Courtney Weaver sits down with Tara Hulsey, Vice President of Health Promotion and Wellness and Dean of the College of Nursing here at WVU. They talk about the recent employee wellbeing survey they conducted and where everyone can find out more about the health and wellbeing resources available to them on campus! For the WVU Wellbeing Model, visit: To access to the Health and Wellness Inventory, visit: Also, to learn more about the current call for proposals, visit:


Hey there everyone. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays. I'm your host Courtney Weaver. I'm the director over at WellWVU here at West Virginia University. And joining me today for actually the second time is Dr. Tara Hulsey. She is the vice president of Health Promotion and Wellness.

She's also the Dean of the School of Nursing. So wears many hats here at the institution. So welcome Dr. Hulsey and tell our listeners a little bit more about your role at the university. Sure, thank you so much for having me. So as Dean of the School of Nursing, I oversee all of our undergraduate and graduate level programs.

And we currently have four campuses with progress to open a fifth one in about a year. And we also offer several post-master's certificate programs. And my role is vice president of health, promotion and wellness. I oversee the office of health promotion and wellness. And I chair the planning steering committee, which is a leadership committee that we put together and that's comprised of senior level administrators across the university that actually work with us to set strategic priorities for the wellbeing initiatives.

University-wide. All right. And I believe actually my boss sits on that committee with you. So he does indeed. Alright. So I know that our office just completed the WVU wellbeing survey. I took it. I promise you so could you tell us a little bit more about that? Yeah, that has turned out to be extremely helpful.

In January we asked all of the faculty and staff across the university, all campuses to respond to the survey. It was conducted through a company called wagon, which we've been extremely impressed with and are looking forward to maybe working with them more in the future. What we wanted to do was really do, do a baseline survey to see really how people are doing.

I was really intrigued by the structure of it. I wasn't familiar with waggle and it was really a cool way to collect responses. And so did you get a good response to the survey? We had a great response. Actually, we had an in of 500 now 951. So 951 people responded and overall there was really a positive response to the wellbeing.

Indicators is 68% positive response. So we were really impressed by that. Okay. So can you tell us a little bit more about what that shows and what that means I can, yeah. So the survey was organized around this. Six statements that reflect the areas of our priorities that we show in our framework that we call the WVU well-being wheel.

And it really drives the university's wellness priorities, which we have six of those are the physical social community purpose. Financial and emotional wellbeing. So we organized the survey around those concepts. So for each priority, there was a statement and people were asked to respond to how they were doing on each one of those.

So again, overall 68% responded positively for those six areas? Yes. Okay. And would you say that that response is what you expected? Actually no, because, you know, going into that, we thought with the pandemic and everything that we lower well-being overall would really be lower. So we were really pleased to find that people are finding their work meaningful and purposeful, and that they're making meaningful connections with each other faculty, staff and students across the university system.

Okay. Well, that's, that's really great news that there were some bright spots in those results. So what were some of the areas where there were fewer positive results? Appreciation and emotional wellbeing and emotional is not a surprise for me at all. I certainly think everyone knows that the pandemic has taken a hit on our psyches.

So those were the two that there were the lowest of people really want to feel that they're appreciated professionally and personally. When we ask people to really weigh in on what our office could do. To help. And what w where we should really put our focus, the top things were not surprisingly mental health and work life balance.

And certainly those two are interrelated. Oh, that's for sure. And so I know that the survey focused on employees, but I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about the resources that might already be in place for faculty, staff and students. There are a ton of them. So through a very generous gift from alumni, Natalie and West Bush the, this, my position and the office of health promotion and wellness was established and the goal really was to have a system or a piece of the university that could really be strategic about wellness.

And we have. People doing things all over the university, we have for years to focus on wellbeing, but not one person really kind of had a handle on what all was going on. There was no concerted effort. There's duplication of efforts all over the place. So in our office, we've developed an inventory that we actually update every day.

It's amazing. The things that have been going on and are currently going on around wellness all over the university and all of our campuses. So the inventory, as I said, it is on our website. So I would encourage people to check that out and we update it every day, but it includes so many of the programs and actions, research, projects, anything that is really related to wellbeing is in there.

So my job and the job of our office is to leverage the existing resources that we have to serve the faculty, staff and students, just to make sure that all the work around wellbeing is really aligned with the university's values. Okay. And w for our listeners, what we'll do is maybe we'll link to that inventory in the description of the podcast.

So everyone can go and check it out if they're listening on their computer or their phone. And so as the director of Boulder move, you, I know that the university offers comprehensive programming in things like alcohol and other drug education, sexual health, nutrition, and fitness. What types of programs and services does the university provide that students.

So that helps students enhance their wellness for students. Well, the university's really focused on the students. And there are so many excellent programs. Refresh activities have really been well advertised campus recreation and adventure. West Virginia are wonderful opportunities. I can't tell you how many times I've heard.

