Emory Report
July 9, 2007
Volume 59, Number 34

Step Up Emory hosts Wellness Fair
Step Up Emory is hosting a Wellness Fair on Thursday, July 26, to encourage employees to participate in HealthQ as well as to provide valuable information about health and wellness through various internal and external vendors. The Wellness Fair
is open to all Emory employees and will be held in Cox Hall Ballroom from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees will be able to enter into a drawing for a free Fuji bicycle sponsored by Bike Emory, Fuji Bikes and Bicycle South.

Emory Report homepage  

July 9, 2007
Making strides for workplace wellness with Step Up Emory

by kim Urquhart

On a recent Friday, Human Resources employees laced up their tennis shoes, temporarily abandoned their desks and headed out into the morning sunshine for a brisk walk, falling in step with Vice President of Human Resources Peter Barnes and tracking their distance on pedometers provided by Step Up Emory. The day included a healthy cooking demonstration by Wellness Specialist Blair Giles of Emory’s Faculty Staff Assistance Program, a course on chair yoga, relaxing chair massages, a session on achieving work-life balance and managing stress, and a healthy snack break.

HR is not the only department that is stepping up to the challenge posed by a health promotion campaign sponsored by Emory University, Emory Healthcare, FSAP, Employee Health Services and HeartWise. Inspired by Step Up Emory, an initiative designed to encourage employees to change habits and actively take control of their health, the staff of the Graduate School used the pedometers provided by the program in a fitness challenge. Employees logged each step taken throughout the workday over a two-week period, at the end of which two winners were announced and rewarded with gift cards, explained organizer Tamika Hairston, associate director of registration.

The Carter Center offered a similar incentive: Armed with their Step Up Emory pedometers, the employee who took the most steps over a certain period earned a prize. According to Human Resources Director Mike Turner, The Carter Center also offers an ongoing wellness program, an organized one-mile weekly walk around the perimeter of the Center’s 35-acre property.

With Step Up Emory, the key to success is to identify exercise opportunities. “Every little step counts,” said FSAP Manager of Wellness Programs Eddie Gammill, who chairs the Step Up Emory committee. “We’re all faced with busy lifestyles and challenges at work,” he said, but noted that “pockets” of exercise, in 10 to 15 minute increments, can add up to reach the recommended 45 minutes of daily exercise and can be achieved while at work.

Since Step Up Emory launched this spring, more faculty and staff are taking steps to increase their physical activity during the workday as a result of the “Take the Stairs” program. This month kicks off Step Up Emory’s next wellness initiative, HealthQ.

Available to all employees and dependents enrolled in Emory’s medical benefit plans, HealthQs are secure, confidential online health questionnaires designed to assess physical well-being, lifestyle and behavioral habits. Participants receive a confidential detailed health report, as well as a personalized action plan and tools to help them reach their health and wellness goals.

Later this summer, Step Up Emory shines the spotlight on nutrition, while prevention is the theme for the fall. The year-round campaign is part of Emory’s efforts to augment its health programs, building on resources already in place, with the goal to provide education and awareness of health promotion and wellness opportunities in the workplace to all employees.

“At Emory, we are committed to fostering a community that encourages joyful, healthy living — through our series of wellness programs, initiatives in sustainability, and new steps to help find balance between work and family life,” said President Jim Wagner. “Good health is one of the foundation stones of a strong community.”

The Admissions Office of the Goizueta Business School has put wellness to work with two initiatives — forming a “Healthy Lunch Club” in which employees take turns serving a low-calorie meal once a week; and HELLO, which stands for Healthy Living in the Office. HELLO encourages employees to bring in healthy snacks to share with colleagues, hosts health and wellness presentations and offers lifestyle coaching through the FSAP. Perhaps most importantly, each staff member is allowed 30 minutes a week of “on-the-clock” time to devote to exercise.

“Since the inception of these programs, everyone has embraced the idea,” said Katie Lloyd, senior associate director of MBA admissions in Goizueta Business School. “The results: My colleagues have formed walking groups. Some have joined Weight Watchers. Annual checkups have been scheduled. Individual sessions with the Wellness Center have been utilized. Excellent meals have been shared. Overall, a general awareness about health has been established.”

For departments who would like to create a wellness program of their own, Step Up Emory organizers recommend that groups survey the interest in their department, then form a committee to share and implement ideas. The FSAP also can provide guidance, support and suggestions.

Learn more about Step Up Emory initiatives, enroll in HealthQ, or browse health and wellness information on www.stepup.emory.edu, a new Web site that will launch on July 19.