Recognizing the persuasive case for employee wellness, the Commonwealth of Virginia for many years provided state employees access to the CommonHealth Program. Virginia Tech employees have had the opportunity to participate in many fine wellness programs coordinated locally by a CommonHealth coordinator. Due to deteriorating economic conditions, the Commonwealth of Virginia significantly reduced its underwriting of employee wellness by providing limited funding for CommonHealth. This left many state agencies, including Virginia Tech, in a void for coordinating and providing access to employee wellness activities. In response, Charles Steger, former university President, formed the Task Force on Employee Wellness with the main objective to determine the feasibility of Virginia Tech offering its own comprehensive employee wellness program.
Establishment of the Task Force on Employee Wellness
On September 24, 2008 Charles Steger asked Kerry Redican to Chair the Task Force on Employee Wellness. The task force was charged with developing a plan that:
- Supports the employee wellness needs of current Virginia Tech employees across the state and retired employees in the immediate area.
- Incorporates best-practice thinking from organizations known for their wellness programs.
- Delivers programs that facilitate the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviors.
- Identifies and aligns with entities that have established health protection and education goals.
- Shows tangible financial savings for health-related costs within five years.
- Demonstrates a sustainable financial model.
The task force members were Virginia Tech employees who had a history of wellness programs, represented units within the university and Cooperative Extension that had a wellness focus, scholars in wellness, health promotion and prevention, human resource administrators who valued wellness, and a retiree representing the retired population. Once their task force duties were completed, members were asked to serve on the Hokie Wellness Senior Advisory Council. The council meets twice a year to assist the Hokie Wellness team on programming and evaluation strategies.
The members of the Council are:
- Kerry Redican, chair (professor, School of Education)
- Zack Adams (assistant director, Environmental Health and Safety)
- Bob Broyden (director of Capital Assets and Financial Management)
- Kathy Hosig (director, Center for Public Health Practice and Research)
- Angela King (director of benefits)
- Elena Serrano (associate professor and extension specialist, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise)
- Christine Smith (co-director, the Women's Center)
- Ernest Eugene (assistant athletic director, Sports Medicine/MBB trainer)
- Paul Estabrooks (professor, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise/director, Translational Obesity Research Program)
- Irene Leech (associate professor, Apparel, Housing and Resource Management)
- Chris Wise (assistant vice president for Student Affairs)