Adam Gavarkovs- 4th year Health Promotions Specialization, Minor in Psychology
What do you think makes the School of Health Studies stand out?
I think that would be the willingness of faculty members to provide extra-curricular opportunities to supplement the course (ex: research opportunities).
Have you been involved in any student clubs/councils/extra-curricular activities?
Yes, I’ve been very fortunate to experience a lot of exposure to the research fabric at Western U. I am currently a research assistant to Professor Shauna Burke, working on projects that are related towards childhood youth and physical activity. I’ve also been working at the Lawson Research Institute with Dr. Rob Petrella whose research focuses on physical activity and healthy eating promotion for the purpose of chronic disease. We have focused on some really interesting populations, like rural men and indigenous populations. These experiences spurred me to start looking critically at how health is conceptualized in media targeted at guys, which lead me to start an initiative called The Hearty Gentleman.
What’s 'The Hearty Gentleman'?
It is an initiative that I started to focus on the promotion of healthy living in university aged men. I found that popular men’s health magazines like Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health and GQ promoted health for the purpose of physical appearance, being successful with women, etc. Although promoting physical activity and healthy eating is great, I believe that in many cases it is being promoted for the wrong reasons When the measure of healthy living becomes attractiveness, that can cause many guys to start being really critical of their bodies, which in serious cases can lead to problems like body dysmorphic disorder. Past research has supported this claim, as men who are more worried about their musculature/physical appearance are more prone to these types of problems. The end goal is to promote healthy living for the purpose of maintaining health in of itself. You can be healthy but you should not have to measure it by how “jacked” you are or how many sets of abs you have. Guys should be proud of being healthy for its own sake.
Right now, I’m currently working on the webpage. I want to start to driving traffic to create awareness of the problem. I’m also in the process of developing paper materials to share around events, campus, etc. If everything goes well I want to expand the initiative further and developing t-shirts, fantasy sports leagues, or other events.
I am always looking for more support, so if anyone (male or female) are interested in sharing this goal with me, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Elon Musk - he is the founder of Tesla Motors. He has said in the past that he didn’t’t found the company to make a lot of money; he did it to prove to other car companies that you can produce electric vehicles that are just as powerful, good looking and can be sold at competitive prices with regular cars. I want to do the same thing with this initiative and prove that you can market men’s health for health’s sake.
Do you have any career goals?
Currently, I am applying to two master’s program at Western U and Brown University. I want to eventually get my PhD and become a professor. I think that being a professor is the most conducive method to achieving my goals which is doing research for the purpose of creating sustainable change at the community level.
What’s your favourite course?
HS 4240G Knowledge translation because it educates students on the research process itself and more importantly, how to effectively use the research and knowledge created to produce sustainable change.
Do you have any advice for other Health Studies Students?
Use your professors. If you demonstrate an interest in their field then they are more than happy to support you in extra-curricular activities.