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Case Study: The Huey Effect

June 19, 2018

By S.A. Reid, Consulting Writer

When Emory students return to campus in August, they will sleep more securely in high-loft beds equipped with rails to prevent falls. This improvement, the result of a team effort, began with a recommendation by Mike Huey, assistant vice president and executive director of Emory University Student Health Services, a unit of Campus Life.

Bed rails are one of the many ways that Emory safeguards the well-being of its students, a commitment reflected in the university’s reaccreditation this year by the National Safety Council and Safe Communities America. The Emory Safety Alliance (ESA), which Huey co-chairs, is a coalition of university departments and programs that spearheaded reaccreditation efforts. ESA was also instrumental in securing funding for the bed rails initiative that Campus Life is implementing.

Staff examines bed rails.

Max Wright, assistant director for facilities operations, demonstrates how the bed rails are installed for Jacquelyn Stubenraugh, a rising senior at Slippery Rock University and a summer intern with Emory through ACUHO-I, the Association of College and University Housing Operations – International.
Photo by Tina Chang.

Huey’s recommendation to install rails and elevate student awareness of the need is one of his countless contributions to Emory student wellness and safety, according to Scott Rausch, senior director of Residence Life. Huey retires next month after  more than 16 years of service to the Emory community.

The bed rail effort began three years ago after Huey raised concerns about student injuries associated with falls from high-loft beds. The Campus Life offices of Residence Life and Housing Operations have worked since then with Campus Services to outfit these beds with safety rails and expects to wrap up the project this summer.

Dobbs Hall, the university’s oldest residence facility, was the first to receive attention. Campus Life installed rails based on student request the first year. The following year, all high-loft beds in Dobbs were outfitted with rails and the devices were made available to interested students in other residence halls, according to Rausch.

Now, Campus Life is reaching the finish line in the third and final phase of the project – a year sooner than originally projected. Approximately 600 bed rails were added throughout campus prior to this summer. About 2,000 more will be installed during the next few months in 12 residence halls, according to Elaine Turner, senior director of Housing Operations.

However, Campus Life acknowledges that the rails are easily removed without a tool. “We urge students to use the bed rails but, ultimately we have no control over whether they keep the rails in place,” Turner says, adding that, nonetheless, thousands of students are safer now.

“If students are feeling unsafe, that can impact their mental and physical health and their academic performance,” Rausch says. “Dr. Huey understands that those things go hand in hand. His leadership in this area over the years has been amazing. You might call it the Huey effect – and we will miss it.”

For Huey, however, it’s all about teamwork. “All of us at Student Health Services and the Office of Health Promotion are truly grateful that Scott, Elaine, and the Res Life and Housing teams persisted and completed this expensive and complex project ahead of schedule,” he says. “They have helped a large number of students and quite possibly averted a tragedy down the road.”

Huey says he will miss Emory’s teamwork and shared commitment to students. “I have truly been blessed to have such wonderful colleagues in Emory Campus Life and throughout the Emory community,” he says. “It has been my great privilege to work with such an extraordinary team of professionals at every level.” 

Learn more:

Emory earns 'Safe Community' reaccreditation
Emory Report, Feb. 19, 2018
http://news.emory.edu/stories/2018/02/er_safe_community/campus.html

Safe Communities America
https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/get-involved/safe-communities