UCR Healthy Campus Initiative Welcomes 2018 Project Grant Recipients

11 participants will conduct research, implement projects, and develop resources to promote health and well-being at UCR

Grant recipients joined by mentors and leadership at the Feb. 5 orientation

A number of creative yearlong projects aimed at improving the wellness and inclusiveness of the UCR community are set to kickoff.

They include a proposed study to test the effectiveness of brief, daily mindfulness meditation for reducing stress and improving markers of mental and physical health; a plan to highlight options in the C-Stores promoting the Seeds of Change concept; and a feasibility study for an on-site, year-round animal therapy program for the UCR community, to name a few.

On Feb. 5, grant recipients and mentors gathered to present projects, provide updates, and address challenges. All projects support the Healthy Campus Initiative’s mission to create a healthy campus culture and environment through collaboration with campus and community partners on policies, programs, services, and initiatives that address all dimensions of wellness along with innovative engagement strategies, making UCR a university of choice.

Ron T. Coley, vice chancellor of business and administrative services, serves as a healthy office champion on the initiative’s leadership team. He said during the meeting’s opening remarks that UCR leadership is “all in” when it comes to rolling out the systemwide initiative.

The 11 recipients will receive funding from the University of California Office of the President and be held to a set of guidelines and requirements. Grant recipients are encouraged to disseminate findings, results, and pictures through the initiative’s Instagram page, coming soon, to further inspire community engagement.

Julie Chobdee, Wellness Program coordinator and Healthy Campus Initiative co-chair, moderated the event, noting recipients were selected from a pool of 25 outstanding applications.

“It was hard to choose,” she said. “We are so excited about the quality and creativity of these projects ranging from research to practical interventions and promotions; and inclusive of staff, faculty, and students.”

Dr. Deborah Deas, the Mark and Pam Rubin dean of the School of Medicine, also serves on the initiative’s leadership team as a healthy campus champion. Ann M. Cheney, assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Center for Healthy Communities, serves as co-chair.

Grant recipients include faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students, who were joined by their mentors at Monday’s event. Most of the UCR CARE team attended the meeting to support undergraduate grant recipient Caylin Yorba-Ruiz, a third-year student with a double major in media and cultural studies, and art. Yorba-Ruiz’s project caters to survivors of sexual assault by distributing messages of empowerment through healing publication mediums, such as adult coloring books and zines.

“We’re not siloed human beings,” said Karla Aguilar, assistant director and advocate at CARE, which stands for Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education.

Aguilar said all of the projects will work across the diverse campus population to address areas where people need healing after experiencing trauma. “You don’t leave (pain) at home,” she said.

Grant recipients must support one of the initiative’s nine wellness-focused subcommittees; working closely with cross functional teams consisting of faculty, staff, and students who provide valuable perspectives and collaboration to ensure culture change, development of an action plan, and implementation.

For more information about project grants and a description of current projects, please visit the Healthy Campus Initiative website.


The projects include:

  • Empowerment Coloring Books & Zine, Caylin Yorba-Ruiz
  • The Healthy Brains Initiative, Asra Irfan
  • College Men’s Conceptualization, Communication, and Interpretation of Sexual Consent, Logan Marg
  • Standing by: Faculty as potential agents of health promotion, Dr. Tanya Nieri
  • Bridging the gap between food, health and science, Deborah Pagliaccia
  • Kindness Online and In-Person: More Than Skin Deep,  Julia Revord
  • #puppylove: A feasibility study for an on-site, year-round animal therapy program for the UCR campus – community, Patricia Smith-Hunt
  • Positive Activities and Health, Robert Wright 
  • Scotty’s C-Store Healthy Choice Promotion,  Kishore Athreya
  • Identifying Accommodation and Support Services Gaps for Students with Invisible Disabilities at UCR, Michaela Kathleen Curran 
  • An App-Based Mindfulness Intervention to Reduce Stress in UC Staff , Kate Sweeny


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