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Miami highlights comprehensive health initiatives

From belly dancing and tai-chi to core and yoga, Miami University offers a wide variety of classes and programs for their employees.

Cassie Wilson, assistant director for Employee Wellness at Miami, knows all about these programs. The Employee Wellness Center services the 5,000 employees at Miami University, as well as any spouses that receive the university's health insurance. The department's focus is on encouraging active living, healthy eating and preventative health, decreasing diabetes among its employees and promoting a tobacco-free campus.

A lot of the programs the department offers for employees are free. "Fitness for Life" is one of their biggest programs, offering faculty and staff the opportunity to attend a variety of free group fitness classes. Wilson herself is a certified yoga instructor and the permanent substitute teacher for all of the classes.

Wilson is a strong believer of maintaining overall health, viewing it as an important component of self-care.

"People need to put themselves first because work is always going to be there and there's always going to be more work to do," Wilson said. "But if they put themselves first, then they can approach that work from a better state of mind holistically, where they can concentrate better, be less reactive, more creative, more able to focus."

The Employee Wellness Center also offers free personal trainers and free counseling. By offering opportunities to improve personal health, the department helps more than 2,000 of its total employees save on health insurance premiums.

Miami also offers many well-being programs for students on their campuses. The focus, however, is a bit different than its employee programming. Two distinct areas that student well-being addresses are alcohol and sexual abuse prevention. Nevertheless, there is a shared focus on promoting mental health, physical health and tobacco-free living among student and employee well-being initiatives.

Stress-less Week, currently ongoing, exemplifies the overlap. Both employees and students are welcome to attend the events, which are primarily free fitness classes. The entire week is designed to help increase awareness of ways to manage stress and anxiety and to improve emotional health of those in the community.

Unrelegated to specific events, Miami students are always able improve personal health by enjoying Miami's Rec Center, intramural sports, Late-Night Miami events, healthy dining hall options and more.

With all of these options for students and employees, there are many ways to be healthy on Miami's campus. These options have been available for a long time but have recently become the subject of additional attention.

Claire Wagner, director of University News and Communications, shared that the Crawfords have been a huge reason for the increased coverage of Miami's well-being programs. Health and overall well-being is a focus of the presidential family -- the couple is often seen walking around campus with their dog Ivy or hosting monthly workouts at their house.

When University News and Communications started working with Student Affairs and Employee Wellness in January 2018, noticeable changes in coverage started taking place.

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One of these changes is a new web page, launched a few weeks ago, that consolidates all of Miami's health initiatives and programming in one place at The goal of this website is to serve as a central location for current and incoming students and employees to learn about the many health and well-being programs Miami offers.

Over the next few months, this increased coverage of Miami's health and well-being initiatives will continue.

"There's so many good health stories out there, that's one of the reasons we're doing this. Let's just get it out there," said Wagner.