Workshops and Programs

Faculty and staff flu vaccine clinics begin in Sept.
Syracuse University has partnered 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.

CPR and AED Training (non-certified) coming in Oct.
The University has partnered with Crouse Health, Syracuse University Ambulance and the American Heart Association (AHA) to offer faculty and staff CPR and AED training opportunities.

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.

Take a look at the variety of wellness offerings below and don’t forget to subscribe to the wellness email list to receive the most up-to-date Wellness Initiative information (subscribe to the email list on the wellness homepage).

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: Attend monthly workshops and programs
 Play along: Participate in challenges and take monthly quizzes
Take action: Join behavior change programs

Soar into wellness: Attend monthly workshops and programs


Back in Balance: Learn the Alexander Technique Basics

A small group, interactive series to learn techniques personalized to you. Better back health can be achieved!

Thursdays. Oct. 20, 27, Nov. 3 and 10
Noon-12:30 p.m.
308 in the Barnes Center (the Meditation Room)

A supportive back is a vital component of our body’s balance, coordination, and overall flow. In this workshop, we will explore and embody simple, effective ways to find relief from tension and integrate dynamic support and balance in your back.

Join Kathy Miranda to learn a method called the Alexander Technique that helps people unlearn habits that are contributing to back pain. This four-week series focuses on enhanced awareness of current postures when sitting, standing, and walking and creating tiny habits that work toward ease of movement.

Registration coming soon. *10 people maximum

To Supplement or Not?: That is the Question

Chances are, you have walked down an aisle in the grocery store that is filled with dietary supplements. From multi-vitamins to probiotics to sleep aids, dietary supplements are everywhere! Ever wondered whether you (or your family) should take one? Join nutrition professor Dr. Jessica Garay to learn more about dietary supplements, including how they are regulated, and how to identify reputable brands.

Wednesday, Sept. 28
noon-12:45 p.m.
Hall of Languages, Room 500

Register for To Supplement or Not?

Fueling Young Athletes: Sports Nutrition 101

Healthy eating can be tricky for children, especially those who are on the move and busy with sports! Eating the right types of foods at the right time can help make sure they have enough energy to get through games and practices (not to mention school!). Hear from sports dietitian and nutrition professor Dr. Jessica Garay about simple but effective fueling strategies for child and teen athletes.

Wednesday, Oct. 19
noon-12:45 p.m.
Hall of Languages, Room 500

Register for Fueling Young Athletes

Don’t Get Your Back Bent Out of Shape

Thursday, Oct. 13
noon-12:45 p.m.
via Microsoft Teams

Strains, sprains and overuse injuries of the back can be a real pain… literally! Join Certified Athletic Trainer and Wellbeing Engagement Consultant from Excellus BCBS, Katie Keller-Burgess, for this engaging 45-minute back care webinar. During this presentation, we will discuss common ways back aches and pains occur, and you will learn practical ways to help protect your back through ergonomics, proper movement/positioning, and routine stretching. There will be time at the end for questions with Katie.

Interactive components will include:

  • a few flexibility tests to demonstrate how musculoskeletal compensations can occur
  • a short full-body stretching session to provide a proactive approach to back pain/disability
  • a demonstration (with props) of common tasks that many perform and how they can be done a little safer with proper positioning

Register for Don’t Get Your Back Bent Out of Shape

Head shot of Katie Keller-BurgessKatie has worked as a Wellbeing Engagement Consultant at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for close to 4 years but has over 10 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.

Alzheimer’s Awareness: Know What to Watch For

Wednesday, Nov. 16
noon-12:45 p.m.
via Microsoft Teams

Did you know November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness month? It is the perfect time to educate yourself and learn about this disease that affects more than 6.2 million Americans. Join Dr. Ankit Garg, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Vice President of Medical Affairs Retail Market, during this engaging 45-minute webinar to learn about what to watch for and signs to be aware of for yourself and loved ones as they age. There will be time at the end for questions with Dr. Garg.

Headshot Ankit Garg MDDr. Garg is Vice President Medical Affairs Retail Markets of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.  His responsibilities include planning, managing and executing strategic priorities for Retail Markets (including but not limited to Medicare Advantage).

