Being part of the Des Moines University community can have a very positive impact on one’s health.
When I joined the staff in fall 2008, I marveled at the University’s Wellness Pays program, which offers employees financial incentives to exercise, get preventive health care, participate in select programs like Weight Watchers and even volunteer in the community. The program was just the motivation I needed to change my evil couch-potato ways.
I soon discovered Wellness Pays is just one component of DMU’s culture of wellness. Obviously, DMU’s students, faculty and alumni are knowledgeable about nutrition, physical and mental health, the effects of poor health habits and other components of wellness, but they live the concept of wellness personally and professionally.
You’ll see examples of that throughout this annual report. Amid the past year’s challenges and changes, DMU is in good shape in its financials, enrollment, rankings and other key areas. Our wellness program became the first at a university or college nationwide to earn the top recognition awarded by the Wellness Councils of America. DMU faculty, students and staff are engaged in activities that take care of the community, their patients, their professions and people around the globe.
You also will meet alumni in this issue who incorporate principles of wellness in their lives and practices. One graduate and his colleagues crafted a creative way to cool an H1N1 flu hot spot last fall. Another received a lifetime achievement award for championing osteopathic medicine and his specialty, emergency medicine. Others pursue activities that foster mental wellness, from chasing eclipses to breaking speed records in super souped-up cars.
DMU wants to help alumni and friends take care of their practices, too. This issue’s “Livesmart” article offers advice on dealing with the dreaded question, “When a patient experiences an adverse event under my care, what should I disclose, and how?”
My favorite part of DMU’s wellness culture is the fact that its people genuinely care about each other. Students find an environment that’s supportive and nurturing, not coldly cut-throat. Employees are encouraged to give each other “Spotlight Awards” for making DMU successful, for having contagiously positive attitudes or for communicating and providing service. And over the past year, many alumni and friends have responded to the University’s critical need for scholarship support. That’s a wonderful way to take care of our deserving students and the people they will one day care for.
The University’s wellness culture hasn’t turned me into a mega-athlete with six-pack abs, but I have perfected a few Pilates moves and learned to love my lipids, thanks to biochemistry/nutrition Chair David Spreadbury, Ph.D. I’ve decided elevators are for wimps and realized my book club is good for my mental and social wellness.
Mainly, though, I feel very good about being a member of this extraordinary DMU community. I hope you feel good that you are, too.
The health care reform debate continues
As I write this, the U.S. Senate had passed its version of a health care bill for President Barack Obama. In our inaugural DMU Magazine poll last fall, we asked you what you believe is the most important thing we must do to improve health care. Among responses, tort reform garnered the most votes, followed by providing access to all Americans.
For another look at health reform, consider the experience Dale Andringa, M.D., had with the health care system in England.
We welcome your continued comments on this issue, too.