Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Health and Wellness Uncategorized

Colleague Spotlight

Grace Leaf

A special colleague spotlight this week as we recognize Grace Leaf for her outstanding work at WSU and wish her well on her new phase in her career journey. We want to express gratitude and appreciation for all your hard work here at WSU. You have provided students and staff with so much loving support, organization and leadership. We truly recognize what an incredible gift you have been to our work environment. We are so excited for you and this new phase of your career, but know that you will be greatly missed by all.

What is your department/location on campus? NEP, SHER 306

How long have you worked for WSU? Since October 2014

Can you tell us a bit about your degree/background? BA Comm, WSU; Master’s in Org Leadership Gonzaga; All but dissertation in the Doctoral Program in Leadership, Gonzaga

Where are you from? Chewelah

What do you enjoy/like best about your job? My awesome students! They are the reason I get out of bed every day.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? Hiking, reading, writing; Curator for TEDxSpokane

What is one of your own wellness tips/healthy habits that you love to follow? Dance! It’s good for your body and your soul. I used to teach dance aerobics until I broke 4 ribs last year, and being injured taught me the value of activity and how it feels to live with a chronic condition to adapt and make your way back to health.

High quality, fresh and local produce

We are approaching the spring harvest, which means that for most locally participating farms it is the last call to sign up for the seasons Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a way for consumers to buy local and seasonal produce from a farmer in their community.

When you become a CSA member to a certain farm you are purchasing a “share” of produce from the farm. Most are set up as weekly or bi-weekly pick ups running from June-October. Most farms offer different size quantities of produce in each box depending on the number of people you are hoping to feed. Prices and payment plans vary by farm, but information is often detailed out on their websites. Some farms even offer additional goods like eggs, meat and breads!

After signing up as a member of a CSA program, farmers/volunteers will drop off the share of produce to a convenient location in your neighborhood for you to pick up.

So what are the benefits of joining a CSA, you ask? Joining a CSA allows you to access produce that is high quality, fresh, locally grown and can often cut down on your weekly grocery bill. You have the opportunity to gain knowledge of produce seasons, what grows in your area and learn how to cook with new ingredients.

Check out these CSA’s that are local to Spokane for more information about signing up!

Take a walk…and call me in the morning

Reposted with permission from Rebecca Phillips, ’76, ’81, DVM, Washington State Magazine

The U.S. Surgeon General wants YOU to get off the couch and start moving. In the new Step It Up! program, Dr. Vivek Murthy urges walking or wheelchair rolling for all Americans. He’s not alone—the Centers for Disease Control touts walking as the closest thing to a wonder drug without any side effects, says April Davis ’97, ’09, ’12 MS, clinical assistant professor in the WSU Spokane Program in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Like Panacea, the mythical Greek goddess of universal remedy, walking has something for everyone.

Since Kenneth Cooper first popularized aerobics in 1968, millions of Americans have taken up running, cycling, and other intensive exercises as the way to achieve cardiovascular fitness and overall health. Walking can seem counterintuitive.

Yet from ancient times physicians have praised, and prescribed, the healing powers of more moderate exercise. It was only in the early 1900s with the advent of germ theory, vaccinations, and antibiotics that medical exercise began to wane. Davis and others are calling for a revival.

Davis oversees the annual Health and Fitness Clinic held in Spokane each October through May. Free to the public and staffed by student clinicians, the program offers one-on-one lifestyle coaching, detailed diet plans, and exercise routines that promote moderate activity like walking.

Doctoral student Alissa Underhill says walking is often underrated. “People think it can’t do much for you but I firmly believe walking gives the same benefits as more strenuous activity; it just takes a little longer.” She’s seen the results: weight loss, lowered blood pressure, balanced lipid levels, and more.

Davis says studies show walking just two and a half hours per week leads to a 30 percent reduction in heart disease risk—that’s only 21 minutes each day or 30 minutes a day for 5 days.

Physical therapist Ed Robertson agrees. A manager of the Summit Therapy satellite clinic at WSU Pullman, Robertson says, “Walking is sustainable till the end of your days. The risk of injury is low and almost anyone can do it even following an accident or illness. Some studies suggest that 60 percent of all runners will be injured in any given year. So, if people dialed down that activity a little bit, they could likely do it forever.”

A 15- to 20-minute walk can also provide emotional, psychological, and spiritual benefits, similar to meditation or prayer. “For many people, the best ideas come to them either in the shower or on a solitary walk,” says Robertson. “Those are often the only opportunities during the day for free association—making subconscious links and connections that might not occur while staring at a spreadsheet or computer monitor. And lunchtime walks with co-workers offer a chance to decompress and vent that helps preserve our sanity,” he adds.

