University Wellness Leadership Awards


The University Wellness Leadership Award is given to a chair, dean, vice president and manager or supervisor who supports health and wellness activities in their respective unit. Individuals are nominated by their colleagues based on their efforts to create a culture and environment surrounding health and wellness. Recipients are rewarded funds to implement future health and wellness endeavors.

The Buckeye Wellness Innovator (BWI) of the Year awards are intended to recognize Ohio State faculty and staff who are actively creating a culture and environment of health and wellness in their workplace. This is achieved by planning innovative wellness programs, effectively promoting university wellness resources and motivating colleagues to lead healthier lives. The awards also recognize health promotion projects whose success is a result of the creativity and energy of Buckeye Wellness Innovators within the department.

The Chief Wellness Officer presents these awards at the annual State of Health and Wellness Address in Buckeye Nation to recognize individuals who help to enhance the culture of wellness at the university.

2022 Recipients

University Executive Leadership Awardees

Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President & Provost, Office of Academic Affairs

As a physician, Dr. Gilliam understands the importance of wellness throughout her career. Given our current times, she makes it a priority to be physically active at home and in the office. Within OAA, she supports the efforts of the BWIs in their Wellness Culture Committee, which provide staff members the opportunities to engage in wellness throughout the workday. Recently, Dr. Gilliam incorporated wellness into the Academic Plan to help faculty, staff and students be at their best at Ohio State.


Mary Ranz Calhoun, President and CEO, The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Molly has supported initiatives to enhance the wellness of Ohio State Alumni. She helped to promote Stay Calm and Well throughout her alumni communication to help alumni be resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She continues to support the BWIs within Alumni Relations to promote wellness in the workplace. These BWIs developed the S.H.I.N.E. (Support, Health, Inspiration, Nutrition, Exercise) framework that aligns their wellness initiatives throughout the workplace and the Buckeye community. 


University and Medical Center Manager/Supervisor Awardees

Stacie Gecse, MBOE RHIA​​ -Director, Wexner Medical Center, Health Information Systems

Stacie, nominated by Jennifer Smith, encourages HW in her department through various modes. Staff have mental health buddies assigned to each other, and they check in with each other week. Many meetings are encouraged to be outside, which includes walking meetings, of course. The group has team initiatives/events, which are all included in discussions pertaining to team goals. Stacie helps staff feel like they are important, that they matter, and that their well-being is important. Additionally, Stacie grants requests for flex work arrangements and/or allows telecommuting. She promotes flexible work arrangement policies and/or allows for flexible workday start/end times. Overall, Stacie encourages a healthy work-life balance.  


Beth Gilbert, BSN, RN - Assistant Manager, James Cancer Hospital

Beth, nominated by Amy Rettig, pays attention to and cares for the professional development of people in their first job. She supports financial well-being and wellness team approaches. Beth respects "first-job" staff and their learning needs for professional development. Beth supports emotional well-being care and creates opportunities for compassionate care among team members. Beth is supportive of her staff involved in YP4H challenges, EAP, and the B.E.S.T program.  


Gina Nicholson Kramer - Program Director, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Center for Foodborne Illness and Prevention

Gina, nominated by Ashley Cellar, often checks in on the mental health of staff and students, always willing to support staff and students with professional development, goal setting, job search, and deciding career direction. They even coordinated donations for a student who needed help. Gina shows genuine interest in what is going on in our lives outside of work. She includes staff in the Management Team decisions and encourages ideas and discussions about how to best run the team. Gina encourages meeting breaks, often brings in food for staff and encourages socializing while on meeting breaks. Gina empowers staff and makes everyone feel seen and heard. 


Sara Waugh - Director, Office of Academic Affairs - Admissions Systems and Document Imaging

Sara, nominated by Kris Dalton, walks the talk, actively participating by taking walks and playing tennis, encouraging others to join her. Sara has always been a BIG proponent of Health and Wellness, making it a safe place to bring up my own concerns to better my health. She not only gives space to have those discussions and helps me make better choices but promotes and encourages the programs OSU offers. Sara is a wonderful advocate, and I (Kris) am in better health because of her! 


