Personalized Employee Wellness in the Spotlight

Kent State University staff wellness program provides award-winning support

Kent State University employees create and provide high-quality academics for students. They spend their days putting students first, academically and personally. But who is taking care of them? Luckily, the Kent State Employee Wellness program has been working to provide physical, mental and emotional support to faculty and staff for years. And it’s definitely being recognized.

Students participating in Hip Hop Yoga

The wellness program’s partners include an employee assistance program, a physician-owned wellness partner and collaborative relationships across each campus to create an environment that supports employees’ well-being. For example, the wellness program provides a wellness activity board for employees, WeightWatchers programs, mental health support through IMPACT Solutions and health services like screenings and vaccines.  

Madison Mariola

“We do events such as in-person events group exercise classes, webinars, and we partner with outside vendors as well as local community vendors like University Hospitals,” Madison Massey, coordinator of Employee Wellness and Health Promotion, said.  

Massey said the team works hard to understand employees and their needs first, so that events and other activities are effective and lead towards well-being goals. 

“We’re taking care of our employees, so they can take care of the business of Kent State,” Sheba Marshall, executive director of Employee Wellness and Health Promotion, said.  

The program wants to show prospective students and staff that Kent State is a healthy campus, and all the dots connect to benefit the university as a whole.  

With the creation of the new Division of People, Culture and Belonging at Kent State, more opportunities for growth in the wellness program have emerged.  

“I’ve been looking at our program through a completely new lens in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Massey said.  

Sheba Marshall

The program strives to include every aspect of wellness and be able to provide diverse services to the Kent community.  

“One thing we focus on is the culture of kindness and respect that Dr. Diacon talks about at Kent State,” Marshall said.  

According to Massey, the program had a goal to revamp the wellness program and include Kent State’s values to see where they could hone in on employee needs and better serve the employee community. These changes have been recognized externally, resulting in numerous awards. Recently Kent State received a silver from the American Heart Association for Workforce Wellbeing, a gold award for the Healthy Worksite award and the Exercise is Medicine award honoring the Kent Campus team, including two students.

Massey said the team had to answer around 100 questions about health on campus ranging from nutrition options to opportunities for people who are breastfeeding. The questions were focused on the entire campus and required Massey to share the challenges the program overcomes to ensure employees are being better served.  

The wellness program matches employee wants and needs, these awards demonstrate that. The awards also confirm that Kent State can offer things like accessible walking paths and diverse options for exercise, accommodating to everyone.  

employees spinning at rec and play day 2018

Massey said that when people think of awards, it is not a direct recognition of the program, it represents the success of the university.  

“I wanted these awards, so we could give it back to the community,” Massey said. “We're doing this for Kent State.”  

Learn more about Employee Wellness at Kent State.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 12:15 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024 06:04 PM
Macy Rosen, Flash Communications