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Lactaid added to RHA bags

By Ivana Hsyung     2/28/24 2:49pm

Rice Health Advisors have added Lactaid, an enzyme supplement which offers relief to those who have difficulty digesting dairy based products, to RHA bags at each residential college starting Feb. 1.

Assistant Director of Wellbeing Programs and Education Elisa Moralez said that RHA bags are meant to be supplemental to first aid kits in colleges. These bags include products such as bandaids, condoms, antibacterial creams and ice packs.

“Over time, we've been made aware of different changing student needs,” Moralez said. “It's nice to just have some of those first aid supplies readily available on campus in case students need them.”

RHA campus coordinator Anisha Abraham said that the process of adding Lactaid to the bags was straightforward.

“We just communicated with our wellbeing advisor, and she was able to order them,” Abraham said. 

Moralez said that she had received a couple of requests from the RHA teams at the college level asking for Lactaid, and decided to order a small amount since the RHA program had a budget excess. The provision of Lactaid will not cut out other products from the bags. 

“I ordered a small amount for some of the RHA kits, so that we could just have it as an emergency backup, when students might not realize that they needed, or maybe forgot that they needed, and need some relief,” Moralez said. 

According to Abraham, the product has yet to be introduced at a large scale. Lactaid has been made available to each college, but a bulk supply has not been ordered. 

“If we notice something is getting used a lot, we’ll order more of an extent than we did the first time,” Abraham said. 

Moralez explained that factors that contribute to the decision to add a product to the bags include need, cost, efficacy, risk of misuse and whether it is covered by other services on campus.

“If the Lactaid seems to be in high demand, we’ll continue to supply that and do our best to meet the needs of the students,” Moralez said. 

Abrahams said that the RHA coordinators brought up the idea to include Lactaid due to community requests.

“I had been hearing requests for it, just generally,” Abrahams said. “Like, ‘Oh, does anyone have Lactaid?’ So I knew it was a need in the campus community.” 

According to Moralez, if students would like to add a product to the RHA bag, they should reach out to their college head RHAs.

“Students are usually the ones who come with the idea for the medication,” Moralez said. “[The RHA bags] are meant to be supplemental. They are meant to be backups for if you realize you need something that you don't have. We're the last step in case you need something late at night, or when nobody else is around.”

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