Ankit began his career in 2010 at Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Garg joined Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in June 2022.  Previously, he served as Medicare Product Performance Medical Director at MVP, Medical Director of Patient Experience and Customer Relations at Rochester Regional Health and Lead Hospitalist and Physician Advisor at Johns Hopkins.

Serving the Rochester community, Ankit volunteers at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center and People’s Pantry and affiliated with American College of Healthcare Executives and American College of Physicians.

Dr. Garg earned a Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MD from University of Delhi and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine by ABIM.

Dr. Garg and his wife reside in Brighton, New York, and have 2 children.

Self-Care During the Holidays

Wednesday, Dec. 14
noon-12:45 p.m.
via Microsoft Teams

Don’t let the bustle of the year-end holiday season overwhelm you! While the holidays can bring joy to so many- they can also bring feelings of stress and anxiety. Join Dr. Stacey Elliott, Psychiatrist and Excellus BCBS Medical Director of Behavioral Health, during this engaging 45-minute webinar to learn about a variety of ways you can incorporate a little self-care during this holiday season! You’ll enjoy time spent with family and friends so much more when you put your own health first. There will be time at the end for questions with Dr. Elliott.

Headshot Stacey Elliot, MDDr. Elliott is an ABPN board-certified adult psychiatrist with board eligibility in addiction medicine. A native of the Finger Lakes, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine before completing an Adult Psychiatry residency at SUNY Upstate. Following residency, Dr. Elliott took a position as an attending psychiatrist at the Syracuse VA Medical Center and served as the lead psychiatrist for the Substance Treatment Services. She worked to formalize the Syracuse VAMC’s Medication Assisted Treatment program for opioid use disorder and in that capacity influenced a 15-fold increase in Suboxone-waivered providers within the local system. She is a certified buprenorphine-waiver trainer and remains passionate about expanding access to services for marginalized and vulnerable psychiatric populations.

In 2022, Dr. Elliott joined Excellus BCBS as their Behavioral Health Medical Director for Health & Recovery Plans under the Safety Net line of business. She retains a clinical appointment at the Syracuse VAMC and continues to support the ongoing MAT efforts. She also provides clinical supervision to Psychiatry residents from SUNY Upstate, where she is a voluntary faculty member.

Dr. Elliott currently lives in Liverpool, NY with her husband, young daughter and three dogs. She enjoys long-distance running, reading, meditation and interior design.

  1. Watch Heart-Healthy Cooking Demo: On the menu: “fried” rice—two ways and salmon in a snap!
  2. Watch Mindful Eating for Beginners: It’s not just about what we eat, it’s also how we eat!
  3. Watch Salads/Dressing Demo: Preparing dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients is delicious and healthy!
  4. Watch Plant-Powered Eating for Optimal Health: Improve overall health and boost energy levels!
  5. Watch Exercise is Medicine: What’s the Right Dose?: Figure out what and how much is best for you!
  6. Watch Fuel Up to Move More: Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine running when you work out.
  7. Watch The FITT Principle: Whether you’re new to fitness or an avid exerciser, you can apply the FITT principle!
  8. Watch Shake Up Your Fitness Game: Varying your workouts could be the key to taking things to the next level.
  9. Watch Back on TrackUnderstanding pain, function, attitude and beliefs, and their impact on your back health. 
  10. Watch Burnout and Building Resiliency: Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you become more resilient.
  11. Watch Bone Health and Osteoporosis: We’ve got 206 reasons to care about your bone’s health!

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: Learning How to Open Up to People (Thursday, Oct. 6 from 3 to 3:30 p.m.)

Creating meaningful and lasting relationships can be difficult if you struggle with opening up to others. This session will explore the benefits of being vulnerable and provide strategies to help participants learn how to open up to others.

Caregiving Check-In: Getting the Legal Stuff Done Now (Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 1 to 1:30 p.m.)

Caregivers face numerous stressors as they care for their adult loved ones. Having the right legal paperwork in place is one of the most important stress reducers. Participants will learn about the key documents and how to begin the process of assuring they are in place.

