Workshops and Programs

Health and well-being is a life-long journey

The Syracuse University Wellness Initiative offers a variety of health and well-being workshops and programs to faculty and staff. Our workshops and programs allow you the flexibility to choose your own way to well-being, focusing on the goals that are most important to you. We are committed to supporting an environment that helps you be your healthiest, best self.

If you require accommodations to fully participate in any wellness program, please contact us at or 315.443.5472 two weeks prior to the scheduled date.

Soar into wellness
Flock of birds soaring in the sunset
Run a department  challenge
Multiple hands giving each other a high five
Join behavior change programs
stock photo depicting your mindset leads to your goals

Oct. wellness opportunities

coffee mug that has a sticky note saying Flu shot! on it with fruit blurred in the backgroundSyracuse University has continued its partnership with Wegmans Pharmacy to offer free flu vaccines to faculty and staff. They will be immunizing with the quadrivalent flu vaccine to protect against four strains of influenza viruses. There will also be limited doses of the senior vaccine.

Appointments are required. Please note: the scheduling tool only shows clinics within the next 30 days; so check back to schedule!

Schedule my flu vaccine appointment

How to begin scheduling after clicking the above link

  1. Read the Use Agreement and click I agree.
  2. Choose Schedule appointment.
  3. Enter your First name/Last name/Date of Birth and click Continue.
  4. Enter 13244 for the Zip Code and click Continue.
  5. Click Vaccines. Then, checkmark Flu Vaccine (2-64), click Continue.
  6. Click Select Location on the flu vaccine clinic of your choosing.
  7. Select the date to confirm, then select a time.
  8. Click Yes to schedule your appointment.
  9. Enter your demographic information (optionally checkmark to receive text messages about your appointment) and click Continue.

Upcoming flu clinic schedule

  • Thursday, Oct. 5 — 304ABC Schine Student Center  — 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25 — Kimmel Dining Hall, 311 Waverly Avenue — 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

*Please bring a valid Syracuse University I.D. to receive your vaccine. If you are a temporary employee without an ID, you may show an alternate picture ID).

Parking information

For North Campus clinics, parking will be available at the Irving Ave Garage and Comstock Ave Garage. Please let the attendant know that you are getting your flu vaccine. For South Campus clinic, parking at or near the Skybarn is available.

During World Menopause Month, let’s talk about it openly. It’s a normal, natural part of the aging process—every woman will go through it!  You may feel like celebrating it, or maybe you don’t feel quite ready.  Many women have common questions and concerns about menopause and how it will impact them.

Join Angel L. Kerney, M.D., Board Certified OB/GYN & Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Medical Director, during this 45-minute webinar to learn more about this next stage of life.  She will review the various stages of menopause, common symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep issues, and provide practical tips to help you better manage the journey!  There will be time at the end for questions with Dr. Kerney.

Wednesday, Oct. 11
Noon-12:45 p.m. (the last 15 minutes is an optional Q&A)

Register for webinar

Head shot of Dr KerneyDr. Kerney is a Board Certified Obstetrician Gynecologist and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  She earned a Doctorate in Medicine from the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse.  She completed her internship at the University Hospital @ Stony Brook, NY and completed her OBGYN Residency Training at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. She has served as an Attending Physician at Highland Hospital in Rochester, NY for many years.   She was owner and CEO of Angel L. Kerney, MD., LLC which was an OBGYN solo private practice for the next 12 years.   She then served as a travelling OBGYN Hospitalist Physician throughout New York State in Niskayuna, Utica, Jamestown, and Binghamton, NY for over 11 years.   

Since 2021, Dr. Kerney has been employed at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield where she is Medical Director of Utilization Management for the Commercial line of business.  Her special interests within Excellus BCBS include, Quality of Care, Maternal Health Equity, the Federal Employee Program and the Special Investigations Unit.  She has participated in print media as well as multiple speaking engagement as an Excellus Medical Director.  She has participated in local radio programs, speaking within the organization on various topics, and will be a speaker on the upcoming PBS “Cycle of Health” program. 

