We sat down with Chancellor Lisa Brown to talk about her health goals for the campus and how she maintains a healthy work/life balance.
What is your overall philosophy on the health goals of this campus?
Well we’re a health sciences campus and we have great opportunity to walk our talk by being a healthy campus. To me, that means students and employees would be aware of how to live healthy and actively participate in their own health, as well as supporting each other in healthy living. I think peer support and organizational culture is also very important.
How do you ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to creating a good work/life balance?
I have had easier and harder times with that in my life. It was harder when I was a single mom with a young child. I particularly have sympathy for parents because they’ve got the role as a parent, family member and employee.
It’s easier for me now, because my son is raised, to carve out some time almost everyday to do something healthy. I work out at the Y several mornings a week. Because we are so close to this great river and trail system, I can and try to commute by walking or biking at least once a week.
What wellness opportunities are currently available for students and employees, and what options may be available in the future?
I definitely encourage people to check out the wellness collaborative website and activities that are going on – everything from yoga to walking to tips on your health and nutrition.
We’re just ideally located for taking advantage of recreational opportunities in the community. That’s everything from hiking and biking, et cetera.
Also, because we’re a health sciences campus, there are a lot of lectures and activities that people can take advantage of.
What’s your vision for the health of our community, and what is WSU Spokane’s role?
Although we’ve technically been a campus for 25 years, our mission as a health sciences campus really has only been established the last five years, and only in the last five to ten years has this campus really taken off in terms of its current location and facilities.
If we were looking ten years down the road, it would be great for us to be seen as a neighborhood partner in health. That not only involves the clinic, but I would love it if the neighborhood that will soon be accessible across a bike and pedestrian bridge, that the East Sprague and East Central neighborhoods really saw us as a member of the neighborhood.
And ideally, if we’re successful, we’ll have an impact on health disparities. Studies have shown that your life expectancy varies depending on what zip code you live in. It would be great for WSU Spokane as a health sciences campus to really have our mission be trying to disrupt that and create opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
For me, that’s not just physical. It’s all around. It’s emotional, relationships, walkable and safe neighborhoods.
What are your recommendations on staying healthy with extremely busy schedules?
You can’t put (healthy activities) off. I think what that means is you should actively schedule time in your calendar for your health activities. Again, going back to my years in the legislature, where especially during the session in Olympia, it was very complicated schedule-wise. We actually just put (healthy activities) in the calendar.
It makes you amazingly more productive to actually take the time and be healthy. I’ve started doing walking meetings with some people, like Chancellor Christine Johnson at the Community Colleges of Spokane. I’ve met at her office, which is conveniently on the trail, and did a walking meeting.
The other thing I’d say is that disconnecting from electronics is a good thing to do. We know that disconnecting in the evenings is good so you can get some better sleep. The research happening on this campus says don’t short yourself in the area of sleep.