Webinar: Strategies to Improve Your Mental Health (Thursday, Oct. 13 at 12 p.m.)

Most of us are aware of strategies to improve our physical health but fall short on how to care for our mental health. Learn how to care for your mental health and prevent mental health problems in the future, reduce your risk for physical health issues and enhance your work and life satisfaction. Participants will learn easy ways to implement evidence-based strategies to improve their mental health.

Parenting Check-In: Responding to Your Child’s Report Card Constructively (Thursday, Oct. 20 from 3 to 3:30 p.m.)

Parents often feel inadequate in responding to their child’s report card. How much praise is too much? Will I hurt my child if I express disappointment? How can I appear loving when I have children who exhibit different levels of performance? This session will help parents learn how to respond to report cards in a manner that focuses on both positives and negatives.

Grief Check-In: Myths About Grief and Grieving (Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 4 to 4:30 p.m.)

How we approach grief and grieving has a lot to do with what we have witnessed and what was taught to us. Participants will learn some common misconceptions about grief that can disrupt the healing process.

Webinar: I am Enough (Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 12 p.m.)

How does your inner critic affect your emotional wellbeing? The inner critic is the voice of judgment and negativity and is especially outspoken when we’re tired, facing something new and unfamiliar or when we’ve made a mistake. Co-hosted by Carebridge and eM Life, participants will learn how to quiet their inner critic and increase self-confidence.

Play along: Participate in challenges and take monthly quizzes

feel like a million logo

Put extra pep in your step every day with Feel Like a Million!

Feel Like a Million is a board game-themed program to increase energy and help you feel your best. Each day you record one or more of six energy-boosting activities, you’ll earn virtual dollars and experience progress by moving along the gameboard on your desktop or mobile device. Every activity is a move closer to achieving the goal of $1 million virtual.

*This campaign is open to members of your household as well! 

Oct 10-Nov 21

Register for Feel Like a Million!

You can join as an individual or with your colleagues in optional buddy and team features. Did you know you nearly double your chances of success in Feel Like a Million if you’re part of a team? (consisting of 4-5 members). Visit the Team page to learn more. Friendly team competition not your thing? That’s okay; you can boost results just by asking others to join you with the Friends feature.

You can download the mobile app for logging on the go:

Feel Like a Million is offered in partnership with Health Enhancement Systems (HES).

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, a fruit/vegetable-themed pen, 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.

A bunch of question marks on colorful papersPlay along with us and test your knowledge about a variety of wellness topics.

New quiz series coming Fall 2022!

Take action: Join 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. 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.

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
  • 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 Oct. 10 to stop at the Skytop Office Building.  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:

  • Thursdays (Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10, Nov. 17 and Dec. 1)
  • Noon—12:45 p.m.

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  (Oct. 19 through Nov. 23) 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 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 a reduction in sodium, can help to lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Syracuse University has continued their partnership with the YMCA of Greater Syracuse 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.

Take a moment to watch the BPSM info session, then if you think you qualify and would like to, express interest in participating.

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 (from week of Oct. 3 through week of Jan. 30, 2023)
  • Attend a 1-hour seminar each month in 204 Maxwell Hall
    • Thursday, Oct. 20  (Noon – 1 p.m.): Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
    • Thursday, Nov. 17 (Noon – 1 p.m.): Lowering Sodium Intake
    • Thursday, Dec. 15  (Noon – 1 p.m.): Shopping, Preparing and Cooking Food for Better Blood Pressure Management
    • Thursday, Jan. 19 (Noon – 1 p.m.): 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 Central New York 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.

Take a moment to watch the DPP information session, then if you think you qualify and would like to, express interest in participating.

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.

Build resilience one quick, yet powerful moment at a time

“Too busy to stop, rest, sleep, or even breathe” is our shared mantra. Burnout, compassion fatigue, fear, apathy, self-doubt… are common everyday experiences. And no one is immune. It needn’t be this way.