Dr. Kerney has served as the Chairperson of Health for the Great Lakes Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where her duties included lecturing yearly to thousands of women on various health care topics.  She was a certified trainer and lecturer for several Pharmaceutical Companies and lectured throughout the east coast on Vaginal and Implantable contraception for many years.  Dr. Kerney is also an Expert Legal Witness for a law firm in Rochester, NY where she has resided for the past 28 years.  Her absolute passion is global travel and she has travelled to every continent, except Antarctica, and her next journey is Japan and South Korea later this year.

trainer demonstrating cpr on mannequinCPR Saves Lives!

Join the American Heart Association for Hands-Only CPR training (non-certifying). Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to people at any time, anywhere. Every second counts; those experiencing cardiac arrest must be treated immediately. If CPR is performed immediately, it can double or triple the chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. This is why CPR training is so important.

Learning the basics can be empowering and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed in an emergency situation.

Register for Thursday, Oct. 12 (11 a.m.-Noon or 12:30-1:30 p.m.). 500 Hall of Languages.

Register for Friday, Oct. 27 (10:30-11:30 a.m. or Noon-1 p.m.). 500 Hall of Languages.

Parking will be available at the University Ave, Irving Ave and Comstock Ave Garage. Please let the attendant know that you attended a CPR class.

Stock photo of a male flexing while viewing his spineMovement often seems like the simplest thing in the world. Our bodies are designed to run, jump and manipulate objects. But how often are you performing everyday activities and tasks with proper biomechanics and body positioning to help protect your back?

Join Certified Athletic Trainer and Wellbeing Engagement Consultant from Excellus BCBS, Katie Keller-Burgess, for this engaging 45-minute back care session. During this session, we will discuss common back injuries and review practical applications that you can implement into your daily routine to help “stack your back” and make it strong! There will be time at the end for questions with Katie.

Tuesday, Oct. 17
Noon-12:45 (the last 15 minutes is an optional Q&A)
500 Hall of Languages

Register for Stack Your Back

Head shot of Katie Keller-Burgess

Katie has worked as a Wellbeing Engagement Consultant at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for close to five years and has over 11 years of corporate wellness experience. In her role with Excellus BCBS, she supports organizations in designing, executing, and evaluating workplace wellness strategies to impact employee health and engagement.

Katie has a Master’s in Science in Athletic Training from West Virginia University with a concentration in Nutrition.  She has been a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) since 2010, with the primary focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation.  She also held a Personal Training Certification for a number of years.  She is certified Worksite Wellness Practitioner through Wellness Councils of America as well, a nationally accredited wellness organization.

Watch AIH info session (7-minutes)

Am I Hungry? logoAIH is a non-diet, weight-neutral approach that empowers individuals to take charge of their decisions about eating, physical activity, health and self-care.  AIH is a comprehensive mindful eating program that guides participants to reconnect with their physical signals to guide when, what, and how much to eat without restrictive diet rules and recognize and cope with their triggers for overeating.

This six-week interactive group program for faculty and staff will be conducted in a group setting via Microsoft Teams (with the final session being in person). The focus is to help individuals break out of emotional eating cycles using practical, doable strategies.

Read about staff member Kristi Vega’s experience with the program last fall.

Oct. 19-Nov. 30 (no class Nov. 23)

Join Am I Hungry?

The Am I Hungry® Mindful Eating Program is a six-week commitment that includes:

  • weekly reading of chapters in Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat/completion of recommended workbook pages*
  • weekly viewing of recordings by Gail and/or Kim
  • five weekly 45-minute virtual sessions to discuss the reading and  share how it’s going
  • one in-person celebration at the end of the five weeks

*Each participant receives the Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat book and workbook with enrollment into the program.

You can choose to commit as much time as you would like but to get the full benefit of the program, it is most beneficial to include the reading and workbook.

*All participants will need to plan a time for the week of Oct. 9 to stop at 621 Skytop Road, Suite 1001.  At this time, you will pick up your materials and complete the payroll deduction form (if you didn’t complete it online).

Group discussions:

  • Thursdays, Oct. 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9 and 16
  • Noon—12:45 p.m.
  • Microsoft Teams

In-person celebration:

  • Thursday, Nov. 30
  • Noon—12:45 p.m.
  • 204 Maxwell Hall

There are three components to AIH

Think: It is what really differentiates AIH from all other programs as it gives participants the skills and tools to create change on the inside first, so the changes made on the outside will last. Participants are guided through the discovery of the mindful eating cycles. This decision-making tool helps them develop greater awareness and improve their ability to make effective choices around six key decision points:

  • Why do I eat?
  • When do I feel like eating?
  • What do I choose to eat?
  • How do I eat?
  • How much do I eat?
  • Where do I invest my energy?

