In the Office of Wellness and Integrative Health, inclusion of diverse frameworks and experiences actively leads us toward redefining health and wellbeing throughout the field of healthcare. We recognize the systemic disparities that exist in healthcare for historically underserved communities and we aim to reduce racism, classism, heterosexism, ableism and other forms of systemic bias through our programming.
Within our department, we are making efforts to reach, listen to, and support people of all backgrounds. The Wellness Bus’s goal is to provide accessible, high-quality healthcare services to communities that have been systematically overlooked. We warmly welcome anyone and everyone. And our Resiliency Center provides supportive resources specifically for BIPOC individuals facing racism, while also promoting the practice of allyship within our programs and institution.
We look forward to a bright future and recognize that our anti-racist work is just beginning. Our goal is to weave equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our work, amplify the voices of BIPOC experts, employees and community members, and expand our relationships to include more diverse leaders and audiences.
We know that our community is not well until everyone within our community is well. We know that Black Lives Matter and, therefore, Black Wellness Matters. Our goal is to affect the wellness in the community for the better and a community includes us all!
Anti-Racist Education Resources, BIPOC Support, and Involvement Opportunities
Our former graduate students have given us their feedback, advice, and experiences to help future students and those curious about our services.
Former Graduate Student Feedback
Rebecca Clyde (ESS MS class of 2016)
You do an incredible job allowing us to feel a part of something, to feel empowered to take responsibility for our future and learning, you provide a number of opportunities to learn and have experiences, and to be independent. Also, doing wellness & nutrition coaching through here & WellnessNow is totally pertinent to what we're learning in classes.
Amanda Bishop (ESS MS class of 2017)
Experiences I have through PEAK are so very relevant and very applicable to things related to Wellness Coaching. Learning how to connect with the individuals across the table and relay the information, then answer and guide them to find answers in their results or goals. Practicing this is the only way to improve this skill so that is very valuable.
Blake Densley, ACSM CEP (ESS MS - Exercise Phys. class of 2016)
The confidence that you have in me to be able to occasionally "wing it" has been the most growth-promoting experience of my working career thus far. Thank you for knowing I was capable of running the tests and seeking answers without supervision. Within the academic arena, I have had the blessing of being able to work on several projects affiliated with PEAK, from crunching the WellNow data to the UBar currently. These experiences are what I focus on with the development of my academic and career success in the future.
Leah Caroll (ESS MS class of 2017)
I have found the knowledge that comes with the day to day PEAK activities very helpful; mostly for increasing my confidence talking to people and sharing my knowledge. The PEAK experiences that have impacted my academic and personal growth the most are probably the personal training appointments which intimidate me greatly, but I think have helped me learn a lot about programming on the fly.
Melanie Ellis (HEDU MS class of 2017)
I feel the experiences that I have had through PEAK have broadened my knowledge past the classes I am taking in the HEDU degree. I feel that I am able to actually get applied knowledge at PEAK by doing the testing (BP, RMR, FA) and having the knowledge to explain the results is wonderful. I like teaching classes at URS, again it goes beyond the education I'm receiving in my classes but that is my favorite part about PEAK. I love the application process of knowledge, and I am able to do that through my assistantship. I love going out into the community doing the lunch and learns, and when I was able to do the little kid ski safety, which is community health/outreach. I would love if I had more of that "application" or "out in the community" engagement in my HEDU classes.
Cait Wilson - (PRT Doctoral Student)
A big breakthrough for me this year was presenting our leisure ed program at the last peak meeting. I think it was accepted well and generated great discussion. So thank you. A lot of the experiences/topics with the staff meetings involves office procedures as well which doesn't really pertain to us, YET :) I think once a leisure based workshop, and leisure assessments get implemented into your services offered the PRT research assistants will be better integrated into the PEAK office procedures and daily office life as they will have to schedule appointments, workshops and send out assessments.
Ashley Miller (MS Nutrition 2016)
I had a lot of other opportunities in my other nutrition rotations in the past to gain clinical skills, though I felt I was lacking in the counseling area. PEAK has been a perfect place to further develop those skills, because I'm able to meet with people one-on-one and talk through their nutrition concerns with them. I definitely feel like I am getting the opportunity to use what I am learning in class in my appointments and in the nutrition workshops.