Fantastic things about adventure, West Virginia in particular, from students who have participated in those. And then we have the courage center and the be well programs that are supposed to provide those so much needed services around emotional wellbeing. And those are for students. And I will just say for employees, the university offers a faculty and staff assistance program.

All right. And now a lot of things with like campus rec and adventure, they are online currently because of the pandemic, but they are still doing these offerings and they're really still really great opportunities to connect with other students. You've been really creative about how they've been able to roll those out, you know, in a virtual manner.

Right. And I've done a lot of work with the refresh program and it's been really popular among students. And we'll also put the link to that calendar in the description as well, so people can check it out. So Dr. Jose, can you tell us about a few things your office is doing to support emotional wellbeing?

Sure. We've actually got a lot of things going on coming up and you're going to hear some more about, but in the fall of this past semester, we sponsored attendance at a two day training. And that was at a conference that was put on by the national stomach on promoting wellbeing and resilience in health care professional.

We had sent a number of people to this training and they came back and they share it with hundreds of people across the university there. What they learned from that. And the office also partnered with the police to focus on collecting unwanted medications. And we had a huge response to that. And that'll be something that we continue to do in collaboration with the university police.

And then we also conducted a pilot study of the health science center, faculty and staff and students to kind of understand their quality of life. We took those that his responses and shared them with the health science and our deans. And then we linked to them just suggestions that we have for specific resources that already exist in the university.

And then also we've been publicizing several self-care workshops. Okay. And now for the, the medication disposal unit, that's going to be a permanent installation of the university police department. That's correct. Right. Right. We, we pay for that container and that system, and we were continued to support that.

And so yet that will be ongoing. Okay. Which is really good. Cause there's a little bit of a focus on like medication safety. And if you don't take all of your medication for whatever reason, you need to dispose of it in a proper way. And so there's an option for you on campus. That's really great. And now in terms of next steps, I know that our offices and other units at WVU have been collaborating on some ideas for the future.

Like what next steps is the office of health promotion and wellness taking to address wellbeing. Okay. So part of early on when we're organizing the office and there's structure for leadership and how that would work as established priority action teams. And those teams are comprised of faculty, staff and students from across our university system.

And they are currently meeting monthly to address wellbeing, wellbeing, priorities, and set goals and outcome evaluation measures. So after the teams reviewed our survey results, they work to develop a request for proposals process, and that's going to be rolling out that it has rolled out. So we're really excited to be pushing that forward.

Okay. And so what is involved in the RFP process? We're asking people across the university to submit ideas or proposals to our office. So their projects need to be aligned with the WVU wellness wheel, but in particular, they have to address the well emotional wellbeing component. So the priority action teams will review those RFPs that we get.

And they're going to send those recommendations to the steering committee. And then we'll decide how we can support those programs, which ones we can find. Because again, our office is responsible for leveraging what existing resources we have and to be sure that health promotion and wellness programs are not being duplicated.

Okay. So if someone is interested in submitting a project idea, where can they get more information? Contact my office of health promotion and wellness. Dr. Amy said, well, as our program director, you can email her. And that information is on the website as well. She can send you instructions.

All of the proposals on proposals will be due March the fifth. So we've already received a number of questions and interest in this. So I would really strongly encourage folks who were interested to go ahead and move on that again. The due date will be March the fifth. All right. And so to start wrapping up, is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners?

I just mentioned that our office has been running a campaign building community wellbeing, wherever you may be. And we're continuing that this semester. So we recognize two people a month who are doing really great things in the community. So anyone who knows someone who is doing a great thing in the community, please would encourage you to let us know.

And I also would. Like to really encourage faculty, staff, and students to take advantage of the wellness services that we have, please visit our website and check out the inventory. I think you'd be surprised with how much resources currently exist and if you don't know where to start, or if you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Or my office Dr. Sidwell will be happy to help as well. So just would really encourage you to visit our website and to get involved in these initiatives. All right. Well, Dr. Ali, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing more about the opportunities that are available. I know that in my department, we're kicking around some ideas for that RFP process.

So we're excited to put something on paper, but we appreciate it. Just two more things I would say about that one. We've had people ask what is the amount and I'm not setting an amount, so people should just ask for what they would really need. To complete or to carry out a specific mental health or emotional wellness project.

So I would, I would just like to say that, and then also I'll be holding a campus conversation around our wellbeing survey and our office and next steps and all next week. So I would encourage people to look for information on that as well. Okay. Well, great. All of this sounds amazing. Well again, thank you so much, inevitably, we'll bring you back on because you are a whole wealth of information.

So that's important for everyone to know, but we appreciate you taking the time and to our listeners. We appreciate you listening and we will catch you next time on Wellbeing Wednesdays.