EVERY TUESDAY, a small group can be found sitting quietly in a mindfulness session. On Friday, another group is in full motion, exercising under the watchful eye and instruction of a trainer. And ahead of flu season, lines spiral through the halls as people wait for their free flu shots. These are all part of what has bloomed into a full suite of wellness programming available to the entire School of Public Health community.
“It has been my goal to enable us to ‘practice what we preach’ at the School of Public Health while advancing well-being for all,” said Dean Bess Marcus. “Our students, staff, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows perform at a high level in a competitive environment, so we want to make it easy for them to take care of themselves both physically as well as mentally.”
During Dean Marcus’ tenure, the School has established an ongoing series of weekly mindfulness meditation sessions, multiple yoga classes, and a fitness workshop taught by Rick Smith, Network Manager, Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies, which are open to all. Audience specific offerings include a six-week Mindfulness in the Workplace course for faculty and staff and a BWell Health Promotion “On the Go” Cart that includes stress management tools and other health resources for students.
Working with BWell exemplifies Brown’s culture of collaboration across people and across administrative units to create opportunities that embrace healthy practices. The School has also hosted educational workshops and free massages from BWell for students, classes from Work/Life at Brown for faculty and staff on topics like maximizing University health benefits, and a vital signs screening from Brown EMS.
Wellness programming will continue to evolve based on new opportunities and feedback from the community. All are welcome to pitch new ideas, a few of which have come to fruition such as Smith’s class, a student flu clinic, and a future CPR training for faculty and staff.
In addition to individual benefits, the wellness sessions can also have a positive impact on the overall community, with people having a chance to interact with one another outside offices and classrooms. “I think it’s great that staff, students, and faculty can come together and shake those identities for an hour here and there. It allows us to connect in ways we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to,” said Elizabeth Mellen, Program Coordinator for Student Engagement.
Learn more: brown.edu/publichealth/wellness