I like being surrounded by people who have similar interests in health, and I like that we can have beneficial discussions where I am constantly learning from other co-workers in PEAK. I also like that I'm getting exercise refreshers by working here. Because I've been studying nutrition so exclusively that sometimes it’s easy to forget the info I already know. Also, I think the nutrition workshops have been beneficial to put together because it’s a good place for me to need to think on my feet. When you get a group of people together, they tend to come up with bizarre questions sometimes, so personally I have appreciated learning how to simplify topics and learn how to explain nutrition in a way that doesn't seem complicated to a group of people. I feel like nutrition information can be really basic, but learning how to communicate it effectively to people can be the most challenging. I have appreciated learning how to communicate it whether its in a power-point, one-on-one appointment, meal plan, or workshop.
Rebecca Moore – (MS Nutrition 2016)
I am learning to apply what I learn in teaching others. Each time I do a class, I get questions I wasn't expecting as well as the ones I prepared for. This allows me to think on my feet and find new ways to explain things to difference populations. Counseling at Ballet West also lets me apply my sports nutrition and motivational interviewing classes to good use.
Eric Finley (MS Nutrition 2016)
The experience is relevant to what I'm learning in classes because I'm able to use the nutrition knowledge we've learned to specifically apply to the counseling sessions. For example, if the student is looking to increase performance I can use my sports nutrition background. However, we do not get much counseling experience or education within the CMP itself. So I think the ability to be able to do it at The Life Center through PEAK has been extremely valuable. Being able to counsel over 75 students at The Life Center has certainly increased my comfort level with counseling and my communication skills. Doing the WellU workshops in the fall also helped me become comfortable leading a class and working with an older population.
Rachelle Ballard - MS Coaching Wellness class of 2015
I found that the practical application and the desire to truly create a lifestyle, whole-person mentality in their clientele to be something that resonated with me. I found that while I had classes and professors explain how to connect with people, PEAK was really my biggest opportunity to put my learning into action. Doing wellness coaching was an obvious avenue for that, but I found I wellness coached in every facet - bodpod explanation, RMR, personal training, etc.
The practical experience of working with a diverse group of people was HUGE. I would always recommend that each and every coaching wellness student has enough time in PEAK that they learn all the possible scenarios - bodpod, computer/data entry, RMR, personal training, wellness coaching, submax/physical tests, etc.
Annie Breneman - MS Coaching Wellness class of 2015
The most important skill I learned from PEAK was talking to various clients about how the results of their tests related to their wellness. It was so helpful in understanding the health and wellness material because we had to explain it to each client and apply the information to each individual's situation. Many of the fitness tests reveal very personal (and sometimes sensitive) information and it was so helpful to learn how explain results and give information to clients. The Health Coaching sessions allowed me to directly apply the material from our coursework, such as reflective listening, motivational interviewing, and teaching mindfulness techniques.
I learned so much from the people that I worked with at PEAK. The experience of being around them impacted my growth the most. PEAK surrounded me with people who cared, were excited about health and wellness knowledge, and were just fun to be around.
Kenzie Rowland - MS Coaching Wellness class of 2015
My position at peak allowed me to interact with clients on the routine basis and apply the coaching wellness tools I received through my degree. When clients would come in for bod pod testing or resting metabolic rate we got to discuss their results with them. These two tests can give people a base to start their wellness journey and if we are their first responders we can play an integral role in their wellness. I think PEAK could expand its clinic by offering wellness coaching to clients who are interested as another avenue for the wellness coaching students and for their clients.
I loved teaching group fitness classes through PEAK. I was able to hone my skills for group lessons and the feedback we received after every semester allowed me to fine tune my teaching. Lastly the mentoring and support Traci provides to her employees is valuable. When I graduated I knew I had a long time mentor and a go to advocate for my future.