Nourish: The nourish component provides nutrition education without rigid, unsustainable rules. Participants learn to approach food selection from an “all foods fit” perspective, focusing on meeting the body’s nutritional needs through balance, variety and moderation.

Live: The live component of AIH inspires participants to rediscover joy and vitality in physical activity and integrate activity into their daily lives in a satisfying, sustainable way. Live takes a small steps approach to physical fitness, focusing on realistic changes and overcoming internal resistance and external barriers to exercise.

The standard cost of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program is $100.


All participants enrolled in the program will contribute $60 via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $10 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for six paychecks  (Oct. 25 through Nov. 29) for a total of $60
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $20 deducted after taxes from three paychecks (Oct. 31 through Nov. 30), for a total of $60


You will receive full reimbursement of $60 via payroll if you fulfill the following:

  • complete the pre-and post-eating cycle assessment
  • attend four of the five 45-minute Teams sessions
  • complete the post-program evaluation

Throughout the program, trained Am I Hungry?® facilitators, Gail Grozalis and Kim DeStefano will guide participants to:

  • Be in charge of their eating, instead of feeling a lack of control
  • Consistently eat the foods they love without guilt or overeating
  • Learn how to balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment
  • End mindless, emotional eating
  • Restructure thinking from good and bad foods

According to Michelle May, M.D., founder of Am I Hungry?® and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, “Most diets fail because they are negative and unsustainable, leaving the dieter feeling guilty and disappointed. Diets focus on what people should eat without addressing why they eat in the first place. As a result, the overeating cycle is never really broken. Am I Hungry?® is an inside-out approach to eating and self-care that focuses on changing thoughts and feelings first, so changes in behaviors will last.”

Although participants are not given rigid rules to follow, a study of 229 participants showed improved self-efficacy, significantly increased activity, more healthful eating, and gradual weight loss by a majority of the participants. 90% completed the program and nearly all said they would recommend it.

Embark on a journey to discover the impact of mindful living. This interactive series delves into the art of being fully present, cultivating self-awareness and embracing a more conscious mindset.

Join Courtney Chase, owner of Sky Yoga Studios, to explore mindfulness practices and their applications in everyday life. Over the course of four weeks, we’ll tune into various ways to bring mindfulness into everyday life. Each session will cover a new topic and will be open to engaging conversation to identify areas for implementation. Learn practical exercises and discover how they can reduce stress and build authentic connections with others and most importantly, with ourselves.

Mondays, Oct. 23, 30, Nov. 6 and 13
Noon-12:30 p.m.
via Microsoft Teams

Register for the series

Awareness. Mindful Breathing. Gratitude. Compassion.

Whether you are new to mindfulness or an experienced practitioner, this series offers something for everyone, giving you tools to utilize every day. Embrace the art of being present in every moment.

No previous experience is necessary and individuals of all backgrounds and abilities are warmly welcomed.

Join Carebridge and each month for a variety of virtual workshops designed with you in mind. For additional tips and resources on important WorkLife topics, bookmark the CarebridgeCONNECTS page.

Nurture Your Child’s Authenticity (Tuesday, Oct. 3, 3:30 p.m.)

Whether you are raising a child, tween, or teen, helping them to practice and learn self-validation is important. During this session, we will discuss skills to increase your child’s awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and responses in almost any circumstance.

Managing Strong Emotions (Thursday, Oct. 5, 1 p.m.)

Strong emotions are inevitable. This webinar goes beyond identifying emotions to help us manage and control ourselves when all of our buttons have been pushed. We need real strategies to enable us to say and do the right thing. We will share state-of-the-art techniques that will ensure you will keep your cool.

Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD (Tuesday, Oct. 10, 1 p.m.)

This webinar provides a general overview of ADD/ADHD, including testing and diagnosis. The session will also go over treatment options for ADD/ADHD as well as strategies for success.

Retirement & Estate Planning (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m.)

This webinar will provide you with strategies for creating a successful retirement and estate plan. The information will help you to assess your current financial situation, set retirement goals and provide helpful resources for investment.

