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Rhoda Cerny and Deshana Cabasan-Hunte | Gillings School of Global Public Health

Longtime leader in wellness, Rhoda Cerny (Environmental Science and Engineering) and co-champion Deshana Cabasan-Hunte (Office of Student Affairs) lead an all-star Wellness Champions program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The program was integrated into the existing Gillings Culture of Health program previously established in 2015 by Dean Rimer and Penny Slade-Sawyer, former senior consultant at our North Carolina Institute for Public Health.

Rhoda and Deshana are supported by a team of seven staff members from across Gillings to conduct a variety of wellness programs and activities that meet the needs of faculty, staff and students. Together, the Wellness Committee promotes wellbeing by providing University, state and local resources to all at Gillings, and it periodically hosts guest webinars on mental health, nutrition and other aspects of wellbeing.

Guided by monthly themes such as “Heart Health Month” in February and “Mental Health Month” in May, the Committee provides educational infographics, web links and sometimes samplings of healthy snacks as relevant to each theme.

Regular recurring wellness activities include gentle yoga, mindful relaxation and walking groups. Gillings remains a consistent participant in the state-wide Miles for Wellness Challenge held twice a year and in the Campus Recreation Jingle Bell Jog and Spring Fling events. The Committee offers a peer support pod and book club for those looking to improve their wellbeing.

Most recently, the Committee collaborated with fellow Wellness Champion, Nadia Clifton from UNC Libraries, to host a chocolate mediation. They also organized a community therapy dog to come to campus for stress relief during exam week.

One of Rhoda’s and Deshana’s favorite activities is hosting a “plant swap” outside on the Michael Hooker Research Center patio where faculty, staff and students come together to trade plants, flowers, seeds and anything garden-related, including lots of gardening advice! They especially love giving first-time plant owners a clipping to nurture to improve their wellbeing and their environment at home or in the office.

Thank you, Rhoda and Deshana, for all you continue to do to lead wellness at Gillings!

More about Wellness Champions

The mission of the Wellness Champion program is to foster a greater culture of health throughout Carolina by engaging and empowering Wellness Champions in every school and division. Learn more about the Wellness Champions program and how you can get involved:


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