Buckeye Wellness Innovator Funding Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Buckeye Wellness Innovators funding awards.

The Ohio State University chief wellness officer, Bernadette Melnyk, is pleased to provide additional support to our Buckeye Wellness Innovators, who are in a unique position to positively influence the wellness culture and environment of their department or unit. Planning health and wellness activities is part of the Buckeye Wellness Innovator role. Funding is available each year to innovators who develop new programs, plan activities and encourage wellness awareness for their colleagues. Nearly 30 proposals were awarded, with funding ranging from $200 to $500, which included activities such as increasing physical wellness, enhancing healthy eating and improving emotional health in Ohio State faculty and staff. Buckeye Wellness Innovators are recognized at the Annual State of Health and Wellness event held each spring.

College of Pharmacy

Applicants: Emily Keeler, Jim McAuley, Joy Scott, Liz Trolli

Buckeye Wellness Innovator grant funds will be used to support our fresh fruit snack program, purchase sports equipment that can be checked out to use in between meetings, classes, or after work and purchase transportation for group wellness outings. Additionally, funds will be used to purchase raffle prizes for participating in wellness activities throughout the year.

College of Optometry

Applicants: Ashley Hill, Rachel Childress

We would like to use this grant to provide food, snacks, smoothies, coffee, Keurig K-Cups, etc. to increase the number of staff, faculty and student attendees at events and activities we host. For example, we host monthly wellness walks and have experienced low participation. We would like to incentivize people to join us by providing coffee or Keurig K-Cups on our Coffee Break walks or a smoothie after the walk, etc.

John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Applicants: Brittney Miller, Whitney Brown, Andrea Garringer, Jill Clark, Hongtao Yi, Julie Maurer, Ryan Mitchell

The John Glenn College of Public Affairs Wellness Council is seeking $500 to purchase an exercise bike desk station for Page Hall to promote physical activity among faculty and staff while working. We believe installing an exercise bike would further enhance the culture of wellness and set a new standard for physical activity in the college.

Office of Human Resources

Applicants: Megan Daniel, Jill Langhals, Amy Logar, Lyndsie Otto

We would like to use the funding to enhance our Fun Fridays and TailGateway programs. Fun Fridays provide a relaxing environment, once a month, for employees to step away from their desks and engage in creative, stress-free activities, such as puzzles or coloring. TailGateway is an annually reoccurring potluck at the start of the football season, featuring healthy spins on traditional tailgate snacks. With the gift of the BWI funds, we plan to gauge and increase participation in our events by offering incentives for attending, such as healthy snacks and wellness-related giveaways.

Sports Medicine

Applicants: Preston Stoller, Meghan Hubbell

Our proposal involves encouraging healthy food choices in the workplace, mainly when our entire staff has congregated in a meeting setting. Our aims are to encourage continued adoption of healthy food choices through consistent variety throughout the year and to educate the value of adding appropriate snacks to improve total servings/day for long term health.

Marion Campus

Applicant: Leigh Gribble

Our goal is to create a casual atmosphere for faculty and staff to join in monthly “healthy chat’s, walks, games, etc.” The funds for this grant will cover the food/beverages. I would also like to use the funds to bring the Health Athlete Workshop to our campus again for the end-of-the-year session. I am requesting $500 and the dean of the Marion campus will match the grant money received.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Applicants: Caitlin Golec, Michael Lee, Susan Krumm

Our goal is to broaden the diverse faculty and staff we serve by doing more inclusive, enjoyable and beneficial activities. Buckeye Wellness Innovator grant funds will aid in increasing physical activity, promoting healthy eating and providing resources to improve and maintain the health of our faculty, staff and graduate students. Instead of concentrating on losing weight, as we’ve done in the past, we plan to host a series of workshops and luncheons, and plan physical activities during and after work with healthy snacks at the end.

Comprehensive Cancer Center

Applicants: Leslie Davidson, Jessica Kohlschmidt

There is currently no space outside of one’s cubical for staff to exercise, stretch, do yoga or meditate. To promote physical activity, spiritual and emotional wellness among our staff, we would like to convert an empty office space into a wellness room. The innovator grant of $500 would aid us in purchasing the treadmill desk for the space.

