National Wellness Challenge

We're excited to announce the winners of the 2019 National Wellness Challenge!

Winning teams will be recognized at the 4th National Building Healthy Academic Communities Summit at The Ohio State University on April 30-May 1, 2019.

What is the Challenge? Who Participated?

The National Wellness Challenge is an annual, innovative wellness program/activity that promotes one or more of the following wellness areas using innovative strategies, involving faculty, staff and students in all universities and colleges across the United States:

  • >  Physical wellness (for example, consumption of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, accumulating 150 minutes of physical activity per week or 8 hours of sleep of night)
  • >  Mental Health (for example, happiness or reducing stress through deep breathing/mindfulness/resiliency)
  • >  Financial wellness (for example, budgeting)
  • >  Environmental wellness (for example, recycling drive, tree planting/garden)
  • >  Social wellness (for example, can or shoe drive, volunteering in community)

Check out past submissions and make plans to participate in 2020!

Examples of past submissions:

UCI Recreation

College of New Jersey


Consortium News

2018–19 Board of Directors

President — Megan Amaya, PhD, CHES, The Ohio State Univeristy

President-elect — Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, The Ohio State University

Secretary—Mary Johnson, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CWP, Meredith College

Treasurer—Brenda F. Seals, PhD, MPH, MA, The College of New Jerssy 

Research and EBP—Mario Ortiz RN; PhD; PHCNS-BC, FNP-C; FNAP, Binghamton University

Advisory Board Chair—Lindsey Nanney, MS, PAPHS, GFS, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Membership Chair—Stacy Connell, MS, Georgia Institute of Technology


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.



Doctors in Distress

It’s no secret that physicians are hurting: 54% of doctors report symptoms of burnout; 39% are depressed; and as many as 400 commit suicide every year, a rate that is twice as high as other professionals (and higher even than the military). Hospitals and health systems face $17 billion in annual turnover costs related to burnout, according to a May 2018 report.

The problem isn’t new, but as it intensifies, institutions are turning to a new professional role – the chief wellness officer – and charging these professionals with finding solutions. Fueled by positive results from pioneers, including Bernadette M. Melnyk, PhD, RN, named Ohio State University’s chief wellness officer in 2011, and Tait Shanafelt, MD, who has done extensive research around physician burnout and was named Stanford Medicine’s first chief wellness officer last year, the National Academy of Medicine is now recommending that health systems hire their own CWOs. NAM’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, co-sponsored by the AAMC, is working with more than 180 health care organizations around the country to raise visibility about clinician burnout.

Learn more


The Knowledge Bank Website is Live

The Knowledge Bank BHAC offers presentation and videos from 2013's inaugural Building Healthy Academic Communities National Summit. To view all of the materials related to the summit, please visit or