STEPS Health Initiative

photo of a student with a patientStudents Teaching Educational Plans for Success Initiative, or STEPS, is a student-driven, interdisciplinary health promotion organization. Health professional students from the disciplines of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant and psychology across the Dayton area engage with underserved homeless populations on a weekly basis. Students utilize motivational interviewing to encourage participants to set attainable health goals and to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors.


To promote healthy behaviors and assist in the management of chronic illnesses in vulnerable populations in the Dayton area.



Faculty Advisor

What We Do

At each STEPS Initiative session, students from health programs at Wright State University, Cedarville University, University of Dayton and Kettering College work side-by-side to take participants’blood pressure, weight and BMI. Participants then enter a room with two students to detail their health status and open a dialogue about the participant’s current health state. Utilizing motivational interviewing, students log three health goals for each participant, and his or her progress is noted on future visits. In considering their current health state, participants are empowered to take STEPS towards a healthier lifestyle.

What to expect: Saturday mornings at the men's and women's shelters begin with a small meeting to run through the day and review motivational interviewing. We begin seeing residents at 9 a.m. If this is your first time volunteering at the shelter you will be interviewing residents with someone who has been to a session before with the idea that the next time you come you will be able to lead someone else. We stop seeing patients at 11:30 a.m. and end our day with a brief meeting and try to have all volunteers out by noon. Saturday sessions at the Daybreak Youth Shelter start at noon and end at 4 p.m., and are run in the same manner.


  • St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter for Men
    Where: 1921 S. Gettysburg Ave., Dayton, OH 45417
    When: Every third Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon

  • St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter for Women and Families
    Where: 120 W. Apple St., Dayton, OH 45402
    When: Every third Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon

  • Daybreak Youth Shelter
    Where: 605 S Patterson Blvd, Dayton, OH 45402
    When: Every third Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

  • Miracle Clubhouse
    Where: 243 Warren St, Dayton, OH 45402
    When: Friday afternoon, once a month, noon to 4 p.m.

What STEPS is NOT: a health clinic where we treat actual diseases or health problems. We try to make it very clear that while we can offer advice or direction about healthy habits as well as point out medical resources, we cannot/do not actually treat the health problems.

Information for Service Learning Credit


History: A STEP in the right direction

STEPS was formed in 2012 as a student-led interdisciplinary team to address the health concerns of the homeless population of Dayton. Since that time it has grown to include more than six different health disciplines, and currently hosts sessions at two homeless shelters, the Saint Vincent De Paul Gateway Shelter for Men and the Gateway Shelter for Women and Families, and the Daybreak Youth Shelter.

Last edited on 06/22/2020.