University of Delaware
Nursing student Jellirica Tan has launched CALM, a new registered student organization at the University of Delaware focused on holistic health.

CALM down

New UD student organization focuses on holistic health


9:02 a.m., May 16, 2012--When Jellirica Tan enrolled in the nursing program at the University of Delaware two years ago, her plan was to become a nurse anesthetist—one of the highest-paying specialties in the field of nursing.

But involvement in a research project conducted by holistic nurse Karen Avino, assistant professor in the UD School of Nursing, changed Tan’s mind. She now plans to go into psychiatric and mental health nursing, with a focus on holistic health.

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For a UD Student Television Network video about CALM, click here.

In the meantime, though, Tan wanted to bring the holistic health experience to campus, so she started a registered student organization (RSO) called CALM, an acronym for “Caring About Living More.”

“Our goal is to help students achieve a mind-body-soul balance in their busy lives,” Tan says. CALM focuses on activities and strategies like meditation, yoga, organic cooking, and natural healing methods. 

Tan uses an Integrative Health and Wellness Assessment (IHWA) wheel as her guide in planning club offerings. IHWA includes eight elements—life balance and satisfaction, relationships, spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, environmental, and health responsibility. “Each meeting will incorporate at least one component of the wheel,” she says.

Tan, who was born in the Philippines and grew up in New Jersey, has always felt a pull toward a holistic lifestyle based on her Buddhist background. “It’s about finding the power within yourself to heal without medical intervention,” she says.

She credits Avino, who teaches a health and wellness class for nurses, with stimulating her professional interest in this approach.  “Prof. Avino emphasizes that one of a nurse’s most important roles is to make the patient feel comfortable and at ease. If the nurse herself is calm, she is better able to help the patient relax.”

Avino, who serves as adviser to the new RSO, says CALM is a philosophy about living life to the fullest in a balanced way. “It’s aimed at helping students learn more about themselves as human beings and working toward introducing self-care into their lives. I’m incredibly proud of Jellirica for taking the initiative to start this group.”

That initiative was recently recognized when Tan was offered a position providing home nursing care for a teenager with cerebral palsy.  “The people who interviewed me for the job were very excited to see that I had started a club organized around holistic health,” she says.  “They focused on that more than anything else on my resume.”

To learn more about CALM, email

Article by Diane Kukich

Video courtesy UD Student Television Network, STN 49

Photos by Doug Baker

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