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UMBC Wellness Initiative

Wellness News

Benefits Coverage for Weight Loss Programs

Are you interested in joining a weight loss program such as Weight Watchers at Work and would like some financial assistance? We recently learned that our benefits plans have reimbursement available for participation in weight loss programs. Carefirst and United Healthcare members are able to receive $150 reimbursement per plan year for participation in weight loss programs. If you are a member of Kaiser, contact them for information on their plan and resources offered. See below for the reimbursement forms:

United Healthcare:


You may also be able to use your healthcare flexible spending account funds if you are using the program in the treatment of an existing disease such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and not to simply maintain general good health. A Letter of Medical Necessity from a licensed medical practitioner is required. The cost of foods associated with a weight loss program are not covered nor are vitamins or supplements utilized to maintain general health. However, if these or other weight loss drugs (whether over the counter or prescribed) are specifically recommended by a medical practitioner for a specific medical condition, they are covered. For more information contact Connect Your Care at 866-971-4646.

Expanded Healthy Snack Vending Program

UMBC Vending is pleased to announce the Healthy Vending program is expanding. A sixth “Healthy Choices” machine can now be found on the first floor of Sondheim. This new machines complements machines already located in Math/Psych, The RAC, the Library, University Center, and Fine Arts buildings.

The “Healthy Choices” machines offer healthier alternatives to fare commonly found in vending machines around campus including Pop Chips, Kettle Brand Potato Chips, Pirates Booty popcorn, Bare Fruit Bake-Dried Mangos, Edamame, and Snackimals crackers.

Please contact with any questions about the Healthy Vending Program. We hope you take advantage of the healthy alternatives to standard snack vending! Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste and a waist is a terrible thing to mind!

RAC New Recreation Hours & Classes

UMBC Recreation is pleased to announce new hours of operation for students, faculty and staff members this spring at the RAC!

RAC Building Hours
Monday-Thursday- 7:00am-10:00pm

REC Weight Room Hours
Monday-Thursday- 7:00am-10:00am and 12:00pm-10:00pm

In addition to the new hours for Recreation and the REC Weight Room, the Group Fitness Schedule has also added more classes at a variety of times. Classes include: Boot Camp on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 7:15am-8:00am; Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:15am-8:15am; Insanity on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 12:00pm-1:00pm and Zumba from 6:00pm-7:00pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings!

Come check out all the great ways to stay in shape and have fun! Please visit the myUMBC Fitness and Wellness group page to view the schedule of group fitness classes!

University System of Maryland Smoke-Free Campus Policy

The USM Board of Regents has adopted a policy requiring all USM institutions, including UMBC, to provide a healthy, smoke-free environment for all faculty, staff, students, contractors, and visitors by July 1, 2013.

The new USM policy reflects a national movement to provide healthy, smoke-free environments on college campuses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently launched the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative, advocating for smoke-free policies at colleges and universities nationwide. More than 800 colleges in the United States, including Towson University in the USM, are already smoke-free.

While the new smoke-free USM policy applies systemwide, each campus has been asked to develop an implementation plan best suited to its particular community. Accordingly, UMBC has created the Smoke-Free Campus Task Force with representatives from UMBC’s shared governance organizations, including students, faculty, and staff members.

The task force will host a number of meetings and public forums for members of the UMBC community to share suggestions and ask questions about the implementation process. You may also email suggestions to

Please visit the website: for the USM policy, list of Task Force Members, information about meetings and public forums, and links to resources.

We greatly value your input on implementing the smoke-free USM policy. Please continue to check the website as we move forward in the implementation process. Thank you for your support and assistance.