Tap to Relieve Stress (Thursday, Oct. 12, 3 p.m.)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping is a holistic practice that is easy to learn and produces relief within minutes. Anyone struggling with stress or anxiety can benefit from this experiential session.

Strategies to Manage Anxiety, Fear & Stress (Tuesday, Oct. 17, Noon)

Feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress can be caused by a difficult personal situation, world event, or for no reason at all. Join this webinar to learn how prioritizing your mental health and learning healthy coping tools can help you manage these feelings.

The Sandwich Generation (Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m.)

This webinar offers ideas on how to bring the generations together – activities, programs and even virtual travel help your younger and older loved ones explore the emotional and physical health benefits of intergenerational quality time.

Common Grief Experiences (Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2:30 p.m.)

Grief looks and feels different for everybody. No matter how much experience you have with grief, it can seem different with each loss. During this session, we will focus on common grief experiences and tips for coping.

Understanding a Multigenerational Workforce (Thursday, Oct. 19, 1 p.m.)

There are four diverse generations in today’s workplace. This webinar will help you communicate with all coworkers, regardless of age. We will identify generational differences, how to eliminate stereotypes and custom-fit your communication style.

Resiliency for Working Parents (Wednesday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.)

Today’s working parent needs to build resiliency in order to prevent burnout. This webinar will give you the tools to manage stress while maintaining a sense of work and family life balance.

Building in Daily Movement (Thursday, Oct. 26, 1 p.m.)

This webinar explores the benefits of exercise, the role of attitude and goals on success, the components of a well-rounded workout, eating well and workouts that can be done during your workday.

Depression and Older Adults (Thursday, Oct. 26, 2 p.m.)

While most older adults do not experience depression, many do. During this session, we will discuss how physical health, isolation, and loss can contribute to depression in elders and teach you tangible ways to assist them.

Nov. wellness opportunities sneak peek (registration to open in late Oct.)

stock photo of female with painted nails writing in journalTap into gratitude and build a daily journaling habit that shifts your mindset and improves your overall well-being! Learn about the positive effects of gratitude on your mental, emotional and physical wellness – all backed by scientific research. Experience guided meditations to calm your nervous system and set the stage for accessing one of Tiffany’s “five facets of gratitude” with a specially chosen prompt.

Get support, tips and accountability from the group to help you establish a gratitude practice you’ll stick with long after the series ends! Have your “Get With Gratitude” journal* with you at each session.

*You will receive a welcome kit with two Get With Gratitude journals and a pen. Each session will be live on Zoom; a replay link will be sent to you after each session. The recording will be available for one week (with no downloading).

Wednesdays. Nov. 8, 15, 22, 29, Dec. 6, 13 and 20
noon-12:30 p.m.
via Zoom

Tiffany Lord is a corporate yoga coach and founder of Love + Asana, a virtual wellness studio focused on movement and mindfulness for stress management and improved mobility. Her fun, approachable style makes classes feel like you’re hanging out with friends while finding calm in chaos!

She is an E-RYT and Continuing Education Provider with the Yoga Alliance, as well as a 500-hour Therapeutic Specialist with Yoga Medicine. Continuing education in relaxation techniques, myofascial release, yoga for COVID-19 recovery and training as a massage therapist help make her sessions relevant and beneficial to clients who want simple movement and mindfulness techniques that improve their quality of life. Her articles on wellness through yoga have been featured in online and print publications, such as fyi50+ and CO Yoga + Life magazine.

stock photo of young fitness woman jumping ropeIn our childhood years, we thought of the jump rope as nothing more than a toy. But as we’ve grown older, it’s developed a new purpose. What was once used for fun is now intentionally used for exercise! Of course, we still think it’s fun, but as far as jumping rope for exercise goes, it’s one heck of a workout!

Jump for Joy is a 10-day jump rope challenge that will bring you back to your childhood while also giving you a routine to follow that will offer a number of benefits!  How long has it been since you’ve jumped rope? Join us via Microsoft Team to get started!

Nov. 9-22

What you’ll need: You will need a jump rope, of course! All participants will receive a jump rope from the wellness team. You’ll also need an interval timer–the timer on your phone will work perfectly!

What you’ll do: Jump and rest for the amount of time specified for each day for 10 days. Continue with that pattern until you reach the designated time limit for that day!

