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wellness champions


The Department of Work/Life & Wellness within the Office of Human Resources is committed to enhancing opportunities for employees to achieve Total WellBeing for their head, heart, and heels.

Program Mission

To foster a greater culture of health throughout Carolina by engaging and empowering Wellness Champions in every school and division.

In the United States employees spend nearly 50 hours a week at work. Therefore, worksites have a great opportunity and responsibility to support employee health by creating an environment that is safe and makes the healthy choice the easy choice.

Potential Impact of Comprehensive Workplace Wellness Programs

star Reduced sick leave
star Reduced short-term disability
star Decreased workers compensation claims
star Reduced health care costs (insurer & subscriber)
star Improved productivity
star Increased employee morale
star Increased employee retention
starWellness Champions (Champions) lead a wellness committee for their school or division (department or work unit, as appropriate). Champions are full-time Carolina employees who are passionate about improving the culture of health at their workplace. They should be well known within their school/division and be comfortable with leading a Wellness Committee. Champions represent their committee and learn wellness program management skills in monthly Wellness Champion meetings. Champions may spend as much as eight hours per month to plan and implement their wellness initiative. See the Become a Wellness Champion section below to learn more.
starWellness Committee Members work with their Champion to plan and implement two to three wellness initiatives annually. Committees should represent the collective diversity of the school/division and include individuals from a variety of departments and roles (staff, faculty, supervisors, employees, administrators, researchers, etc.). Committee Members may spend as much as four hours per month to plan and implement their wellness initiative. See the Participating Schools/Divisions section below to contact your Wellness Champion to learn more about how to become a Committee Member. If there is no Champion for your school/division, please email to learn about other opportunities to be involved.
starThe Total WellBeing Team leads Wellness Champion meetings, provides wellness resources that support their program efforts and provides consultations with Champions to help them complete an annual workplace assessment and develop a strategic program plan.
starLeaders in each school and division serve as a model to employees and students, and greatly influence engagement in workplace. To support workplace wellness efforts, leaders may add work/life and wellness to their mission statement and promote employee involvement by allowing work time to participate in wellness activities and programs.
College of Arts & Sciences

Dean’s Office
Joy Montemorano
Executive Assistant

Physics & Astronomy/Applied Physical Science
Patina Herring
Business Services Coordinator

Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Angela Lyght
Employee Engagement Specialist

Gillings School of Global Public Health

Rhoda Cerny*
Executive Assistant

Melissa Walter*
Program Coordinator

Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance

Jessica Pyjas
Work/Life & Wellness Program Manager

Kenan-Flagler Business School

Tammy Samuels
Executive Director, Career and Leadership for MBA & Alumni Programs

Organizational Behavior
Ivonne Klevans
Clinical assistant faculty

Office of the Chancellor

Vernadette Delos Santos*
Program Coordinator – University Specialist

Administrative Coordinator

School of Education

Sonya Frej
Human Resources

School of Government

Celeste McGilvary
Human Resources Consultant

School of Information & Library Science

Lori Haight
Career Services Coordinator

School of Medicine
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Susan Gaylord
Program on Integrative Medicine Director

Allied Health Sciences
Eileen Burker
Professor, Director of the Division of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Information Technology
Lisa Crabtree*
SOM IT Service Desk Lead

Irene Baron*
Admin Support Associate

Emergency Medicine
Olga Otter
Clinical Assistant Professor

Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology (CEMALB)
Heather Wells
Research Operations Manager

General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Amanda Gillespie
Social Work Practitioner

The Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases (IGHID)

Department of Genetics

Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of Research


School of Nursing

Cheryl Giscombe*
Levine Family Distinguished Term Associate Professor

Vinisha Dsouza*
Levine Wellness Research Assistant

School of Social Work

Robin Sansing
Clinical Instructor

University Libraries

Alison Barnett*
Business Services Coordinator, North Carolina Collection

Nadia Clifton*
Special Collections Engagement Librarian


“The Wellness Champion initiative has been a very positive experience. Being able to collaborate and share ideas across university units is a very valuable resource.”
~ Tracy Wetherby, Wellness Champion for the Adams School of Dentistry (2019-2020)

“Serving as a Wellness Champion has been an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. I have enjoyed working with UNC-wide counterparts and our School’s Wellness Champions Committee to provide activities and resources for colleagues to encourage a work atmosphere that focuses on individual and community well-being and hopefully helps us all live better lives overall.”
~ Rhoda Cerny, Wellness Champion for Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2019-present

“I learned about the UNC Wellness Champion program and the activities of various champions last year, and I felt that it was a valuable program that I would like to participate in. After participating for a year, I continue to hold the same view. For anyone who is thinking of joining, there are great resources to support you as you begin to serve as a Wellness Champion.”
~ Patina Herring, Wellness Champion for Physics & Astronomy and Applied Physical Science Depts. within the College of Arts & Sciences, 2021-present

Information about applying to the program is promoted in the WorkWell e-newsletter. Be sure to review WorkWell each month for important information throughout the year.

