OSU’s wellness officer presents goals

First Posted: 10/8/2014

LIMA — The Ohio State University at Lima welcomed a wellness officer from the main campus to discuss the university’s health goals.

The Ohio State University is striving to be the healthiest campus in the world, said Bernadette Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing and chief wellness officer. All of OSU’s smaller campuses, like Lima’s, are important in reaching that goal.

During her visit, Melnyk met with faculty, staff and students at OSU-Lima and community members, such as representatives from Activate Allen County and the Health Department. Partnering with community organizations is something Melnyk finds to be very important and a win-win for OSU and the community organization.

One possible collaboration that Melnyk discussed with community members and OSU-Lima staff Wednesday is on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative that OSU is already partnering with to work on, said Amy Livchak, one of four wellness innovators and the coordinator of student activities. The initiative aims to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, according to OSU’s website. Melynk also mentioned bringing the family wellness expo that OSU has held in Columbus to Lima.

Wellness innovators at OSU-Lima work in many ways to encourage those on campus to work on wellness, Livchak said. The wellness innovators plan wellness walks, make sure there are healthy menu selections, hold recipe exchanges with dietitians so the dietitian can recommend ways to make favorite recipes healthier, have exercise challenges, encourage using walking routes on campus, and more.

The university has a successful working relationship with the staff and faculty, Livchak said, which gives those at the university the chance to work together to be healthier. It is helpful to have someone to encourage and push, Livchak said.

Tackling wellness is something that needs support at the top, like from university deans, but also a grassroots movement to make it succeed, Melynk said. It is a multipronged effort. Also, OSU is focusing on nine pillars of wellness, Melnyk said. Mental health is one of the important pillars.

“It was just nice to know that OSU has a vested interest in wellness,” Livchak said.

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