Buckeye Wellness Innovators of the Year

Mary Wightman  

Mary's role as a BWI primarily supports the well-being efforts of approximately 56 individuals across East Hospital, from administrative leaders to clinical care teams. She leads weekly on-site wellness walks and donations to the Long Street Little Pantry. Mary supports OSUWMC’s veteran ERG donations requests, creates YP4H challenges and coordinates water happy hours & on-site lunches. Additionally, she highlights BESA volunteer opportunities, establishes teams and serves as team captain for local walks/runs, leads an annual green thumb plant exchange and constructs a curated list of wellness challenges that reflect all ten dimensions of wellness. 


Office of Administration and Planning Buckeye Wellness Innovator Team

The Office of Administration and Planning Buckeye Wellness Innovator (BWI) team highlights department BWI’s, goals, resources, and initiatives on their A&P website, in department emails, newsletters, digital signage and meetings to create awareness, excitement and interest in well-being, while promoting a culture of care for staff. They partner with multiple areas, including A&P Diversity Council, Office of Student Life, College of Engineering, and others on wellness events and activities to foster connections across campus. Individual A&P departments also schedule activities that support multiple dimensions of wellness. Whether it’s hopping on the Buckeye Wellness blender bike to make healthy smoothies, participating in the team standing or walking meetings, demonstrating proper breathing techniques, creating a wellness garden for staff to enjoy, joining a community walk or run together and more, A&P BWIs bring creative ideas and energy to the table to tailor activities for their departmental needs. 

Past Recipients


University Leadership Awardees

Jay Kasey, Senior Vice President, Office of Administration and Planning

Jay sets an example for Administration and Planning by prioritizing physical activity and healthy behaviors for all staff members. His staff has noticed this effort. To promote a culture of wellness, he holds virtual dialogue sessions with small groups of staff regarding diversity, inclusion and belonging. Jay’s efforts of supporting staff’s health and wellness have shown in the Employee Engagement Survey completed by A&P staff.  


Melissa Shivers, PhD, Senior Vice President, Office of Student Life

Dr. Melissa Shivers promotes the inclusion of both student and staff experiences within the Office of Student Life’s culture commitments and expectations regarding wellness. She believes that gratitude is key, with personal messages and a High Five Friday message to all team members celebrating accomplishments across the unit. Shivers encourages team members to designate an out-of-office point of contact to allow and encourage them to truly take time away. She has appointed a position within Student Life to coordinate all well-being initiatives within her unit.  


University and Medical Center Manager/Supervisor Awardees

Amanda Donahue - SpringForward Program Manager

Amanda has created a supportive environment for her team to discuss their personal wellness openly, honestly and discuss how it is impacted by their roles. She recognizes the impact that staff well-being has on her staff’s role at the university and supports each employee in engaging in wellness. Amanda hosts voluntary yoga lessons, painting parties and other social events to build team camaraderie. During the academic year, she created a wellness week for her program’s course curriculum that focuses on the nine dimensions of wellness.  


Hunter Jefferies - Nurse Manager

Hunter’s unit was a designated COVID-ICU for much of 2020 and 2021. He was a champion for our staff morale and well-being by frequently advertising wellness resources offered by the university such as the STAR program, EAP, the department of chaplaincy and Buckeye Paws. Hunter arranged for a unit-specific mindfulness session via Zoom that was well-received by the staff and helped them recognize and unpack their trauma. He has a regular habit of checking in with staff individually to see what they need and is always open if staff need someone to talk to. While experiencing the stress of the pandemic himself, Hunter selflessly supported his unit and made his staff feel appreciated and seen. As more staff members began to recognize their declining mental health, Hunter arranged for "peer processing" debrief sessions where staff could meet in small groups to share about our pandemic experiences amongst fellow coworkers, a counselor and the Buckeye Paws pups. In a crisis situation, Hunter is often outside the door to the patient's room offering support and help. Above all, Hunter does a great job of eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health by creating a safe space for staff to share concerns, validating emotions and connecting his team with valuable resources.   