Cassidy Wareing - MS Coaching Wellness class of 2014
PEAK was one of the best opportunities because it actually taught us real-world applications. Talking about the chemical mechanisms of Diabetes or weight management are fine, but in PEAK when you are face to face with a real person struggling with these issues who is lost, or upset, or resistant you have to think on your feet and truly learn how to meet that person where he is. I don't feel like you should tailor to the graduate program, I feel they should tailor to you in regards to learning how to apply that knowledge in the work force.
My favorite and most impactful experiences in PEAK were when I was working on outside projects, such as the police testing, teaching preschoolers about bones, and especially All About U. Kate and I love a challenge, and that is exactly what All About U was. It was a real program for a real company with real internal politics that we had to work with. I think the best thing it taught us was to get really creative and try anything. If something didn't work, we couldn't dwell on it because we had to go back the next day and try something else until it clicked. We learned that when you're working with real people, sometimes theory has to go out the window, and the best thing to do is just to listen to what they want and need. Without these types of experiences in PEAK, I would definitely be pulling my hair out a lot more now with my dealership guys. These projects in PEAK taught me to keep trying because you never know what is going to get through to somebody, and every single person needs something different, but they all just need to know that you are there.
Emily Riddle (MS Nutrition 2015)
I am very thankful for my PEAK experience. The RMRs, BodPods, nutrition consults, and group classes provided a wide range of experiences. I truly cannot think of another type of experience (that would be appropriate for the PEAK setting) that would have been beneficial or prepared me any better for what I do now. I think the site flexibility allows students to make it what they want it to be, and my experience was very positive. Finally, in my opinion, you certainly achieved your goal in providing a supportive environment during graduate school. It was wonderful to work at a site that provided such support and flexibility (allowing me to set my own hours and choose my own teaching topics). Working the hours that I did gave me the time to complete my research and other requirements in a timely manner.
Ashley Quadros, MS, RDN (MS Nutrition 2015)
With the BodPod I was able to have hands on experience with counseling as it relates to body fat and maintaining or building lean muscle mass. INutrition counseling was also extremely useful. In class we learned how to communicate to patients and how to structure sessions, and at PEAK I was able to put into practice. Finally, teaching classes has been very relevant in the workplace. I teach 2-3 classes per week and having prior experience was invaluable. I also really loved the journal club discussions at the weekly meetings. What always surprised me most about PEAK was the group culture and environment. Everyone was so thoughtful, intelligent, and kind. It was such a great space to work in and have meaningful discussions about the articles (and life in general!). I will always remember the respectful environment and try to channel that as I sit in meetings with my current work.
Emily Tieu, MS, RDN, CD (MS Nutrition 2014)
PEAK allowed me to put my one-on-one counseling skills into practice. In addition, I was able to apply the latest research to my consults and nutrition workshops. Being able to work individually with so many people of diverse backgrounds gave me further confidence in my nutrition communication skills. I also really loved that PEAK was a very supportive and flexible place that coincided well with the demanding graduate student's life.
Former Undergraduate Student Feedback
Matthew Woodcock (BS ESS class of 2014)
I felt that the PEAK was perfect in relation to ESS classes. This is mainly due to the ESS program being clinically focused, and since PEAK focuses on Fitness/Health testing I felt that PEAK and the overall ESS program complimented each other very well (PEAK was a good practical application of the theory learnt in ESS classes).
I enjoyed and valued any and all time in PEAK that was an interaction with a client as it helped me become more professional in terms of becoming comfortable with social interaction, the testing itself and also how to convey test results in the best way possible and how to evaluate them in order to make the test valuable to the client. The experience that was most valuable for me was the management of the personal training program, which, over the course of a semester helped improve my overall organization, and overall people skills through the medium of email and text, which was a far greater challenge than I had originally anticipated and has helped me become far more effective in almost every aspect of my life, both personal and professional.
Hannah Robbins (BS ESS class of 2014)
PEAK will always hold a special spot in my heart. I learned so much there. The experience I had in PEAK reflected perfectly what I was learning in class.
Travis Mitchell (BS ESS class of 2014)
The experience at PEAK was one of the best experiences for the Health and Wellness specialty, I am happy I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. It had a good variety with teaching classes, doing admin work such as emailing and dealing with clients and trainers, also learning body comp testing which is a great tool and experience to have. I really enjoyed all the aspects of my PEAK experience.
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