Champion Responsibilities

star Dedicate up to eight hours a month to focus on planning and administering wellness activities*
star Participate in monthly meetings to learn tips, tools and resources to succeed
star Establish and lead a wellness committee or work group of four to 12 members
star Lead a wellness committee to develop and work towards two to three annual health and wellness goals
star Report progress each semester to earn points and incentives

*Co-champions will dedicate up to four hours per month

Steps for registering

  1. Attend a Wellness Champions interest session
  2. Get your supervisors’ approval to register
  3. Register (or nominate a colleague)
Register or Nominate a Wellness Champion Now

Registration is open through August 11.


star Starting the Conversation: Supervisor Approval Request Email Template

 Steps for Success

Report Your Success

Obtain Leadership Support

Leadership support is fundamental to the success and sustainability of any workplace wellness program. Leaders have great influence to shape employee and student behavior by serving a role model and working towards the same goals.

Earn Points

star Leadership funds part-time or full-time position dedicated to managing the wellness program (30 point per year)
star Leadership provides a dedicated annual budget for wellness (20 points per year)
star Add work/life and wellness to your school or division’s core values statement (10 pts., one time)
star Leadership participates in the selection of your program’s annual goals (10 pts. per year)
star Leadership celebrates members of the wellness committee or workgroup by email announcement or recognition on the school/division webpage (5 pts. per year)
star Leadership promotes all employees to participate in a wellness program or activity (5 pts. per activity)
star Leaderships visibly engages in your wellness activity or programs (5 pts. per activity)
star Leadership publicly celebrates the successes of the wellness committee (5 pts. per communication)


star Wellness Champions Program Overview Presentation for Leadership


Establish a Wellness Committee or Workgroup

Establishing or strengthening the culture of wellness at your workplace should not be a one-person task. The most successful programs are a result of the combined effort from a supportive team focused on improving the Total WellBeing at their workplace.

star New Committees Only: Establish a wellness committee or workgroup for your school, division, or work unit (20 pts., one time only)
star Existing Committees Only: Expand your wellness committee or workgroup to include other departments within the same building/floor/wing/suite (20 pts., one time only)
star Hold at least 10 committee meetings in 12 months (10 pts. per year)
star Attend Wellness Champion meetings and webinars (5 pts. per meeting)
star Hold regular committee/workgroup meetings to create, plan, progress and update your wellness goals. Committees are encouraged to meet monthly and must meet at least six times a year to be considered active. (5 pts. per meeting)


star Committee/Workgroup Member Invitation Email Template
star Committee Member Supervisor Request Email Template
star Wellness Committee/Workgroup Member Approval Form
star Wellness Committee Roster
star Wellness Committee Guide


Assess Your Workplace Needs, Interests & Policies

Understanding your workplace health, wellness and safety needs will support your committee’s efforts, conversations with leadership, and provide you with a means to measure your success.

Earn Points

star Complete the CDC ScoreCard worksite assessment (10 pts. per year)
star Distribute/Promote the employee interest survey with employees (5 pts. per year)
star Achieve 30% or more participation in the employee interest survey (5 pts. per year)
star Review worksite policies related to work/life and wellness (5 pts. per year)


star CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard (Access limited to Wellness Champions)
star Employee Interest Survey


Prioritize & Plan

Having a clear plan on where you want to go and what you want to accomplish will help you overcome potential barriers and be more successful at reaching your goals.

Earn Points

star Develop an annual plan with SMART goals to address 2-3 health focus areas (20 pts. per year)
star Talk with leadership about what a successful program would look like for your worksite and create metrics to track success over time (5 pts., one time)
star Have your annual plan reviewed and signed by leadership (5 pts. per year)


Promote & Implement

You’ve done the work, now it’s time to implement your program(s). Be sure to keep your workforce informed and strive to make the healthy choices, the easy choices.

Earn Points

star Hold a wellness campaign or challenge to promote healthy habits (20 pts. per campaign or challenge)
star Establish a new worksite wellness policy (See “Advance Points”)
star Implement a wellness activity that occurs on a regular basis, weekly/monthly (See “Advance Points”)
star Include information about your wellness committee/workgroup and activities on your school/division webpage (5 pts. per year)
star Organize a team to participate in a health event at UNC or locally in the community (5 pts. per event)
star Update existing policy(ies) related to work/life and wellness 5 pts. per policy)
star Host a Total WellBeing or GuidanceResources® session (5 pts. per year as available)

Advanced Points using the CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard

star Implement a new 3-point strategy (30 pts. per strategy)
star Implement a new 2-point strategy (20 pts. per strategy)
star Implement a new 1-point strategy (10 pts. per strategy)


star 2022 GuidanceResources® session


Have Fun!

The Wellness Champions program should be exciting and fun! Please share your experiences with the team so that we may highlight your efforts in Total WellBeing communications and WorkWell e-newsletter.

Earn Points

star Submit a success story to (5 pts. per event/activity)
star Submit a photo from a wellness event to (5 pts. per event/activity)
star Picture of Dean/Vice Chancellor participating in a wellness program or organized wellness event or activity (5 pts. per event/activity)