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University of Virginia: A Winning Culture of Health

In Charlottesville, Virginia, school pride runs deep. Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia continues to build on the school’s impressive academic and athletic legacies. Wellness Program Manager Shana Pack and Wellness Program Coordinator Erin Erickson understand that UVa pride is a powerful asset in their efforts to help more than 13,000 university employees improve their health and well-being. Their health and wellness program, Hoo’s Well, makes great use of key elements of UVa culture, most notably by getting the employees of every level visibly involved.

On March 11th, at the Conference Board 16th Annual Employee Health Care Conference in New York City, Shana and Erin joined Shawn Moore, SVP of Consumer Engagement Solutions, ActiveHealth, to share their success story in building a strong culture of health to drive employee engagement. Here are three key takeaways from their inspiring presentation:

1. Get leadership on board and involved: Whether they are using pictures of UVa leaders in their program campaigns or inviting the popular basketball coach to promote biometric screenings, Shana and Erin are constantly finding ways to get visible and influential people involved and reinforce their support throughout the program. 

2. Lean on internal partners and advocates: Find the departments, vendors and key people within your organization that can support program goals. Shana and Erin have built strong relationship with multiple internal partners to support different initiative, like collaborating with the dining vendor to promote healthier choices in the cafeterias.  They have also nurtured more than 200 wellness champions to help at the grass-roots level – people that are natural leaders and can be cheerleaders for the program.

3. Build your brandand have fun with it: The Hoo’s Well brand is synonymous with wellness at UVa thanks to the efforts of Shana and Erin to promote the program everywhere possible. Every component is branded, and special initiatives or challenges become extensions of the brand, such as the tobacco cessation program

named Hoo’s Kicking It? Ongoing strategic communication are big part of brand building for the program, and Shana and Erin also look to social media for additional (and free) brand “surround sound.” The Hoo’s Well program Facebook page and Twitter are a popular way for people to engage and leave feedback or share their success stories – which in turn helps evolve and strengthen the program for future success. 

Check out the to learn more about this amazing program that is generating excitement and enthusiasm for better health around the UVa campus.

Want to learn more about how to build a healthy culture? Take the first step with our quick online assessment and or visit to learn more. Also, visit our section to view white papers and additional research reports centered around better health.

Picture (Left to right): Shana Pack, Wellness Program Manager, UVA; Shawn Moore, SVP of Consumer Engagement Solutions, ActiveHealth Management; and Erin Erickson, Wellness Coordinator, UVA