New program focuses on boosting employee health


    TCU recently employed the Wellness Gold program seeking to further boost employee health and create an overall wellness experience for faculty and staff.

    The Wellness Gold began in the fall of 2011 with David Upton, wellness coordinator, and Shari Barnes, director of employee relations, heading the new department.

    It has been put together primarily by Upton over the course of the fall semester with improvements being made constantly as the program has progressed, Upton said. Wellness Gold has continued to grow with the employees of the university reaping the benefits each semester.

    The wellness program involves 6 dimensions of wellness — emotional, physical, occupational, spiritual, social, intellectual.

    TCU employees have a six-week phase where they have to meet certain requirements of the program to fully complete it. 

    “We have built in a lot of educational and practical opportunities where people can actually go and be taught how to improve their well being," Upton said.

    The members are not simply given an area to work on, but they are taught and instructed on what to do and how to do it. After the initial phase there are continuation phases that come into effect that are continually being modified and adapted to better fit the needs of the employees. Upton said he has gotten the program to receive national attention with other major universities being interested in a complete wellness experience.

    Since the program's launch, over 100 employees have participated and it continues to grow. Follow up programs will soon be in place and will be supplemented by a member’s only website. 

    June Koelker, the Dean of the Mary Couts Burnett Library, said she thinks the planning of the program responds "holistically." This structured program educates the participants in how to start living better and how to keep living better, she said. 

    “It was very helpful for someone who wants to maintain physical health, but who is not educated in that area," Stephen Weiss, an engineering professor, said.