News and Events
We're working hard to build healthy academic communities across our nation by sharing research, articles and tools and gaining insight from you, our members and friends of our organization.
Megan Amaya shares her experience receiving Mental Health First Aid, a course that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training provides the skills needed to reach out and give initial help and support to someone in crisis.
In her latest article, BHAC president, Bern Melnyk shares how we can grow our emotional intelligence — and be on our way to great relationships and more fulfilling lives. Read Bern's four keys to improving your emotional intelligence. These are skills we can all practice, and research shows they lead to a happier life.
Learn how developing Wellness Champions on campus can be a low-cost strategy (as they often self-select themselves into the program and volunteer their time and energy to the role) and provide the critical peer support needed to improve healthy behaviors among coworkers (Weineke et al., 2016).
Read BHAC president, Bern Melnyk's article on how to adopt Nordic attitudes toward winter — including creating a cozy vibe, enjoying warm food and drinks, and experiencing the outdoors. You might find yourself looking forward to the next snow day.
Executive Director Linda Handley is inspired by a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” She's excited to share the work of her colleagues in continuing to build healthy academic communities through the Building Healthy Academic Communities Strategic Plan. This was developed to be a strategic "roadmap" leading our organization into the future. She invites you to read the plan and share your comments, ideas, feedback and the work you’re doing at your university.
We're excited to sit down with our new Executive Director and gain insight from her experience, learn her passions, and begin our work together! With significant experience in multiple sectors, we asked Linda to reflect on where we are now and where we will grow over the next year and into the future.
Megan Amaya and her colleagues Teresa Donegan, PhD, Debbie Conner, PhD, MSN, ANP/FNP-BC, FAANP, Julie Edwards, MHA, and Christy Gipson, PhD, RN, CNE examine the research on the influence of comprehensive academic wellness programs on a myriad of outcomes.
The CDC finds that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week to maintain health. Yet in the United States, most do not meet these recommendations, putting them at risk for compromised health, morbidity or mortality. One way to curb these trends may be as simple as taking your dog for a walk.
HealthLead Accreditation to Academic Communities
An innovative wellness accreditation designed to help businesses improve employee health is now moving to encompass work done in academic communities. Leaders from the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities have been trained by the accreditation team at HealthLead on how to evaluate and audit wellness efforts. HealthLead accreditation assessments for academic organizations, including students and faculty/staff will be offered in the months following training.
A product of the Alliance to Make US Healthiest in 2012, HealthLead is modeled on LEED certification, which makes environmental sustainability a business priority. HealthLead provides a similar designation to organizations that consider employee health equally significant.
The HealthLead program uses established guidelines and standards for comprehensive worksite health management. Its assessment examines three areas: organizational engagement and alignment, population health management and well being, and outcomes reporting. Those who are interested in accreditation first apply via an online assessment. They are giving a score, from1–100, based on their answers. A minimum score of 70 is necessary to go further in the process, which entails an in-person audit from HealthLead-trained professionals. “Academic institutions can choose to have all (e.g., faculty/staff and student) or part of their program evaluated (e.g., sudent only),” said George Pfeiffer, a creator of the HealthLead program.
Those who are invited to be audited are expected to share a presentation that details their efforts, followed by an in-depth tour of their facilities. From there, auditors do what Pfeiffer calls a ‘drill down.’ There, HealthLead probes for more information, reconciling what was reported online and with what was observed in the site visit. The team then creates a final score of 1–100, based on series of measures.
Once the on-site evaluation has been completed, there are three levels of accreditation that can be awarded. Scores greater than 92 earn a gold accreditation. Scores between 84–92 earn silver; scores of 75–83 earn bronze. All audited organizations, whether earning accreditation or not, receive a blueprint for action and a one-hour phone conference to discuss their attributes, deficits and possible strategies for further improvement.
Previous organizations that have participated in the HealthLead process include the Target Corporation, ING DIRECT, Intel, and The Ohio State University.