This high-intensity activity offers a number of benefits worth noting, including but not limited to:

  • Improved cardiovascular health and endurance
  • Enhanced mood and mental health
  • Stronger lower body
  • Better coordination and balance
  • Increased bone density

A bonus benefit of jumping rope is the fact that if you have to (or just want to), you can do it inside! A cold/rainy/snowy day can’t stop you– you can get your cardio session done indoors. And what makes this form of exercise even better is that it’s F-U-N! Revert to your childhood and perform this exciting challenge with a colleague or two! 

stock image of people touching each others hands in a team huddleGive thanks for a little friendly competition. Take a mental health break and gather your co-workers for another round of virtual department trivia!

Teams will be quizzed on topics from sports to history to pop culture, with the top team taking home the trophy (and bragging rights, of course). Get together in person or set up a Teams/Zoom meeting to chat and discuss answers; trivia will be hosted virtually by Syracuse Trivia. Check out the complete details and get your team registered today!

Monday, Nov. 20
Noon-12:45 p.m. (questions begin at 12:15 p.m.)

  1. Assemble your team members that will be playing (there is no team size limit) and coordinate a way you can all communicate the day of:
    • Come up with a team name (can be your department name, if you’d like).
    • Though the trivia game will be hosted virtually, you can enjoy some social connections and plan to get your team together in person.  Book and room and have a luncheon!
    • If you aren’t able to get everyone together in person, you can set up a team Zoom meeting to stay connected and discuss answers.
  2. Choose a team captain to register you (please ensure only one person is registering your department). After clicking submit to register, the team captain will receive an email with:
    •  a link to a google sheet and instructions on how to add your team and team members to it.
    • the links needed to participate in the event—please share with your team.

Reg. button


  • All questions are multiple-choice and the faster a player answers the more points they will receive if they get it right.
  • There will be five questions per round, and then the standings will be updated


  • Team scores are an average of their players’ scores (everyone who signs in to answer).
    • Note: Having more players doesn’t award more points.
  • The faster a correct answer is submitted, the more available points the player earns. The more points a player earns, the higher their team’s average score will be.
    • Note: Not answering questions or getting questions wrong equals zero points.
  • Questions in round 1 are worth a maximum of 100 points if answered correctly in the first second, but as the 20 seconds to answer goes by, correct answers are worth less, 95 points, then 90, then 85 etc. until the time is up and there are 0 points available.
    • Note: getting it right in the last second will only earn you 5 points.
  • Every round we kick up the maximum points available for correct answers. Example: questions in round 2 are worth 200 points (still with 20 seconds to answer).
  • Everyone who signs in to answer questions will have an individual score which is used to create an average team score.

There are two digital parts to the event:

  1. The broadcast: The game will be broadcast live via the link provided to your team captain. It is not essential that everyone be able to see this broadcast to play, but it makes the game easier to follow, helps build excitement and also there is a chat feature here where teams can communicate with the host.
    • In-person: This can be shared on a larger screen and has the game host on screen asking the questions, going over the answers, and sharing standings.
    •  Virtually: If you are meeting virtually, someone can “share a screen” of the broadcast on the video conference for all to see. Otherwise, each person can also watch on their own device.
  2. The question answering: as many team members as you’d like can submit an answer individually.
    • Phones or tablets are ideal for answering, but laptops work just fine, too.
    • Each teammate who will be answering will plug in their name and select a team from the drop-down menu.
    • Please see “Questions and scoring” for how scoring works.

Department-run challenges

Colorful array of fruits and vegetables

To get a full variety of vitamins and minerals, it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. There is no magic fruit or vegetable that contains it all and variety is, in general, the key to a healthy lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables of the same color often contain some similar nutrients. Therefore, it’s not only a fun challenge to eat the rainbow, but it’s also a good habit to build, to ensure well-balanced eating. It may also make you try new foods that you haven’t tried before. Experiment and have fun!

How does it work?

The Wellness Team will provide you with everything you need to successfully deliver a team nutrition challenge! This challenge is designed to have you eat different colors of fruit and vegetables every day! The beauty of this challenge is the dates and length are totally up to you. Steps to take:

  1. Email to receive the challenge email templates and fun ideas to provide colorful options for your department to eat the rainbow. (It is not necessary to provide options for all participants, just a fun way to participate more as a team).
  2. Select the length of time and dates you’d like to deliver the challenge.
  3. Send your department the “Reach for the Rainbow” email and have people register to participate.
  4. Send the total list of participants to
  5. The Wellness Team will get a challenge kit together for you to pick up. The challenge kit will include for each person: a tracking sheet, a postcard listing ideas for each color of fruit and vegetable, and some fresh fruit!