Nadia Haque - Director of Intake & Investigations

Nadia walks the talk for wellness. She takes the initiative within her department to lead wellness competitions or YP4H challenges throughout the year. Nadia supports other managers’ wellness efforts by participating and encouraging her team to do so. Throughout the year, she brings in guest wellness presenters, allows for her staff to take wellness breaks and allows for her Buckeye Wellness Innovators to plan wellness activities to work time.  


Monica Lichi - Director of Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation

Monica continuously supports and encourages her staff’s wellness in both physical and mental capacities. She encourages her staff to become Buckeye Wellness Innovators, shares all wellness events and encourages staff to sign up for all the Ohio State wellness events. She reaches out to provide staff with services at staff meetings,  such as chair massages and has the Buckeye Paws support dogs come to staff meetings. Throughout the year, Monica has brought in numerous OSU EAP program speakers to discuss important mental and physical health topics. She organized virtual yoga and activities during COVID-19. Monica truly epitomizes what it means to be a manager that promotes overall well-being for herself and her staff. 


Buckeye Wellness Innovators of the Year

James Patient Experience – Dana Kitchin, Nitia Moseman, Tammy Alvoid. All Patient Representatives

Dana Kitchin, Nitia Moseman and Tammy Alvoid all work as Patient Representatives for James Patient Experience. These Buckeye Wellness Innovators work to create wellness programs that are inclusive of all shifts that their department covers so everyone can participate. Dana, Nitia and Tammy have developed a wellness break room, a wellness newsletter and the Take a Break series - that encourages colleagues to step away from their desks, play a fun activity and visit the wellness room.


Student Life Dining Services – Gina Forster (Assistant Director of Nutrition), Cara Chase (Staff Dietitian), and Annette Misenko (Assistant Director of Operations)

Gina Forster, Cara Chase and Annette Misenko work for Student Life Dining Services. To build community and encourage their colleagues to engage in physical activity, they decided to start wellness walks around campus with hydration stations along the way. These BWIs put together wellness bags for their staff to take home for the summer and started a monthly newsletter with events, tips and resources.

University Leadership Awardees

Gene Smith, University Athletic Director, Department of Athletics

Gene supported and championed the establishment of the Athletic & Business Advancement Department’s Buckeyes LIFT initiative for staff. He supports the Buckeye Wellness Innovators in the department of Athletics and Business Advancement to incorporate evidence-based strategies and programming to meet the wellness needs and interests of staff. Gene makes it a priority to remind his staff to make time in their day to get some exercise, and he continually stresses the importance of taking care of yourself with the resources our campus has to offer.

Rustin Moore, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine

Rustin established Be Well, which is The Ohio State University College of Veterinary of Medicine’s comprehensive and integrated health and well-being initiative for students, staff and faculty. He also created Be The Model™ strategic plan in partnership with Ohio State’s Chief Wellness Officer and Buckeye Wellness team. The program incorporates evidence-based approaches, outcome assessments and programming specific to academic and healthcare professionals and veterinary students. Rustin incorporated the Health Athlete and MINDSTRONG Programs throughout the entire college, and these programs reach first-year students, house officers and numerous faculty and staff. As a result of these initiatives, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Health Productivity Index improved by 7% in just one year!


University and Medical Center Manager/Supervisor Awardees

Adrienne Boggs, College of Education and Human Ecology

Adrienne supports a culture of health and wellness by leading by example. She makes work fun by laughing a lot and getting up and moving throughout the building while encouraging others to do the same. Adrienne encourages active work meetings with breaks for standing or stretching. If there is a meeting to attend on main campus, she will walk or encourage others to walk with her to the meeting instead of driving. She collaborates with other Buckeye Wellness Innovators in the building to bring activities to where we work, such as 10-minute chair massages or weekly yoga sessions that are held every Monday. Adrienne participates in university-sponsored wellness activities, and she encourages everyone to participate in sessions with her.

J.J. Kuczynski, PT, DPT, Acute Rehab Services, Wexner Medical Center

J.J. focuses on staff development, not just in support of professional skills, but also mentors and fosters interpersonal skill development. He makes it a priority to meet with his staff monthly to check in on how they are doing personally and professionally. He sends his team inspirational TED talks as food for thought and discussion during our meetings. J.J. is enthusiastic about anything related to wellness. He put up a whiteboard in the staff office so everyone communicates wellness related information and events. When he meets with staff, the meeting takes place either outside on a walk, riding side-by-side on stationary bikes or walking on the treadmill. He focuses a lot on expressing gratitude to the staff and emphasizes a shared workload to keep his staff healthy by avoiding burnout.

