, and UC Berkeley has recently suffered a mumps outbreak so serious that a third MMR vaccine dose was recommended.


One must realize that this slew of health issues cost us dearly from a fiscal standpoint: serious mental illnesses lead to a projected $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year, STDs carry a direct medical cost of $17.0 billion in the US annually, and substance abuse cases result in a baffling total of over $600 billion lost every year. These numbers, while challenging to comprehend, are very real blows to the society. While many clinics and programs have been created to address issues faced by young adults, we recognize they can sometimes be inaccessible. Often, students simply do not have the time, money, or awareness to seek out the proper resources. One tactic we devised to increase the availability of self-care resources relies on the use of technology. We noticed a vacuum of websites tailored specifically to students in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, we have taken it upon ourselves to create Sather Health.

How did we get here?

In June 2011, two UC Berkeley students, Keng Lam and Mark Jiang, began envisioning a health resource website dedicated entirely to students. We attempted to find similar existing sites and were met with little success. Most we came across were designed for the general public and had little emphasis on youths, and those few that had (like Planned Parenthood) had rather narrow areas of interest. To build an effective site, we knew that the content must be frequently updated and relevant to students and that the writing must be done in a student's voice. Additionally, the website must also be visually appealing and user-friendly, and it would eventually need to house interactive features such as polls, games, and forums. We began coding a prototype that would ultimately incorporate the most basic site features: articles, blogs, polls, resources, front-page slideshow, and search functionality.


After some planning, we proceeded to register Sather Health as a student organization at UC Berkeley in fall of 2011, and we soon recruited about a dozen UC Berkeley students. While we were certain from the outset that a peer review process would be used to screen for errors, we also wanted professional advisers to oversee our operation and ensure the accuracy of our content. Therefore, we approached Dr. John Swartzberg, an emeritus clinical professor from the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program and the chair of Editorial Board of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, and Mr. David Tuller, a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism and a freelance writer. As of January 2012, Sather Health has become an ASUC-sponsored publication. We hope that this massive collaboration can motivate more students to attain holistic wellbeing.

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