Release, Relax and Reach™ is a virtual, interactive series developed by Spherica LLC and facilitated by Heidi M Weiker, MSSA. This series conducted via Zoom includes guided instruction and lots of hands-on activities. Each week we’ll explore quick and powerful, proven methods that you can use right in the middle of your stress-filled days. Together, we’ll release out of our unrelenting distress, relax into calm energy, and reach into peace and joy in order to reach out into the world refreshed and renewed. We’ll share ideas, demonstrations, and stories. We’ll learn relevant science and contemporary theory, as we practice the methods in real-time.

Too much going on to add another virtual calendar event to your day? You are not alone. We get it. And the last thing we want to do is to add to your stress! That’s why this is designed with your modern-day challenges in mind. It isn’t a canned stress-management class lecturing you on what you already know.

  • It’s insightful.
  • It’s engaging and fun.
  • It’s practical.
  • It’s a respite from the daily grind.

Wednesdays, Sept. 28-Nov. 16

Register for RRR!

Check out the series details:

Heidi M WeikerHeidi has over 30 years of experience in speaking, teaching, curriculum design, executive and life coaching, and consulting across North America She co-owns, with her sister Tanya, a contemporary training firm, Spherica LLC.

Heidi’s known for her keen insight into human nature and intrinsic motivation This is out of her depth and breadth of experience and involvement with distinctly diverse individuals and groups global leadership teams, inner-city gangs, academic faculty, teens, medical staff, athletes, kids Grateful to have served as a direct coach to several global CEOs and their C Suites, she continues to build on this experience Currently, Heidi’s engaged in researching, designing, and delivering plenaries, workshops, programs, and intensives in stress and inner resilience, mind focus and presence, authentic connection and communication, and conscious command and positive mindedness She inspires deeper awareness and thought-provoking insight, while engaging her audiences in powerful, yet fun ways to turn enhanced awareness into action Heidi has a relentless passion and love for her service to others She is deeply committed to her clients and to inspiring people to believe in themselves as human beings and to celebrate all that is good within and around them.

Post getting her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University, she received her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University On the days she’s not teaching, she spends her work hours delved into learning, research and instructional design Rarely seen without pen and paper, she’s always doodling, writing, reading, and creating Outside of Spherica, she loves to be with her family and friends, and she enjoys music, the fine arts, cooking, dancing, travel, walking, and the outdoors .

Release, Relax and Reach™ is an eight-week commitment that includes one, weekly 45-minute session from Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Wednesday, Nov. 16.

  • Wednesdays
  • Noon-12:45 p.m.
  • Zoom link sent via Outlook calendar

You’ll have the opportunity to build your own best practices for moving through stress and strain all while reinvigorating both your well-being and your performance. Every session blends interaction, cool information, and dialogue, with hands-on experience that includes a variety of enjoyable guided breathing exercises.

Some of the methods we’ll discuss

  • Physiology of the stress mechanism.
  • Heart-to-brain communication and short-circuiting Fight or Flight.
  • Network connections in the brain.
  • Shaping and shifting the living maps of the brain.
  • Your human brain and body ‘on’ stress.

Some of the practices we’ll do

  • Breathing to reduce the toxic impacts of chronic stress.
  • Deepening our breath to cultivate presence and peace.
  • Heart breathing’ practices for being in the moment and synching all biorhythms.
  • Engaging in meaningful appreciation and intentional gratefulness.
  • Immersing in nature, our natural boost.
  • Rhythm and music, the primal need for and power of it.

“Heidi was terrific–so inspiring, positive, motivating… Please bring her back for more exercises and affirming thoughts, strategies and ideas to combat stress on the job! Just having her talk and coach is gold!!”

“I feel quite fortunate that this was offered at SU and that I was able to participate!”

“Would take this workshop over again!! Please bring her back even if it’s for 30-minute check-in/follow-up workouts!”

“Great series. Thought limited size of groups was helpful.”

“Please look into some of the other workshops that Heidi offers as she was a fantastic trainer!”

“I really liked that this was each week – didn’t give me time to slip back. I felt it built my skills at a good speed. Overall, it was a very good use of my time.”

Even when everything around you seems out of your grasp to change—you can always change the world inside of you.

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:

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!