Preventative Measures for Protecting Your Health During Flu Season

With the early arrival of flu season across the country and in Maryland, UMBC University Health Services (UHS) is urging faculty and staff to take preventive measures to protect their health and the health of our colleagues. Cases of influenza are expected to increase throughout the flu season. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, UMBC Health Services staff recommend that staff and faculty take these precautions:

Get a flu shot. A limited number of flu shots are available at University Health Services. UHS is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 - 5:00. Students, staff and faculty may walk in or make an appointment by calling 410-455-2542. UHS accepts most major health insurance plans. Patients should bring their UMBC IDs and Health Insurance information to University Health Services. Flu shots also are available at local pharmacies, clinics and physician’s offices.

Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve, and avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.

Monitor your health. Flu symptoms include fever with cough or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.

What to do if sick with the flu:

Persons with flu symptoms should stay home. Ill individuals should limit contact with others who are not sick. Those with flu-like symptoms should not return to class or work until they no longer have a fever (a temperature of less than 100.5 F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Staff and faculty with the flu should utilize normal departmental call-out procedures to report their illness. Appropriate medical documentation may be required for absences involving multiple days. For additional clarification regarding absences from work, faculty and staff should contact the Human Resources Department.

Individuals should seek medical attention if they have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100.5. If a faculty or staff member comes to UHS for medical care, they must bring their health insurance cards with them; otherwise, they will be charged full price for their visit. They should talk with a doctor about appropriate medicine to treat flu or flu-like symptoms.

If an individual gets worse after being on the medication for three or four days, they should come back to University Health Services or their primary care provider to have their lungs rechecked to make sure they have not developed a secondary infection. Those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, or complications should call their health care provider or University Health Services at410-455-2542.

Our goal is for our community to have a productive and healthy work environment. There are many resources on campus available to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jennifer K. Lepus, Director of University Health Services, with questions or concerns at 410-455-3751 or

UMBC Takes the Stairs Campaign Launch

View image

Step by step, small steps make a big difference.
Invest in your health by choosing to take the stairs rather than the elevator.
This is one of many ways you can make Healthy Choices Every Day.

UMBC Wellness Initiative
Explore the Wellness Initiative website:
Join the Wellness Initiative myUMBC Group!

Wellness Initiative iNet Videos Launch

Here are 4 videos that you can use in your department to spread the word about all the ways you can make Healthy Choices Every Day.

UMBC Wellness Initiative
Explore the Wellness Initiative website:
Join the Wellness Initiative myUMBC Group!

Group Fitness Online Sign-Ups Available!

UMBC Fitness and Wellness now has online sign-ups! To register for class, go to and click on Events. You will see the classes being held today. Click on the class you would like to attend and then click the I Can Attend button, you can even add it to your calendar! You must be logged onto myUMBC to register. We look forward to seeing you in class!

Relationship Violence Awareness & Prevention Resources

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We have included links below to different resources and events happening on and off campus. Please support these events by either attending or sharing this email with others who may be interested. We all want healthy relationships and the resources below can help us co-create these.

For a flyer of Domestic Violence Awareness Month events offered in October by University Health Services and the Women’s Center:

If you, or someone you know, is in an unhealthy relationship, there are campus & community resources to help:

Links to resources found on the UMBC Relationship Violence Awareness & Prevention website:
- Relationship screening:
- On-Campus resources:
- Off-Campus Resources:
- Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence Response Team:

The Wellness Initiative iNet Video on healthy relationships and teamwork:

The Wellness Initiative website blog ‘Practices for Cultivating Healthy Relationships’:

Fall Flu Shots at UMBC

University Health Services will be providing flu shots to the students, faculty and staff of UMBC. The details of the flu shot clinics are as follows:

• Wednesday October 12, 2011 – 11 am – 2 pm in the UC Ballroom
• Thursday October 13, 2011 – 11 am – 2 pm on Commons Main Street

The cost of the flu shot is $20. UHS will accept cash, personal check or the UMBC Campus Card. UHS will provide vaccines until supplies run out. For questions and concerns about individuals in high risk categories, as well as those who would like to bill the flu shot to their health insurance, please call UHS at 410.455.2542.