Walking, especially in nature, is known to alleviate depression by raising endorphin levels, which leads to better sleep patterns and improved mood, Davis says. Studies show that exposure to natural light and terrain allows the brain to recuperate in preparation for renewed mental effort later.

She says the effects are so tangible that many doctors have come full circle, once again picking up the pad and prescribing that age-old remedy: “Take a long walk and if you still need to…call me in the morning.”

SmartHealth brown-bag presentation

Take advantage of the SmartHealth Wellness Incentive! HRS and APAC will be hosting a brown-bag presentation to review the SmarthHealth Portal.  We’ll review how to access the SmartHealth Portal as well as some of the more popular activities you can choose from.

Grab your lunch and join us from 12:10 – 12:45 pm on March 30 in Lighty 405.

AMS availability:

WSU Spokane (SAC 401A)

WSU Tri-Cities (TWST 209)

WSU Vancouver (VSSC 108)

Puyallup REC (Puyallup)(K 109A)

University Centers – North Puget Sound WSU (Everett) (GWH-365)

After finishing the Well-being Assessment (available through the portal), complete activities on the SmartHealth website to earn more points. If you reach 2,000 total points by September 30, 2016, you’ll qualify to receive a $125 wellness incentive for the 2017 Plan Year (if you meet PEBB eligibility requirements in January 2017). 

Act Now! If you complete your assessment by March 31, you will get an extra 100 points!

 You can learn more about SmartHealth by visiting the Human Resource Service’s website or contacting Human Resource Services with questions, or (509) 335-4521.

Bloomsday Announcement!

Bloomsday is just around the corner! This race has become a huge part of the Inland Northwest providing the opportunity to encourage fitness and a healthy lifestyle among employees while socially connecting with peers and colleagues.

Here are your campus participants:

Team College of Nursing (Corporate Cup)

  • Barb Richardson-Director of Interprofessional Education and Research
  • Sarah Griffith-Instructor with interests in School-health, community health, health promotion, preventative care
  • Demetrius-Abshire, Assistant Professor with interest in Obesity, cardiovascular disease risk factors, rural health
  • Ted Haskell-Fiscal Specialist
  • Alli Benjamin-Communications

Team Crimson (Corporate Cup)

  • Bart Brazier-IT
  • Kaitlin Wood–Pharmacy
  • Victor Bil –Pharmacy
  • Erika Fleck- COM
  • Mike McDonell- IREACH

Team Gray (Corporate Cup)

  • James Dalton-Spokane Campus Administration
  • John White-Pharmacy
  • Lori Maricle-Pharmacy
  • John Koberstein-COM
  • Mason Burley-CrimJ

Team Cougars (sponsored by the Wellness Collaborative, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and Spokane Human Resources)

  • Stephane Bisignani-College of Medicine
  • Erin Boland-Biomedical Sciences*
  • Anna Brown-Speech and Hearing Sciences*
  • Erin Brown-Information Technology
  • Megan Comito- College of Pharmacy
  • Danilo Da Silva-Information Technology
  • Breanne Denlinger – Nursing/ASWSU
  • Jonell Edlin-College of Medicine
  • Lindsey Friedly- College of Pharmacy
  • Bethany Fruci-Office of the Vice Chancellor*
  • Jessica Gerdes-College of Medicine*
  • Katie Gilsdorf-Student Affairs
  • Lynn Howard-College of Medicine
  • Becki Meehan-Student Affairs*
  • Daren Noe-Information Technology
  • Kim Noe-College of Medicine
  • Shannon Panther- College of Pharmacy
  • Lisa Price-College of Pharmacy
  • Lauren Swineford-Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • Hayden Thrasher-Nutrition and Exercise Physiology
  • Jessica Torres-Human Resources
  • Lisa Tyran-College of Medicine
  • Bryan Valley-Information Technology

Team Cougars has 2 more spots available.  This is a first come first serve registration and open to all fitness levels, with the first two individuals to email Sign ups will include registration and WSU’s “It’s Our School” t-shirt. Bloomsday will also provide a completion t-shirt following the race. For more information please go to:

Come out and join this team effort as we show our support for WSU, our colleagues, and continue to foster a culture of wellness for the campus community.