Have all participants Watch Eat the Rainbow! to learn the importance of variety, get tips for boosting your fruit and vegetable intake and see produce options in all colors.

Cultivate gratitude in the workplace

The workplace is one of the best places to practice gratitude. In addition to an increase in work performance, gratitude also helps improve employee health and well-being. A grateful attitude leads to a positive and happy mindset. Get your department started with the Gratitude Challenge!

The Wellness Team will provide you with everything you need to successfully deliver a team gratitude challenge! The challenge features 30 small, achievable goals to help you and your team express gratitude and better appreciate the little things in life. The beauty of this challenge is the dates and length are totally up to you.

Sign my department up!

Check out the challenge specifics

  • This gratitude challenge can be anywhere from 14 days to 21 days (your department chooses the dates and length).
  • Each department will receive a challenge kit from the Wellness Initiative with all necessary supplies.
  • The goal is for each participant to choose and complete at least one act of gratitude each day of the challenge. Participants check off each act of gratitude they accomplish.
  • Each department will receive a challenge kit, including:
    • One gratitude saying poster (sayings may vary)
    • One ‘Life must be lived as play’ poster
    • Positivity card packs
    • Thank you cards
    • Dove dark chocolates
    • Individual items for each participant: gratitude button, personal notepad (notepads may vary),  a list of 30 possible acts of gratitude
  • Each department organizer that completes all roles/responsibilities will receive a gratitude mug and notepad as a thank you gift!
  • Each department that completes the challenge will receive a gift bag of goodies to share!
  • Sign your team up to participate in the department challenge.
    • Choose a team organizer/(s) to deliver the challenge.
    • Choose the dates and length (be sure the start date is far enough away so there is time to pick up the challenge kit).
  • Send invitation email to all possible participants (give people a “join by date”).
  • Send an email to the Wellness Team with the complete participant list.
  • Pick up your department challenge kit from the Wellness Initiative. After pick up, dispense items to participants.
  • Begin the challenge and have fun with it!
  • At the end of the challenge,  send the Wellness Team the names and the total number of participants who completed the challenge.
  • Be sure all participants complete the program evaluation to fully complete the department challenge.
  • If the challenge is completed, pick up the post-program gift from the Wellness Initiative.

  • Send team organizer/(s) customizable invitation email template, as well as two “keep the momentum” going email templates.
  • Put together challenge kit:
    • Purchase challenge items for all participants on the department participant list.
    • Print materials needed to participate in and complete the challenge.
  • Schedule time for department organizer/(s) to pick up their department challenge kit.
  • Be available for any questions or assistance.
  • After receiving the completed list from the department, send all participants a post-program evaluation.
  • If the department meets all criteria for challenge completion, schedule a time for the department organizer to pick up their gift and the department gift.

Behavior change programs

Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a week over four months may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. It also shows that proper nutrition, particularly with sodium reduction, can help lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Syracuse University has continued its partnership with the YMCA of CNY to facilitate the BPSM for active benefits-eligible faculty and staff. This is an evidence-based program developed to support adults with hypertension in lowering and managing their blood pressure.

Watch the BPSM info session

Throughout the four months, the program focuses on practicing home self-monitoring of blood pressure readings, identifying triggers and adopting healthier eating habits to better manage high blood pressure.  Participants will:

  • Measure and record their blood pressure  at least two times per week
    • all participants will receive their own blood pressure cuff (included with the program) and receive instructions for proper use
  • Meet one-on-one each week with Stephanie Michaels via Microsoft Teams
  • Attend a 1-hour seminar each month in 204 Maxwell Hall:
    • TBD: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
    • TBD: Lowering Sodium Intake
    • TBD: Shopping, Preparing and Cooking Food for Better Blood Pressure Management
    • TBD: Heart Healthy Eating for Life

You must be an active benefits-eligible faculty and staff that:

  • is diagnosed with high blood pressure and/or are on antihypertensive medication
  • has not experienced a recent (within the last 12 months) cardiac event
  • does not have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias currently
  • does not have or are is at risk for lymphedema

The Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSM) will be delivered by Stephanie Michaels, a YMCA lifestyle coach trained in group facilitation beginning the week of Oct. 3 through the week of Jan. 30, 2023.