James Patient Access Services

Applicants: Cheryl Jackson, Andreea Burden and Courtney Mustric

We want to educate and promote healthy living in James Patient Access Service at Martha Morehouse by focusing on several Dimensions of Wellness. We plan on implementing a Total Mind-Body Journey within the course of one year by holding quarterly healthy luncheons for our 45 employees. We will have a Health and Wellness professional who will educate and inspire on the Dimensions of Wellness such as: emotional, spiritual, physical and social.

College of Arts and Sciences

Applicant: Jill Klimpel

I am requesting to receive funding for a wellness and self-development program called, The Educator’s Retreat. This is a 10 hour, three-day innovative and experiential program that provides participants with tools to enhance their mental and physical well-being and efficiently manage stress using the tools of meditation, yoga and breathing techniques. Participants also engage in interactive programs that enhance leadership, resilience and team building skills. At the end of the retreat, participants are given a take-home breathing practice, as well as access to weekly follow-up sessions with a trained instructor.


Applicants: Jared Thompson, Michelle Snodgrass, Amy Murch, Brian Brown

Most IT staff spend long hours sitting during the workday, whether working on PCs in their work area or in multiple meetings each day. Previous step challenges have been popular in the department, due to their competitive nature, and this proposal would expand on that by bringing a group of staff together to complete a local run/walk event, Run for the Health of It. If awarded, the requested funding would be used to cover the event registration fees for approximately 18 participants.

James Clinical Resource Unit

Applicants: Ron Holgado

My proposal is to purchase a 45’ gym class parachute to reignite the childhood joy that was experienced during our days of elementary school. This parachute will be used as a way to facilitate conversation for self-care and focus on several of the nine dimensions of wellness, focusing on emotional, physical, spiritual and social.

WMC Transition Services

Applicant: Shannon Prince

Many times, we find ourselves purchasing the same items from the grocery store because we are unsure of how to prepare meals with items we don’t have much knowledge of. Our Buckeye Wellness proposal addresses those hesitations by introducing unique, healthy items and how to best prepare them for a healthy, nutritious meal. A few ideas our office has come up with to implement in this proposal is to have a monthly new fruit/veggie tasting and/or sponsor monthly cook-off events using only healthy ingredients. These two ideas are great ways to try new healthy options and also create an environment for the Nisonger staff to bond with one another.

21 James

Applicant: Emily Chase

To engage staff members in a community-based health initiative that celebrates and fosters healthy connections across workplace and home communities, Share the Health will use small incentives to encourage staff members on James 21 to share their favorite healthy foods and activities with their coworkers, families and friends. Funding will be invested in a pool of gift cards. To be eligible for a prize, staff members on 21 James can either provide staff with a healthy snack or meal, participate in a healthy activity with fellow staff members or initiate a challenge.

Department of Plastic Surgery

Applicant: Stacey Siebert

The purpose of my request is to conduct three wellness activities (fall, winter and spring) that include:

  • Lunch & Learn- Health & Wellness Game Show featuring challenges, activities and trivia.
  • Smoothie Clinic- Provide blenders and foods for staff to create their own smoothies.
  • Lunch & Learn- Feature a trainer to host a desk stretching session and discuss basic goals that pertain to a variety of people’s activity levels. Having events like these promote camaraderie within the department and shows staff we are dedicated to health and wellness at work.
Ross Heart Hospital, Anesthesiology

Applicants: Antolin Flores, Ravi Tripathi

The RossFit program is a grassroots effort to increase wellness among employees in three main areas:

  1. active living,
  2. healthy eating
  3. and emotional wellbeing.

The foundation of the program is a wellness challenge that will run for 12 weeks and include a pre/post well-being survey. Funds requested will support the web-based application to collect challenge points and award prizes for the winning team (10 members).

WMC Ambulatory, Gahanna

Applicant: Karen Robison

The purpose of my project is to facilitate increased water consumption and healthy snacking during the day 1x/week. Our staff always seems to be in a better mood and more energized when we have snacks in the clinic, and we are best suited with healthy snacks. As physical, occupational and speech therapists, we are very active throughout the day which increases appetite and thirst.  We are requesting $500 to be used on pitchers for infused water, fruit for the water pitchers and healthy snacks.