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Wellness Connection accredited at bronze level

The University’s Wellness Connection received bronze level accreditation from a group called US Healthiest.

US Healthiest is a non-profit organization that will assess a corporation, college or public agency based on health.

Wellness Connection is an umbrella term for the services offered for student, faculty and staff health on campus.

Faith Yingling, director of Wellness Connection, gathered together a group of her colleagues to create an assessment committee. The committee consisted of Yingling, Karyn Smith from the Recreation and Wellness department, Garret Gilmer from the Counseling Center, Deborah Busdeker from the Falcon Health Center and Holly Grunn from Fraternity and Sorority Life.

“You wanna get everyone’s input,” Yingling said.

She said although the assessment committee isn’t active anymore, all of the people on it constantly collaborate as a part of the Wellness Connection on campus.

“Building a culture of wellness is about… everyone in campus,” Yingling said.

Yingling said that the positive aspects of the University’s Wellness programs that lead to the bronze level accreditation was the Wellness Connection’s collaboration. She said the people from other departments that commented during the assessment were “instrumental” to the Wellness Connection receiving accreditation.

“There’s a lot of collaboration when it comes to wellness on this campus and I appreciate that,” Yingling said.

Smith also said collaboration was a place where the Wellness Connection excelled.

“Most times when people think of health, they think of physical health,” Smith said. “And I think we offer so much more than that.”

Gilmer said that the “coordination of care” in different aspects of health was a positive aspect.

He mentioned that another area where the Wellness Connection excelled was the bystander intervention program. Bystander intervention is training for students, faculty and staff to learn how to intervene when someone is struggling.

For improvement, Smith said that the University currently doesn’t offer health risk assessment for students, faculty or staff. She described this as a way to “assess current habits and identify top health concerns and priorities.”

Yingling said the Wellness Connection needs to improve on “telling their story.” She said that they already reach out to upper administration, but she thinks they could do more to encourage the upper administration to participate and invite them to events.

“[We can improve by] getting it into the hands of the people that need to know this information and can advocate for us,” Yingling said.

Yingling said that although US Healthiest typically has a fee, the University got a free assessment. She said they reached out to the University to try out new tests for accreditation. So if the University’s assessment committee were to give feedback on the tests, US Healthiest would provide their service for free.

US Healthiest first sent out forms to the assessment committee to fill out and send back to them. Gilmer said that the committee first did the assessments individually then brought them together to compare and collaborate. Then the information was sent back to US Healthiest. Yingling said that US Healthiest came in late January for a “site visit” where they examined all the services and facilities that the assessment committee documented.

“It was really informative to, all at once, see the net we cast for students,” Gilmer said.

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