There is a maximum number of 12 participants. All persons that watch the info session, qualify and express interest will be placed on a list. Stephanie Michaels will contact everyone that expressed interest by Friday, Sept. 23 to confirm qualifying criteria are met.

Once you have been confirmed to be part of the BPSM program, you will need to:

  • Plan a time to stop by Skytop Office Building the week of Sept. 26 to:
    • Get your blood pressure cuff
    • Sign payroll deduction form and enrollment forms (can also be completed and emailed ahead of time)
    • Sign up for your weekly one-on-one time slot with Stephanie

The standard cost of the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring is $100.

All participants enrolled in this program will contribute $60 via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for a full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria as well as blood pressure submissions.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $5 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 12 pay periods (Oct. 12 through Dec. 28) for a total of $60.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $10 deducted after taxes from their paycheck for six pay periods  (Oct. 14 through Dec. 30) for a total of $60.

All participants enrolled in the BPSM have the opportunity to receive full reimbursement of payroll deductions ($60) by meeting the criteria below.

Here’s how it works!

Reimbursement #1

You will receive a $25 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 6 out of 8 of your personalized check-ins (weeks 1-8)
  • Take your BP a minimum of 2 times per week using your at-home cuff
  • Provide weekly BP log to YMCA facilitator

You will receive an additional $5 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 1 of the 2 monthly seminars

Reimbursement #2

You will receive a $25 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 6 out of 8 of your personalized check-ins (weeks 9-16)
  • Take your BP a minimum of 2 times per week using your at-home cuff
  • Provide weekly BP log to YMCA facilitator

You will receive an additional $5 reimbursement if you:

  • Attend 1 of the 2 monthly seminars

The above equals a total of $60 reimbursed.

Working together to prevent type 2 diabetes

Syracuse University continued its partnership with the YMCA of CNY to facilitate the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for active benefits-eligible faculty and staff. The DPP is a CDC-recognized, evidence-based lifestyle change program developed specifically to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. It is designed for adults who have prediabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but who do not already have diabetes.

This small-group program offers peer support while helping people eat healthier, increase their physical activity and lose weight.

Watch the DPP information session

Individuals who have already been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes do not qualify for this pilot program.

In order to qualify for the program, you must be at least 18 years old, overweight (BMI > 25) and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes indicated by a confirmatory blood value* or a clinical diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GDM) during a previous pregnancy. If a blood value or diagnosis is not available, a qualifying risk score** may be used to enroll.

  1. Must be an active benefits-eligible Syracuse University faculty or staff member.
  2. Prediabetes confirmed via one of three blood tests*:
    1. Fasting glucose = 100 -125mg/dl
    2. 2-hour post prandial glucose = 140- 199mg/dl
    3. HbA1C = 5.7% – 6.4%
  3. If no blood test, qualifying score (9 or higher) on an American Diabetes Association or CDC risk assessment**.

The DPP will be delivered by Stephanie Michaels, a YMCA lifestyle coach trained in group facilitation; Stephanie will transfer accountability to participants over the course of the year-long program.

Group: Tuesdays, noon – 1 p.m. Location: Hall of Languages, Room 500

There is a maximum number of 15 participants. Stephanie Michaels, the intake coordinator from the YMCA of Central New York will contact everyone that expressed interest by Friday, Sept. 30 to confirm qualifying criteria are met.

One-year commitment (26 one-hour sessions):

  • Orientation: Tuesday, Oct. 11
  • 16 consecutive weekly sessions: Tuesdays, Oct. 18—Feb. 14 (no session Nov. 22 or  Dec. 27).
  • Step down to 3 sessions every other week: Tuesdays, Feb. 21, March 7, March 21.
  • Step down to 6 sessions once per month: Tuesdays, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, Aug. 22 and Sept. 19.

Two data points (data is recorded in a HIPAA-compliant online tracking system) are collected from participants at each session: weight and minutes of physical activity.

Free YMCA family membership for the first 20 weeks of the program:

  • All enrolled participants will receive the YMCA family membership (more than a $300 value!).
  • The membership can be used at any of the six locations that are part of the YMCA of Central New York.