Download file

UHS Receives Grant from the Kristin Mitchell Foundation

In March 2010, University Health Services at UMBC received a $1,400 grant from the Kristin Mitchell Foundation. The mission of the Kristin Mitchell Foundation is to support educational efforts that raise awareness among young adults about the dangers of unhealthy dating relationships. UHS Health Education Staff and Peer Health Educators used these funds to further enhance the efforts of the Voices Against Violence Program at UMBC. Funds were used for a variety of programs and events during the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters. Highlights include a “Celebration of Strength” event during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2010, a “Luvapalooza” event in February 2011, a poster campaign in the residence halls, as well as the creation of resource cards with contact information for the SARVRT and signs of unhealthy relationships. The collaborative efforts between University Health Services and the Kristin Mitchell Foundation have been tremendous, and allowed for many important programs, events and resources to be shared with the UMBC community about dating violence and healthy relationships.

To learn more about the Voices Against Violence Program at UMBC, please visit:

To read more about how UMBC used this grant money, and to see pictures of events, visit the Kristin Mitchell Foundation website at:

UMBC Wellness Initiative - New Name, New Focus

The ‘UMBC Wellness in the Workplace Initiative’ is now the ‘UMBC Wellness Initiative’! Wellness is vital to the effectiveness and well being of every member of our campus community (faculty, staff, and students) and the name change reflects this value. Along with the name change, we have updated the logo and expanded the composition of the Wellness Collaboration Team to include student representation.

To help increase awareness about the initiative, the Collaboration Team has created a new ‘Wellness Initiative’ myUMBC group to highlight upcoming programs, news, and events. We invite you to become a member of this group:

New resource: Campus Walking/Jogging Route Maps

New maps are available to help you get outside and get moving!

The Retriever Athletic Center has created maps for walking/jogging routes on campus. Five different routes have been mapped out, ranging from a 1 mile flat course to 5 miles. The maps are on the Fitness and Wellness at the RAC myUMBC group under ‘Documents:’

Geography and Environmental Systems has updated the Conservation and Environmental Research Area (CERA) trail map and added a printable Guide to the Interpretive Path. The total length from the True Grit statue in front of the RAC, through the CERA Trail and back to True Grit is 1.94 miles. This is a beautiful walk in the forest; if you’re quiet you are likely to see deer. Get the map and guide at:


University Health Services will be providing flu shots to the students, staff and faculty of UMBC on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 and Wednesday, October 6, 2010 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm in the UC Ballroom.

The cost of the flu shot this year is $20.00. UHS will accept cash, personal checks or the UMBC Campus Card on the above dates.

Questions or concerns about individuals in high risk categories, or those who would like to bill their health insurance, please contact University Health Services at (410) 455-2542.

UHS will provide the vaccines until supplies run out.

Download flyer

UMBC Continuing and Professional Studies Creates Successful ‘Biggest Loser’ Program!

In January of 2010, a group of women in the department of Continuing and Professional Studies started their own Biggest Loser program. Each participate paid $25 to take part. While the initial incentive was to win the money, the group quickly realized it wasn’t just about the cash. Over a six month period, ten participants began counting calories, exercising and coaching one another along. They invited guest speakers from athletics and health services to provide information about healthy eating habits and proper exercise regiments. Individual goals were set to provide momentum and weekly weight loss was awarded with a “Biggest Winner” certificate of achievement.

In the end a total of 116.6 pounds were lost. While some were more successful than others, it turned out that everyone was a winner. Participants are eating better and have increased their level of activity. Most importantly, the group learned to support each other and work together towards a common goal. We encourage other departments to try their own Biggest Loser program and have included a couple of resources that we used in our program below. We would welcome any questions on how to get started. Feel free to contact Bridget Stone (a.k.a. Jillian) at or x58490 for more information.

Download file

Download file

UHS Offers NEW Body Composition Screenings

Curious about your body? University Health Services’ Office of Health Education now offers FREE body composition screenings to staff, faculty and students. The screening will calculate your body mass index (BMI) and your body fat percentage using a hand-held bioelectrical impedance monitor. A short summary of your results will be discussed following the test. The entire session only takes about five minutes of your time and is completely non-invasive! For more information about prepping guidelines, please visit the UHS website at and click under ‘Wellness Works’. To schedule an appointment, contact Mickey Arora at or (410) 455-3752.