Laura J. Peterson, MPH, LPC, Health Coaching, Wexner Medical Center

Laura does a great job of creating a culture of health and wellness. She is a great supervisor who supports a healthy balance between work and home life. Staff is able to adjust work schedules based on client needs and programing. With work/life balance, Laura allows her staff to practice our own stress reduction techniques throughout the workday. If there are team celebrations, she supplies healthy treats. Also, if time allows and work is complete, Laura encourages staff to take wellness walks. She does a great job challenging her team to strive for professional development. She relishes in innovative ideas at work, such as creating physical activity programs and healthy snack options at events. Laura often checks in on her staff to discuss daily schedules, and she does an outstanding job delegating the workload among team members so that they remain balanced through busy times throughout the year.

Marsha Amlin, College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science

One of Marsha's best qualities is that she trusts her staff to do their jobs and empowers them to be the best versions of themselves they can be. Marsha is a big proponent of physical health. As the manager of front office support staff, she recognizes that her team is far more at risk for falling into an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle than other members of the staff. Marsha makes sure that any member of the staff who wants a standing desk will have access to one. She also is an active participant in the various challenges offered through Your Plan For Health (YP4H) and encourages her staff to take part as well.


Buckeye Wellness Innovators of the Year

Rashmi Ganith, Christina Sediqe, Poorvi Dalal, Marisha Goldsmith - Wexner Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine

As the division’s wellness officer, Dr. Rashmi Ganith leads Women in Hospital Medicine Nights, a program aimed at empowering women faculty and providing them with support to achieve their personal and career goals. She also brought faculty together during the pandemic through COVID-19 debrief sessions, providing a safe, comfortable space for faculty to debrief and problem-solve difficult patient cases. This program later led to the development of a mentorship committee.

Jay Smith, IT Manager, School of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences

Before Jay found the Buckeye Wellness Innovator (BWI) program, every day at work he would either skip lunch or surf the internet, sitting in the same stiff posture all day. After spending every workday like this for nine years, he realized he wanted to do something more meaningful than replaying the same uncomfortable day over and over. He collaborated with BWIs from across the university to create a free lunchtime yoga and meditation program at the 18th Avenue Library. This program impacts the lives of its participants, from helping them manage chronic conditions to bringing participants a sense of overall well-being. When the pandemic hit, Jay converted this program into a virtual format to provide Ohio State faculty and staff with a sense of normalcy and relaxation. He lives out an ayurvedic lifestyle that has helped him improve his eating habits, posture, sleep hygiene, meditation and self-care practices. His mission is to raise awareness about the self-care programs Ohio State offers, like meditation and yoga, among faculty and staff.

University Leadership Awardees

Kathleen Hatch, Executive Director, Office of Student Life Recreational Sports

Kathleen is a role model for health and wellness. She is active most days of the week and can be found swimming at the RPAC pools several times a week. Kathleen is always encouraging her staff and those around her to be active and to take care of themselves. She is a tremendous leader and is a great example of a “life in motion”.

Bill MacDonald, Dean and Director, Executive Dean of the Regional Campuses, The Ohio State University at Newark

Bill MacDonald has been an extraordinary role model and advocates for health and wellness. Every year, Bill leads the kickoff lap for the Hit the Road with the Buckeyes initiative, leading dozens of faculty and staff on an invigorating walk around campus. He advocated for new water filling stations in place of old drinking fountains and standing work stations in place of stationary desks. Under his leadership, 10,000 square feet of maintenance and grounds workshops were renovated into a state-of-the-art recreation and fitness facility that is free to students, faculty and staff. Bill can often be found participating in walking meetings with his direct reports, and he has been known to join the Ohio State Newark ROTC cadets for their morning PT class. He is well-known throughout the local community for his involvement with Pelotonia, and he relishes in his role as Team Captain of Ohio State Newark’s peloton, Team Buckeye – Rolling for a Cure. Because of his passion for physical fitness and cancer research, more than 150 Newark Campus faculty, staff, alumni and friends have been involved with the Pelotonia as a rider, virtual rider or volunteer over the past 10 years. He also spearheaded a very committed student Pelotonia team, BSR – Team Buckeye: Newark. Bill truly strives to live every day with a healthy and positive attitude, and through his actions, he encourages others to do the same. Ohio State Newark is a healthier and more enjoyable place to work because of his commitment to health and wellness.


