Category: Colleges and Universities

Margaret Bishop-Baier, MD, Chairperson of the Wellness Committee, and Scott Embley, LCSW, CEAP, Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Campus Assistance Program, pose in front of one of their newly stocked vending machines on campus.

The leadership, faculty, residents and students at LSU Health Sciences Center and the LSU School of Dentistry know a thing or two when it comes to health and well-being. For decades, these New Orleans-based institutions have been training Louisiana’s next generation of doctors, dentists, and healthcare leaders. While these schools provide world-class healthcare training and education, leaders there understand the importance of not only “talking the talk” but “walking the walk” when it comes to implementing changes to benefit the health and wellness of everyone on campus.

After learning about Louisiana’s WellSpot designation program from a public health student, Scott Embley, LCSW, CEAP, Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Campus Assistance Program, knew right off the bat that he needed to get his campus involved.

“Here in New Orleans, we have about 2,800 students, 1,000 residents and 3,500 employees,” said Scott. “We’re far and away one of the leading medical centers in the state of Louisiana. If we want to make our state healthier, the work starts right here with the people we interact with every day on campus.”

Scott and his team first began their WellSpot journey in late 2019. There was no need to start from scratch—their journey to become a WellSpot fit in perfectly with their already-established LSUHSC Wellness Committee. Through this committee, Scott’s team was hard at work promoting a healthy learning and working environment, building resiliency, and personal well-being among faculty, staff, residents, and students on campus. In fact, they already met many of the benchmarks outlined by Well-Ahead Louisiana.

The schools ultimately completed the process in 2020 and reached every benchmark to achieve their designation as a Level 1 WellSpot.

“Fortunately for us, we were able to quickly check some of the easier-to-attain items off the list,” said Scott. “But, funny enough, one of the biggest challenges we had in becoming a Level 1 WellSpot was getting our vending machines equipped with 50% of items that met the approved healthy vending guidelines. Eating habits can be tough to break!”

Scott says there are many reasons why any college or university should take the opportunity to become a WellSpot. “If everyone on campus is happy and healthy, they are more productive and enjoy a better learning environment. Many of these benchmarks are not so hard to achieve. Implementing new policies and encouraging healthy behavior is the least we can do to move Louisiana’s health forward.”

If you’re ready to invest in the health of your college or university, Well-Ahead Louisiana can help you get started on your WellSpot journey! Learn more about becoming a WellSpot and the evidence-based benchmarks you can implement to help your campus thrive.