Yard workRocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) is working to improve overall health and wellness across the state and nation through its healthcare degree programs and the University doubled-down on its commitment by launching the employee Wellness Initiatives 2020. 

The four initiatives for 2020 are:

  1. Eat Your Rainbow and Whole Foods Challenge, an initiative focused on including more fruits, vegetables. and whole grains in daily routines.
  2. Get Your Daily Steps in Challenge, an initiative focused on increasing movement through walking, as well as providing a “steps conversion” chart to help track movements other than steps, such as cleaning, mowing the lawn, and other physical activities.
  3. Sleep Hygiene Challenge, an initiative focused on assessing sleep habits and helping employees be more consistent over time, as well as providing techniques for deep breathing, relaxation, and meditation.
  4. Recommended Exercise Challenge, an initiative focused on the recommended exercise for individuals based on age, gender, etc. 

A study by the American Psychological Association on workplace well-being found that nine out of 10 employees who reported having supervisors who supported workplace wellness efforts said, “they feel motivated to do their best, are satisfied with their job, and have a positive relationship with supervisors.” The wellness initiatives launched this month will encourage overall employee health and wellness. 

The wellness initiatives were organized and announced by the RMUoHP Wellness Committee, a committee organized in 2019 by President Nielsen as a Presidential Initiative stemming from his passion and commitment to supporting employee wellness and promoting productivity and morale. The mission of the Committee is to “Create a culture of wellness where the elements of wellness and self-care are valued and supported.” President Nielsen charged the committee to create health and wellness initiatives for all employees. 

Wellness through yard workAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Improvements in physical, mental, and emotional health enhance stamina, concentration, and focus leading to greater work output.” 

Michal Coombs, the program coordinator for the Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) program and Wellness Committee co-chair, explained that employees were surveyed on which wellness areas would be of most interest. “We wanted to create initiatives that were of interest to the employees but that were also evidence-based and were successful in promoting behavior change at a corporate level.”

With the wellness initiatives, employees may share goals through an online community forum where the Wellness Committee helps track progress and through which employees may provide feedback and encouragement. On the launch day, employees (including those working remotely) participated by sharing goals, recipe ideas, and even barriers they hope to overcome.

Coombs, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health science with emphases in health education, said, “Wellness is very individual; not everyone is going to run a marathon; not everyone is going to get into a downward dog yoga position; not everyone likes to eat salads; not everyone can lose weight at the drop of a hat. Behavior change is cyclical and we all enter the cycle at different points. Ultimately, we want to uphold the feeling of community and connection at RMU.”By creating University-sponsored wellness initiatives, employees may share goals and support one another in their individual wellness journeys. Coombs said, “When you feel valued and supported – when you make connections and build a community, you feel like you matter. Knowing and feeling like you matter and that you are a valuable, contributing member of your community makes you want to live your best (which is different from my best or his best or her best). Connection is often the best motivator for behavior change; we hope these challenges are a way to help RMUoHP employees feel connected.”

— Stephanie Bentley, Institutional Communications and Alumni Relations Manager