LeVine Wellness Spot Opens at SON

Nursing : News : Levine Wellness Spot Melissa LeVine and Gail Johnson in the LeVine Wellness Spot

School of Nursing employees now have a dedicated room in which to exercise and learn healthy habits. The LeVine Wellness Spot on the third floor of Carrington Hall officially opened with a kick-off luncheon and ribbon cutting on January 4.

Gail Johnson, an administrative support associate in the Family Health Faculty Division, had the idea for the Wellness Spot and was able to bring her idea to fruition thanks to funds that remained from a gift to the SON from Melissa LeVine in 2000. LeVine received her BSN from SON in 1977 and her MSN in 1981.

LeVine did not designate the specifics of the gift’s use as long it was applied to faculty and staff wellness. “As advocates of health care and of good health, we cannot ask our patients to do healthy things if we’re not doing it ourselves,” LeVine said. “My long range vision was that as the faculty and staff improve their healthy behaviors and health status it would make them more effective in communicating healthy behaviors with patients and that this would ripple out to the whole state of North Carolina.”

Video: Watch as Gail Johnson talks about activities for the Wellness Spot and Melissa Levine gives somes words of wisdom about exercising.

For the official opening, faculty and staff joined LeVine in enjoying a healthy salad bar, and then LeVine and Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor Kristen Swanson cut the ribbon to open the LeVine Wellness Spot.

Johnson has equipped the room with free weights, exercise balls, steppers and resistance bands, a large flat-screen TV, and a variety of exercise DVDs. Employees can even work out using Nintendo Wii video games. “I wanted to do something to help people who needed to learn healthy habits and how to prepare their foods,” she said.

After seeing the room, LeVine said that it lines up brilliantly with her vision. “The idea of a dedicated room is great. I glanced through the DVDs — there are many ways to get your heart-rate up and they are really fun,” she said.

The room will be open during typical work hours, with no reservations taken. “It is meant to be open and flexible, with as few rules as possible,” Johnson said. “The only scheduled activities will be instructor-led classes such as yoga or Zumba.”

Johnson will make use of the SON’s rich resources by organizing short 15 to 20 minute lectures from faculty. These talks will center around eating habits and the proper way to prepare foods. “There will even be cooking demonstrations in wellness room,” she said.

Team competitions with prizes will help get SON employees involved and add a fun factor to exercising. “We want to provide everyone with journals as well as tape measures so that they can track exercise, weight and inches lost,” Johnson said.

Although wellness programs and facilities exist at UNC, many of those programs have associated fees. The LeVine Wellness Spot and its programs will be free and are aimed specifically at meeting the needs of SON employees.

There will be even more to come. Johnson has plans to promote wellness by helping employees with smoking cessation and to purchase balance boards and kettle ball weights to add to the exercise equipment.

Gifts to the LeVine Wellness Fund are welcome. Contact Norma Hawthorne (Norma_Hawthorne@unc.edu) to make a donation.

See more pictures from the event on our Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unc_ch_son/sets/72157625747820934/