A Healthier U



By Robin Marcus, P.T., Ph.D.
Chief Wellness Officer, University of Utah Health Sciences

OK, so there are some things that you might hate about your yearbook picture. The glasses, your hairstyle, those clothes! Take a look and see what you wish you could forget and do just that, forget it. Now, think about what you wish you could have back from those high school years. For me, it’s my wrinkle free skin, my endless energy, and that half-inch of height – three things that represent my health and how it has changed since my high school graduation.

Robin Marcus
Robin Marcus 2

You have probably heard some of the latest hype about how employee wellness programs often don’t live up to their promise of improving health. As we start the new year I have given a lot of thought to how we might make our wellness initiatives really work for all of our staff and faculty. It’s time to engage you to help us do this. My yearbook picture was really just to get your attention! Regardless of what 2015 resolutions you have or have not made, I am going to ask you to make just one more. Read this column each week and reply to my requests. Our team will do our best to make it pay off – stories, tips, fun facts and resources for your health and well-being. We promise to do more than just tell you to eat right and exercise.

For starters, tell us your story and win our weekly drawing – a massage, an exercise class, a fitness band and more. Email us a paragraph starting with this statement: “The best thing I did for my health this past year was…” We would love to feature you in our next column. You can even send a picture or two.

When I asked our senior leaders to complete this sentence, Dr. Ruth Watkins, senior vice president for Academic Affairs told me that the best thing she did for her health in 2014 was “to adopt a dog from Golden Retriever Rescue. Ben is a tireless walking partner, a great motivator to get moving on those early mornings when it would be tempting to sleep in, and a tremendous contributor to good mental health.” Dr. Vivian Lee, senior vice president for Health Sciences, dean for school of Medicine and CEO for University of Utah Health Care, said, “I adopted a mostly fish and vegetarian diet as a result of my kids hearing me describe a scientific talk I heard. Once they decided to go mostly vegetarian, we didn’t have much choice but to join them.” President David Pershing replied, “the best thing I did for my health this year was to make a commitment not to gain 10-15 pounds like so many presidents do after assuming the role.”

This week’s resource, if you don’t already know about it, is our very own University of Utah Health Care blog, HealthFeed.

Have a happy and healthy new year.

Contact me and submit your stories to wellness@utah.edu.