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 this June
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

Soar into wellness: June opportunities

stock image of people touching each others hands in a team huddleWant to get outside and move more during the day? Looking to build connection and camaraderie with your co-workers? If so, then starting a walking/running/rolling group may be just what you need!  Getting out and moving with a group will add socialization and motivation while building physical activity into your day.

This summer, we encourage you to tap into the power of connectedness while gaining all the benefits of movement. All groups have a chance to earn a prize for each member!

June 5 — July 14

Calling all movers: getting started

Scheduling a movement group into your work week is a great way to increase your daily physical activity and stay motivated to move. Consider these questions as you round up your squad! Please note: only one person needs to begin registration to get your group signed up.

  • Who will be in your group? Spread the word and recruit members! Do you want a name for your group?
  • What length of time will you get out and move? What route will you take?
  • When will you meet? (tips: create a teams group, have a recurring calendar invite, set a reminder to have your sneakers)
  • Where will you meet? Do you have an indoor alternative?
  • Why? Why not? Have some fun!  🙂
  • How often you will move together?

Keep in mind: flexibility will be needed to accommodate weather, work schedules, illness or other factors that may arise. If you’ve recruited a lot of people, consider breaking into smaller groups (perhaps based on fitness level, fitness goals, availability, etc).

Start my squad!

Making strides: earning a prize

Though the main prize will be camaraderie, unity of purpose, physical fitness and positivity, a little added prize never hurts! Upon program completion*, two movement groups will be randomly selected for each group member to choose their own prize. During the week of July 14, all groups that have completed registration will receive an end-of-program survey. Once the surveys and other criteria* are completed, your group will be entered into the prize drawing! The prize drawing will be on Thursday, July 20.

*Completion includes:

  • all group members completing the end-of-program survey
  • a total of miles or minutes of movement reported
  • a group picture (or 2!)
  • a group testimonial

picture of a map, 2 rolled up maps and a skeleton keyGet outdoors, move more and earn points to be entered to win some great prizes! This is an eight-destination, self-paced scavenger hunt inspired by works of art on the University’s North Campus (with a bonus destination). What a fun way to keep moving this summer while exploring the beautiful campus!

Faculty and staff can participate in the hunt solo or form a team! There will be random prize drawings for solo and team hunters.

June 5-30

It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Seek out any or all of the eight scavenger hunt destinations across campus – Use the art on campus map to help you locate the works of art and learn a little about each.
  2. At each destination, either snap a pic of yourself/your team with the work of art or hold up your name marker [PDF]* and snap a pic! You/your team will receive one entry per work of art you submit a photo.
    1. *If you’d rather not be in a photo for submission, simply print and cut the eight destinations, write your name/team name on each, then hold it up and show in the photo while you snap a pic of the work of art.
  3. Once you’ve sought out the works of art, submit your hunt completion survey. Submissions are due by Monday, June 30 to be entered for prizes.
    1. There will be a random drawing on Wednesday, July 5 for three solo winners and one team winner.
    2. A team captain can submit your challenge completion survey (note: all team member names must be listed and share a testimonial on the survey).

Bonus: If you seek out and snap a pic with the tree of 40 fruits, you will earn three extra prize entries!

tree of 40 fruits

Join in on the hunt!

the word offline written on a card and placed in green grass with a yellow flower

Technology is here to stay and the digital world is an important piece of our lives. While we cannot totally cut technology and social media out of our life, we can be mindful of our digital consumption and create more enjoyable online experiences.

Join this three-week challenge to distance yourself from technology and engrain powerful habits to help you better manage your screen time now and into the future!

June 12-July 2

You will receive a quick read email on the Monday of each week (June 12, 19, 26) with a printable checklist for that week’s tasks. There will be multiple tasks listed with a minimum number to choose to complete. Work the tasks into your schedule so they feel less of a chore and more like something you are excited to do! To close out the challenge, you will receive a final email (Wednesday, July 5) to complete an evaluation and share your final thoughts.

Let's unplug!

Just for fun..or to report in for a prize! Check your screen time at the beginning of the challenge, then again at the end of the challenge to see the difference!

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

Stress Check-in: Try a “Don’t Do” List to Manage Stress (Tuesday, June 6, 2-2:30 p.m.)

You probably know the benefits of a daily “To Do” list, but have you ever considered a “Don’t Do” list? Join this support group for ideas and discussion on how to be intentional in changing your behavior to reduce stress.

Being an Ally to LGBTQ+ People (Tuesday, June 13, noon-1 p.m.)

What does being an ally mean? You may have questions about how you can better support the LGBTQ+ community, or what LGBTQ+ even stands for. Join this training if you care about someone who is LGBTQ+ and are looking to find ways to show your support.

Caregiving Check-in: Adapting Expectations as Loved Ones Age (Thursday, June 15, 4-4:30 p.m.)

As your loved ones age, their physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities will change. An important aspect of caregiving during this period is adapting your expectations. Join this group for support on reframing situations, repeating empowering affirmations, and using thought-stopping practices.

Parenting Check-In: Enjoying Time with Your Child (Wednesday, June 21, 2-2:30 p.m.)

Spending time having fun with your child helps with bonding throughout their childhood and young adult years. During this session, we will discuss the importance of prioritizing time with your child, and exchange ideas on how to engage with children in a meaningful way—even while juggling a busy schedule.

Grief and Loss Check-in: Grief and Loss During Times of Change (Tuesday, June 27, 4-4:30 p.m.)

Our lives are filled with situations where life as we know it changes. This can be a change at work, such as a new position or retirement. A change in relationships such as getting married or divorced. Or a change in health after a recent diagnosis. When these situations happen, it’s common to experience loss—and even grief. Join this moderated support group for ideas on how to cope during times of change.

Play together: 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.

Take action: Behavior change programs

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.

Fall workshop dates: TBD

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
  • weekly viewing of recording by Gail and/or Kim
  • weekly 45-minute virtual session to discuss the reading and  share how it’s going
  • recommended workbook pages to complete
  • **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 March 6 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).

Microsoft Teams group discussions:

  • TBD
  • Noon—12:45 p.m.

In-person discussion/luncheon


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 weeks  (March 15 through April 19) for a total of $60
  • Semi-weekly paid employees agree to have $20 deducted after taxes from three paychecks (March 15 through April 14), 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 six 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:

  • Understand why diets don’t work for most people
  • 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.

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!