Whether youre participating in the race, seeking to add more physical activity to your day, or just wanting a break to socialize with your colleagues please continue to join one of our FREE organized walking or running groups

Bethany Fruci on Thursdays at 4:45pm. Bethany will provide you with resources to increase your training for days you do not meet. Please email Bethany at:

Erin Boland on Wednesdays 12:30-12:50 started a walking group on 1/27 and will continue this throughout the months. Please email Erin at:

Time management: The clock is always ticking

By Michael Lynch, Electronic Media Producer, College of Nursing

There is a fallacy of time management: if you get more organized, you will get on top. Unfortunately, in our infinite world, where there is just too much to do we will never be able to get on top of everything. When we complete more tasks, more appear to take their place, and if we do more as a result of better managing our time, we don’t get it all done—we just become busier.

I’m sure you have all noticed that we now divide time into ever-smaller increments, scattering our attention across a thousand micro-activities. When we live like this we actually prevent ourselves from engaging an issue deeply or thinking properly. We prioritize the urgent and immediate, rather than the important and strategic, and we become more and more stressed out.

New studies show that our brains consciously do only one thing at a time. Multitasking is an oxymoron. When we think we’re multi-tasking, we’re actually context-switching. If we try to do many things at once, our working memory gums up and along with it our ability to move events into long term memory, where we can retrieve them, contemplate them, and use them. We don’t live in the era of assembly lines and repetitive tasks anymore and it’s time that management took a hard look at the way time is used and work with their employees to promote more thinking, creativity and problem solving rather than focusing on individual tasks.

Here is a quick tip from executive coach Joelle K. Jay:

The 5 D’s:

Whenever you have to complete some small task or action item–every time you have to get through a stack of email, voice mail messages, or a stack of paperwork, the 5 D’s are crucial. You will drastically cut the time you need to get through the stack.

Here are the 5 D’s and how you can use them to maximize your time:

Do it means do it now. Use this for any task that takes fifteen minutes or less.

Delete it means there are some things that do not require your response. Just because someone sent you the message/document/suggestion doesn’t mean you have to reply. If an item doesn’t advance a relationship or achieve an important goal, get rid of it.

Delegate it means pass it on to someone else who can handle the job. They don’t have to do it better than you; they don’t even have to do it as well or as fast. They probably won’t. But unless it’s a top priority or specific result that only you can deliver, you’re not the right person. Pass it on. This is not a game of hot potato. It’s a way of reorganizing work so the right people do the appropriate jobs for maximum efficiency and results.

Decide on it means no more moving items from one stack to another, telling yourself, “I’ll get back to that.” Will you attend the meeting or won’t you? Will you agree to that request or won’t you? Make a decision. Move on.

Date it means that you get to choose when you will give big-ticket items your undivided time and attention. Figure out how much time you need and block it out in your schedule. You can forget about it until then.

To put this into practice, trying writing a mini-version of the 5 Ds on a sticky note and put it near a stack of papers, projects, emails or administrative tasks. Set aside some time to tackle the tasks using the 5 Ds. Notice how they cut down the time it takes to finish the tasks.


What is your love language?

Wellness Wednesday Tip: As people, we crave friendships and personal connections. When we are able to build these types of relationships with others, especially in the work place we become more engaged and dedicated to our organization; simply enjoying our time spent at work more. This week, devote a few extra minutes getting to know and building a relationship with a fellow co-worker.

The Five Love Languages written by Gary D. Chapman explores the different ways in which love is expressed and received and how to both understand and speak to an individuals love language to develop a better relationship. Chapman’s love languages can be applied to all relationship types whether personal or work related and can help create deeper more meaningful connections.

» More …

Sign up for free staff Bloomsday training

After nearly four decades, Bloomsday has worked its way into the fabric of life in the Inland Northwest. Participating is a great way to encourage fitness and a healthy lifestyle among employees while socially participating with peers and colleagues. This is open to all fitness levels: runners, walkers, wheelchairs, assisted wheelchairs and strollers. Sunday, May 1 is race day, with more than 40,000 people participating on a 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) course.

» More …

Alertness and Mood across the Seasons

Wellness Wednesday Tip: Getting enough sleep during the night greatly effects the functionality of our body and consequently our mood. If you have trouble falling asleep, create a “toolbox” or list of bedtime rituals that can help you relax should you find yourself restless before bed. For example: do light stretches, take a warm bath, listen to soft music, read a book, visualize a peaceful and restful place, or practice slow and deep breathing.

» More …

The Scoop on Workspace Ergonomics

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY TIPTake 5 minutes of each hour to stand up and stretch. Whether its taking a walk to the bathroom, or filling up your water bottle, giving your body routine breaks can have great benefits. Adding this small practice in your daily routine to relieve pressure in your joints and stretch your muscles can greatly improve overall physical and occupational wellness.

» More …