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Wellness Champions keep Emory employees engaged and connected

Lunchtime dance parties over Zoom are only one of the ways that Healthy Emory’s Wellness Champions have tried to keep employees connected and engaged during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about how we work at Emory. With new stressors affecting Emory employees every day, there is an ever-increasing need for health and well-being programs.

Wellness Champions across Emory play an integral role in Healthy Emory’s efforts to improve employees’ health and wellness. These 142 volunteers encourage employees to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. What do wellness champions do? They:

  • serve as a “go-to” person on health and wellness at Emory;
  • help the Healthy Emory team plan, launch, communicate, evaluate and sustain wellness programs; and
  • motivate, encourage and support others to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Adapting to a virtual world can be tough, but Healthy Emory’s Wellness Champions have proven to be innovative and flexible by creating unique “local” programs to meet the needs of colleagues in their department, division, school or facility.

For example, Amanda Yu-Nguyen, director of the Center for Healthful Living at Oxford College, created virtual dance parties/jam sessions every Monday. Colleagues came together, played music and danced — and even included their kids and pets.

“In a time where we are all physically distant, virtual connection is one thing we rely on daily,” Yu-Nguyen says. “A lot of us spend many hours each day sitting in front of a screen, so it was exciting to bring movement into the lunch hour and see the smiling faces of the Oxford community. Those short dance breaks allowed us to meet each other's families, break a small sweat and have a little fun.”

Krystyna Rastorguieva, program manager with The Emory Clinic, provided virtual cooking demonstrations. “We took Cooking Healthy With Me into a virtual environment,” she says. “Doing cooking demos via Zoom actually allowed more people to be able to tune in. We also recorded the sessions so others can watch anytime. We had great feedback, and many have sent pictures with the meals they have prepared at home. We look forward to the time when we can come together and share some of those dishes with each other in breakrooms.”

Employees who would like to learn more about Healthy Emory’s Wellness Champion network can join an online webinar Thursday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. to hear details and begin their journey as a wellness ambassador. Register here.

For more information on any wellness programs, contact Healthy Emory at or 404-712-3775.

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