The standard cost of the National Diabetes Prevention Program is $429.

All participants enrolled in the DPP will contribute $200 to the DPP program via payroll deductions, but will have the opportunity for a full reimbursement by meeting the attendance criteria as well as weight and physical activity session submissions.

  • Weekly paid employees agree to have $5 per week deducted after taxes from their paycheck for 40 weeks (Oct. 19 through July 19, 2023) for a total of $200.
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $10 deducted after taxes from their paycheck, for 20 pay periods (Oct. 31 through Aug. 15, 2023) for a total of $200.

Reimbursement #1
Core Curriculum part 1: weekly sessions 1—8

Participants who attend a minimum of 6 of the first 8 one-hour core curriculum weekly sessions and submit their weight and physical activity minutes as required by the program, will receive a $40 reimbursement to their paycheck approximately 2 weeks after session 8.

Reimbursement #2
Core Curriculum part 2: weekly sessions 9—16

Participants who attend a minimum of 6 of the 8 one-hour core curriculum weekly part 2 sessions and submit their weight and physical activity minutes as required by the program, will receive a $40 reimbursement to their paycheck approximately 2 weeks after session 16.

Reimbursement #3
Post-Core Curriculum: sessions 17—20

Participants who attend a minimum of 3 of the 4 one-hour post-core curriculum sessions and submit their weight and physical activity minutes as required by the program, will receive a $40 reimbursement to their paycheck approximately 2 weeks after session 20.

Reimbursement #4
Post-Core Curriculum: sessions 21—25

Participants who attend a minimum of 3 of the 5 one-hour post-core curriculum sessions and submit their weight and physical activity minutes as required by the program, will receive a $80 reimbursement to their paycheck approximately 2 weeks after session 25.

To help ensure a healthy, productive, respectful environment in which to work, learn and live, Syracuse University became smoke- and tobacco-free on July 1, 2015.

Tobacco-Free Campus Website

Together, Human Resources, Carebridge and the Syracuse community offer a variety of tobacco cessation resources:

QuitSmart™ Mindfully

Discover a purpose-driven mindfulness solution to help you stop tobacco use.  QuitSmart™ Mindfully is a live, virtual, 10-session mindfulness program taught by an expert teacher. This program will help you build strategies to cope with cravings and address the emotions behind the addiction that keep you feeling stuck. This program includes free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, NRT (gum or patches).

*You must have an eM Life account through Carebridge to access this free program. Check out the steps to sign up.

Medical Benefits

Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Prescription Medication

If you are enrolled in the University’s health benefits coverage through SUBlue, SUOrange or SUPro, you and your enrolled family members are eligible to receive coverage at no cost to you for prescription drugs and FDA-approved over-the-counter products to help you quit tobacco. You will need a prescription from your physician (even for OTC products) and must fill the prescription with a participating pharmacist. Coverage is available at no copay for up to a 180-day supply of:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications (generic or store brand only)
    • Nicotine replacement gum, lozenge or patch
  • Prescription Medications
    • Bupropion sustained-release (generic Zyban) tablet
  • These three prescription medications are covered after you have tried one over-the-counter nicotine replacement product and bupropion sustained-release tablet separately:
    • Chantix tablet
    • Nicotrol inhaler
    • Nicotrol nasal spray

If you have any questions about this coverage, contact Optum Rx at the number on your member ID card.


The full suite of Carebridge’s comprehensive services and resources are available to all those eligible to participate in the University’s medical plan, including benefits-eligible faculty and staff, and their dependents. Call Carebridge at 1.800.437.0911 anytime to assist in tobacco cessation.

  • Information & Resources: Carebridge Wellness Resource Specialists will provide educational information and resources to help callers learn about preparing for and remaining tobacco free. Resources include community-based support as well as internet and phone-based support.
  • Telephonic Consultations: Carebridge provides short-term telephonic consultations with behavioral health clinicians and wellness coaches to assist individuals with cutting back or quitting their tobacco habit.
  • Counseling: Carebridge FSAP referrals are available for in-person counseling for tobacco dependence as well as co-morbid conditions such as stress, depression and anxiety.

Community Resources

If you are ready to quit smoking or using tobacco, there are a variety of resources in the community that have helped many smokers and tobacco users take that first step!