February 5, 2007
Emory Wellness Center can open the door to health and well-being
by kim urquhart
Erica Barnes doesn't just work at Emory; she is taking advantage of the ways that Emory can work for her. The human resources recruiting specialist and working mom turned to the Emory Wellness Center's Faculty Staff Assistance Program to find healthy ways to balance her career and her family life.
As an employer, Emory recognizes the importance of staying mentally and physically fit by offering a wide range of professional development courses and wellness programs. Health Promotion and Wellness is one of three core services offered by FSAP, in addition to Behavioral Mental Health Services and Organizational Dynamics.
Like many Emory employees, Barnes was seeking ways to keep herself and her family healthy. She wanted healthy meals that she could prepare for her children quickly after work instead of turning to fast food, and to find an exercise routine that would fit her busy schedule.
Barnes now has the support of a lifestyle coach and licensed dietician, both members of the Wellness Center team, who are helping her to reach her goals.
She describes her free wellness-coaching sessions with Wellness Coordinator Eddie Gammill, "It was very informative, especially for me as a working mother."
Gammill worked with Barnes to identify her goals and suggested strategies to help her reach them. "He gave me ideas to make myself a more well-rounded person," Barnes said.
While Emory offers its employees several fitness programs and facilities at discounted rates, Gammill worked with Barnes to develop alternate fitness avenues that fit best with her busy schedule. She plans to join a weekly walking group that meets at various locations around Emory.
After learning about the many ways the FSAP is promoting healthy lifestyles, when Barnes heads to her employee break room it's not always for a cup of tea. The break room in the Human Resources building is one of two campus locations where the FSAP has installed automated health-screening kiosks. Here Barnes can check her blood pressure, weight or Body Mass Index, and track her scores. Another kiosk is located in the Campus Services break room.
The FSAP supports annual flu shots, blood drives and a variety of health screenings with its wellness partners. Gammill said that the 2006 "It's Worth a Shot" campaign provided 4, 598 influenza vaccinations, which is the largest participation for flu shots yet. During February, FSAP is offering free blood pressure screenings to faculty and staff in observance of American Heart Month.
FSAP also works with employees to improve their health and wellness through such programs as Weight Watchers @ Emory or Freedom from Smoking sessions. Lunch and Learn programs, on topics ranging from nutrition to depression, are available by request, as are InfoStops, which Gammill describes as "informal grab-and-gos" where the Wellness Center team visits campus locations to raise awareness and answer questions about health-related topics and programs.
Services to promote individual and organizational health and wellness are available to all employees of Emory University and Emory Healthcare, and most services are free. Whether an employee's concern is personal or work-related, or involves a family member, friend or colleague, FSAP can help with issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, depression, work performance, effective communication, stress management and crisis intervention. FSAP also offers leadership consultation and career counseling, and can provide elder care or child care referrals. Services are provided by licensed professionals who maintain strict confidentiality.
"Our focus is on your health, head and heart," said Gammill. "We empower people to help themselves."
FSAP at The Emory Wellness Center is located at 1762 Clifton Rd. To make an appointment, call 404-727-WELL.