University Manager/Supervisor Awardees

Mary Wightman Manager, Quality & Patient Safety, OSUHE

Mary is actively involved in health and wellness. She does many things to support the wellness of those around her. Mary consistently supports our group with monthly newsletters, motivational challenges and calendar information. Her messages are packed full of information on all of the dimensions of wellness. Mary arranges pot lucks, surprises staff with notes of encouragement and treats, regularly arranges chair massages and fun activities, organizes a quarterly wellness breakfast/lunch, has brought in a health coach to teach stretching exercises, arranged a walk through the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory, and sets up a weekly 30-minute health walk when the weather is nice. She has an all-around positive attitude and friendly personality. Mary is an incredible wellness leader.


Prince Moody, Program Manager, Diversity and Health Initiatives, Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO)

Prince created and implemented a groundbreaking mental wellness program: Scarlet and Grit, that partners the Sports Psychology unit, Brain Performance and SASSO to deliver mental wellness support & information on coping skills to all 1,000 student-athletes. He is the lead advisor for peer educators who run multiple programs to support student-athletes. Their advising includes alcohol and drug prevention and sexual assault/sexual violence programming to their peers. During the football season he also championed the Scarlet & Gray Sober Tailgates to provide an alternative to tailgating with alcohol both for students and staff. He is an avid supporter of all forms of personal wellness and has been influential in supporting staff and students and leading by example. Prince has helped shift Ohio State’s culture on campus and in within SASSO in major ways. A true innovator.


Buckeye Wellness Innovators of the Year

Clinical Research Center - Kristen Heitman

In the spring of 2018, Kristen hosted an "H2O Happy Hour" that featured a variety of fruit and herb-infused water options along with a “build-your-own” beverage station. By showing her colleagues how they could quench their thirst with healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages, Kristen created an easily accessible opportunity for her colleagues to improve their calorie consumption without sacrificing taste. Attracting 47 participants, this "H2O Happy Hour" encouraged healthy hydration habits and provided time to foster connections with coworkers. Since inviting her to share her story at the January orientation, many BWIs have followed her example and implemented their own H2O Happy Hour.

By making preventing burnout and enhancing team cohesion the main focal point, Kristen wanted to provide a space her coworkers could relax and learn about effective coping mechanisms for handling stressful situations at work. She created a calming space for her colleagues to unwind by playing soothing music or meditations. In the space there were also adult coloring books, hand massages, healthy snacks and take-home exercises to effectively combat stress and activate the body’s natural relaxation response. Kristen attributes the success of these events to her coworkers as they provided ample feedback on their health and wellness interests, which fueled her sparks of inspiration.


Office of Human Resources - Megan Daniel, Christina Herrera, Jill Langhals, Amy Logar, Lyndsie Otto, Kayla Shawver

The BWIs from the Office of Human Resources kicked off football season with a bang. Their project, TailGateway, supplied coworkers with alternatives to unhealthy tailgate foods. They prepared several recipes that with some simple swaps, converted traditional tailgate fare into healthier game-day snacks. Coworkers sampled the delicious dishes and took home recipes to recreate these lighter snacks with their families.

In the spirit of making healthy choices the easy choice, they offered a quarterly Wellness Cart which delivered fresh fruits, Kind Bars and infused waters directly to the desks of their staff members. The friendly face-to-face interaction, the healthy afternoon pick-me-up and the take-home nutrition information that staff could share with their families and friends made this program a huge success.

Executive Leadership Recipients

Henry Mann, Dean, College of Pharmacy
Every year we sit down with Dr. Henry Mann to discuss how we are going to tackle wellness. He comes to the meeting with an open mind and new ideas. He has helped to bring items like fresh fruit to the front office, water filling stations in place of old drinking fountains, and is always happy to help when we ask. We can't do what we do without the leader at the top saying it's okay. We want to say thank you in a really big way for his support for wellness in the college of pharmacy.

