Cornell Health’s Skorton Center for Health Initiatives ("Skorton Center") advances student and campus health through institutional leadership, education, research, and public engagement. Skorton Center staff members – public health specialists, health educators, and advocates – work to promote positive culture change as well as to prevent and reduce the harms to individuals and the community in the areas of:
- Alcohol and other drugs (AOD)
- Anti-racism, and bias prevention
- Hazing prevention
- Mental health promotion
- Sexual violence prevention
- Suicide prevention
Formerly the department of Health Promotion, the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives was established in 2015 to honor then-outgoing President David Skorton (see “History & Mission,” below).
The Skorton Center provides leadership for university-wide public health initiatives and policies that promote individual and campus health. In concert with campus partners, Skorton Center staff also provide strategic direction for health-related University coalitions, councils, and committees.
Skorton Center staff members …
- Develop and implement theory- and best-practice-driven educational programming for students in the areas of alcohol and other drugs, bystander intervention, hazing prevention, helping a friend in distress, sex and relationships, stress management and resilience, and sexual violence prevention
- Evaluate the effectiveness of student programming efforts
- Offer Notice & Respond training for staff and faculty to teach individuals how to recognize and respond to students in distress
- Help develop health campaigns and educational information to promote behavior change related to alcohol use, hazing, mental health, sexual violence prevention, self-care, and help-seeking
- Train future health professionals through Public Health Fellowships for recent Cornell graduates
- Support student leaders working to improve campus health and safety through cultural change strategies
The Skorton Center also serves as a field placement site for undergraduates in the Global and Public Health Sciences major through an Engaged Cornell initiative.
Skorton Center staff members conduct research on student mental health and well-being, suicide prevention, patterns of alcohol and other drug use, the prevention of sexual violence, as well as the evaluation of strategies to prevent hazing.
Current research projects examine student mental health and suicide prevention, patterns of alcohol use, prevalence of sexual violence, and evaluation of strategies to prevent hazing in student organizations. Visit our Research & Academic Partnerships section for more information.
The Skorton Center works to continue President Skorton’s commitment to sharing our knowledge and experience beyond the campus through public events, consultations with local leaders on health-related issues, and leadership meetings of health professionals and researchers within the higher education community.
History & Mission
For more than thirty years, our Health Promotion staff worked to create a healthy campus through policy initiatives, educational strategies, programming and research.
In 2015, Cornell’s Board of Trustees acknowledged the importance of this ongoing work by renaming the Health Promotion department in honor of then-outgoing President David Skorton, and expanding the scope of the department, and its leadership role on campus.
During his tenure, President Skorton elevated student health as core element of the university’s learning mission and provided national leadership on health-related issues. His articulation of Cornell as a “caring community” provided the basis for a campus culture in which every member has a role to play in fostering an environment supportive of health and well-being.
In collaboration with faculty members, student leaders, and other campus partners, Cornell Health’s Skorton Center aims to advance Cornell’s role as a national leader on student and campus health.
The Skorton Center for Health Initiatives will realize President David Skorton’s visible and visionary commitment to supporting student and campus health through innovation in institutional leadership, education, research, and public engagement.