UMBC Introduces New Smoking Cessation Program

University Health Services announces a new smoking cessation service for UMBC faculty and staff: Freedom From Smoking class beginning Spring 2010. Freedom From Smoking is a 7-week course designed to help you with establishing a quit plan that works for you. The class is FREE and open to all UMBC students, faculty and staff. You must pre-register in order to attend the class and space is limited. Session information is provided in Insights Weekly. For more information and/or to register, please contact Mickey Arora in the Office of Health Education at or 410-455-3752

H1N1 Vaccine at UMBC

University Health Services (UHS) will be giving the H1N1 vaccine to students, staff, faculty, and their family members that fall into one of the categories below:

• Healthy individuals age 16 - 24 (UHS cannot do pediatric medicine)
• Pregnant Women
• Immune compromised
• Emergency Workers
• Caregivers of children under 6 months of age

The vaccinations are free. However, one must escort their family member who is eligible for the vaccine to UHS and present their UMBC ID card. Anyone without a UMBC ID card or card-carrying family member present with them will not be eligible to receive the vaccine.

The vaccinations are by appointment only. Phone calls for appointments will be accepted starting Monday, November 9, 2009.

For questions or to make an appointment, please call University Health Services starting Monday, November 9th at 410-455-2542 and press "1" at the voice prompt.

Seasonal Flu Shot Clinic at UMBC

Maxim Health Systems will be sponsoring 2 days of seasonal flu shot clinics (not H1N1) on campus on Tuesday Oct 6 and Wednesday Oct 7, 2009 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in room 331 Commons. The cost is $25.00 cash or check only (made out to Maxim Health Systems). Anyone with Aetna insurance can receive a free shot if they can show proof of coverage
with their Aetna insurance card. These flu shot clinics are open to all faculty, staff and students. For more information, please contact University Health Services at 410.455.2542. At this time, University Health Services does not have flu shots available at the health center.

UMBC Receives State Award for Achieving a 46% Reduction in Injury Claims

The State Employee Risk Management Administration (SERMA) recently recognized UMBC at their annual conference with a certificate for the significant 46% reduction of workplace injury claims reported in calendar year 2008 when compared to calendar year 2007. UMBC’s Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) department attributes this success largely to the heightened awareness and importance of workplace safety on campus. Congratulations to all of us for this important achievement!

UMBC’s Valentine to faculty and staff is a new website focused on wellness in the workplace.

For the past 9 months, 12 people from 9 different departments have been working on the UMBC ‘Wellness in the Workplace’ Initiative, providing our community with useful and relevant wellness information and learning opportunities, connecting us to resources and support, and identifying various ways to integrate wellness practices into the work day.

President Freeman Hrabowski comments, “It’s important to see the connection between our own health and the health of the campus community.  The ‘Wellness in the Workplace’ Initiative is a great way to provide information, resources, and support for personal health as well as healthy relationships in our work environment.  We are committed to supporting health and wellness activities on campus, and we believe that participating in such activities will help each of us to be even more resilient during these challenging times.”

When asked about the wellness initiative, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elliot Hirshman said, "This innovative approach reflects our understanding of the critical role that our mental and physical health plays in our work and personal lives. By enhancing our efforts to help members of our community achieve wellness and balance in their lives, we also hope to enhance the open communication, collaboration, and partnerships that are essential components of a successful, dynamic organization. I hope that members of our community will find the website resources to be especially helpful as we work together to achieve our collective professional goals in the coming year.”

Lynne Schaefer, Vice President, Administration and Finance adds, “One of our most important values as a University is to support people who make up this special community.  Encouraging the personal well-being of each member of the community is a great reflection of that value.”