Jim McAuley, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, College of Pharmacy
As the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Jim McAuley has been a champion for wellness by leading. He helped to bring in a counselor so students have mental health support. He has worked on studies to show the effects of the wellness effort within the college. He leads a collaborative group that brings students and faculty/staff together to jointly work on wellness as a group instead of separately. Jim is actively engaged in and leading wellness events and is supportive of others within the college with their wellness goals. Jim is a role model for leadership engaging in wellness.

Dr. Gregory Rose, Dean and Director for The Ohio State University at Marion
Greg Rose is incredibly supportive of the health and wellness  initiatives on our campus and visible in doing so.  Each autumn, he leads the kickoff lap for the Hit the Road with the Buckeyes and each day he can be found working behind his "standing desk".  Greg often confers with the campus Wellness Innovators and last year matched the wellness grant money that we received to allow for more wellness programming. He is a strong advocate of sustainability and participates in community Earth Day events by joining local high school students in an environmental clean-up walk.  Greg has been supportive in providing employees with sit/stand stations when they express interest in obtaining one.  He encouraged and help to fund the Health Athlete Program, which was facilitated on the Marion campus. Greg strives to live everyday with a healthy and positive attitude.  He is a but strong leader who cares about and fosters well-being for members of his campus community.

Supervisor/Manager Leadership Recipients

Karen Sharp is the Director Information Technology Clinical Applications at the Wexner Medical Center. She participates in many wellness activities and encourages colleagues to participate as well. She is a great advocate for work/life balance, including a work/life balance goal on her team's P3. Karen focuses on the team's physical and emotional wellness, encouraging biometric screenings, the annual flu shot, and inviting us to join in activities that she is participating in or that comes to her attention. Karen has planning team activities. Such as a puppy day, team healthy lunches, team building retreats, individual recognition at team meetings, and team walks.

Megan Dugan is a Senior Project Manager in the Office of Enrollment Services, and has been a strong and tireless advocate for wellness from her very first day in the office.  Not only was she instrumental in establishing a "Health Hub" in the Student Academic Services Building -- a room featuring a walkstation desk, inspirational reading, and even space for a little yoga -- but she also schedules walking meetings, and works to ensure that everyone on her staff strives for work-life balance.  She is deeply committed to principles of health and wellness and, in her role as a Buckeye Wellness Innovator, is always supportive of activities  that provide fun options to employees.  She demonstrates daily her concern for her staff members as people, and Enrollment Services is a more balanced, enjoyable place to work as a result.

Megan has the knowledge of a healthy lifestyle, lives a healthy lifestyle, and is able to have a positive impact on everyone around her.

Mary Kerr works as an executive assistant in the College of Education and Human Ecology. She exemplifies an excellent role model for health and wellness. She is a Buckeye Wellness Innovator. She participates in the activities that are offered in the Y4PH and last year lead her team to a first place finish of the scarlet and gray team challenge. Mary rides her bike to work every day if the weather permits, even if it is raining and she has done this for many years. She often walks as part of her lunch time. She is a member of the Faculty/Staff Fitness Program. Mary is a cheerleader to others as they work to attain their goal to better health. She gently nudges us to take walks outside and to take care of ourselves. She is a champion for wellness.

Raphael Malbrue is a doctor of veterinary medicine and Director of the Large Animal Medicine and Surgery department. Raphael initiated a wellness committee in our department, communicates regularly with staff on wellness opportunities and encourages wellness by planning outside of work social events, so we all can have fun together. Raphael is a great wellness role model.

Executive Leadership Recipients

Damon E. Jaggers, Vice Provost and Director, University Libraries

Supervisor/Manager Leadership Recipients

Tony McCabe, Wexner Medical Center

Jenny Meddles, Wexner Medical Center

Executive Leadership Recipients

Trevor Brown, PhD, Dean, John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Supervisor/Manager Leadership Recipients

Matt Boland, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Wexner Medical Center

Michele Carr, College of Dentistry

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