UC Riverside Recognized for Health and Wellness by the American Heart Association

Platinum award presented to UCR Faculty/Staff Wellness Program

Wellness coordinator Julie Chobdee is surrounded by UCR staff and faculty as she holds the award from the American Heart Association.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – Taking care of ourselves has almost become a way of life — from dieting, to practicing yoga, even going on walks during lunch. Folks very often brag, and rightfully so, about their health-conscious activities and eating habits. And many companies — the University of California, Riverside included — are noticing.

On Wednesday, UCR was recognized for being a Platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association (AHA) for its Wellness Program. Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Ron Coley accepted the award. “I want to thank all of you,” he said to a room full of UC Riverside staff and faculty. “We have to keep moving forward toward excellence, and we won’t know we’re there until others tell us we’ve made it. And this is an obvious example, we are walking the talk.”

UCR is one of only three in the Inland Empire to be recognized as platinum fit-friendly worksite. Vice Chancellor Ron Coley accepts the award on behalf of the campus.

This is the first time the campus has applied for the honor. The platinum level recognition is the highest level awarded by the AHA, and the university is the only company in the Inland Empire to receive this recognition in this category so far this year.

Julie Chobdee, the Wellness Program coordinator, said the team aimed high, and went straight for the top level. Twenty companies in the area  have received gold in the past, but only three in the Inland Empire have ever received the platinum recognition. Moreover, only two other UCs have been recognized as a platinum recipient in the past. “We have grown and evolved so much over the years that I finally felt ready to submit an application,” she said. The UCR Faculty/Staff Wellness Program now provides a variety of healthy lifestyle programs, wellness challenges, a walking program and fitness activities, and healthy vending machine options.

Monique Stensrud, the business and development director for the Inland Empire Heart and Stroke Walk at AHA, said UCR is a prime example of championing wellness, offering incentives for participation, a community-supported agriculture program (or farmshare), and even getting campus leaders involved. “It makes employees feel like they can get up and go for a walk during lunch, because the chancellor is there right along with them. If the boss is doing it, the employee won’t feel guilty for not being at his or her desk,” she said.

UCR jumped on the wellness wagon in 2007 to encourage all faculty, staff, and retirees to live healthier lifestyles and create a culture of wellness. UCR has proved its dedication by banning tobacco, and dedicating a full-time wellness program coordinator.

“Our boundaries of influence should not only extend to our local community, we want to touch everyone,” said Coley.

So, Highlanders who are taking the time to get up from your desks, and go for a walk, or reaching for that apple instead of the candy bar, or even talking to your colleagues about your new waistline, or the new meditation pose you mastered – don’t stop. It’s putting UCR on a new level of fit.

For more information on the Wellness Program, and how you can get involved, please visit: www.wellness.ucr.edu

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Julie Chobdee
Tel: 951.827.1488
E-mail: julie.chobdee@ucr.edu

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