The Collaboration Team is very excited about the launch of the new 'Wellness in the Workplace' website.  There are so many wellness-related things happening on campus, and for the first time our community will be able to go to one place that pulls it all together, then quickly links you to information in a multitude of other websites both on-campus and off.  We will also have a place for 'Wellness News' - brief announcements about campus-wide wellness issues, wellness tips and information, and motivational 'Success Stories' shared by our colleagues.  Our 'Take a Break!' section offers various ways to take a quick break and recharge right at your desk; such as guided meditations, stretches and exercises, and deep breathing.

Valerie Thomas, Associate Vice President of Human Resources says, “Our hope is that this website will serve as a valuable resource and that it continues to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy approach to living for the collective health of our community.”

Terri Werner, Director of Training and Organization Development shares, “Working with the ‘Wellness in the Workplace’ Collaboration Team has been such a wonderful experience.  We are looking forward to the website being a way to expand this conversation and to spark ideas about how everyone can contribute and make a difference.”

Get Fit Clinic

The Retriever Athletic Center announces a new service for UMBC faculty and staff: Led by RAC Fitness Instructor Katie Birger the 3-session Rec Sports ‘Get Fit Clinic’ walks you through the steps you need to increase your fitness levels with cardio training, strength training, dietary information and stress management. For a $45 investment, participants get an initial assessment, learn how to use the equipment at the RAC, create a personal fitness plan, learn tips on sticking to it, and get a free follow-up fitness assessment to help track their progress. New sessions will be announced in Insights Weekly. For more information contact Mike D’Archangelo at ext. 5-6883 or e-mail

Campus Smoking Policy Update

The Smoking Policy was updated in November 2008 to reflect the new campus policy standard form. The new form clarifies the intent of the policy and contact information. You may find the updated policy at

In the continuing effort to improve the quality of life, new designated smoking areas were added on campus to include the residential areas and TRC. This addition doubles the number of designated smoking locations. A new rectangular smoking urn has been wall or post mounted at these locations. They are made from recycled steel. Each urn has two screens for extinguishing cigarettes before depositing. New free-standing “No Smoking” signs provide information for designated smoking locations and policy contact telephone numbers. You may find the map of designated smoking areas at

Get Fit Maryland,™

In the Fall of 2008, UMBC participated in Get Fit Maryland,™ a state-wide 12-week initiative to help people improve their overall fitness. The goal was to walk 10,000 steps a day and to make healthy lifestyle choices for maintaining a healthy weight and improving overall health. Approximately 175 UMBC participants purchased a GET FIT kit from the University of Maryland Medical System Program. They received a pedometer to keep track of their daily steps, were encouraged to do weekly weight and blood pressure checks, and every 4 weeks they received various incentives.

UMBC Receives PGMS Green Star Honors Award

UMBC received a Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) Green Star Honors Award given for the Urban University Grounds category submitted by Donna Anderson, Manager of Landscape and Grounds, for work done by the grounds shop in keeping the campus beautiful. The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence. They said, ‘UMBC classily brings a suburban beauty to an urban environment.’

Recognizing North America's finest grounds, operations and personnel, the 2008 PGMS Green Star Honors Award winners were announced during ceremonies held at the 2008 PGMS School of Grounds Management & GIE + EXPO on Saturday, October 25 2008, in Louisville, Kentucky.


In 2008 UMBC received an Occupational Excellence Achievement Award from the National Safety Council. The award recognizes members who have reported injuries and illnesses that resulted in lost days equal to or less than 50% of the Bureau of Labor Standards rating.

Because of the physical and financial toll of workplace injuries and illnesses (healthcare and workers’ compensation costs, absenteeism and decreased productivity), safety practices are vital. Good safety habits, behaviors and attitudes contribute to creating a healthy, vital work environment and support our campus “Wellness in the Workplace” Initiative. Although the award for outstanding safety practices was presented to the Environmental Safety and Health Department, it appropriately names UMBC as the recipient. This is truly a community accomplishment.