Building a culture of health at Gillings School of Global Public Health involves people from all levels of the organization and establishes the pursuit of good health as a routine part of operations, in alignment with the School’s mission to promote individual wellbeing. Creating a culture of health is a continuous process to ensure that people have access to options that make it easier to live a healthy life. A culture of health within the Gillings School will create an environment where employee and student health and safety are valued, encouraged and promoted throughout the school.
The Gillings School of Global Public Health has created a Culture of Health team that prioritizes employee and student health, wellbeing, and safety by offering faculty, staff, and students a growing number of sustained, evidence-based programs, policies, resources, and environments to support a healthy, balanced life. The team was founded in 2015 by Dean Barbara Rimer and Penny Slade-Sawyer, retired senior consultant at our North Carolina Institute for Public Health. Current Culture of Health offerings include yoga, mindfulness, walking, qi gong, and occasional nutrition and other workshops. The team has also completed the CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard at Gillings to identify gaps in the School’s health promotion programs and infrastructure. This is guiding them in implementing high-impact strategies for health promotion related to organizational supports, tobacco use, nutrition, physical activity, weight management, stress management, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes and diabetes, heart attack and stroke, maternal health and lactation support, vaccine-preventable diseases, and occupational health and safety.
The Culture of Health team includes representatives from the School of Public Health who are interested in practicing what we preach and teach, to promote an environment that fosters wellness for all in the School. Culture of Health team co-chairs Rhoda Cerny and Melissa Walter are also Gillings Wellness Champions, joining a team of “champions” from schools, facilities, and departments across the University who meet monthly to determine wellness needs and opportunities across campus.