Recognizing the importance of overall health and wellness to academic, professional and personal success, West Virginia University is creating a system-wide initiative to coordinate and improve efforts in those areas.
Supported by a substantial gift from Natalie and Wes Bush, the Bush Fund for Health Promotion and Wellness will be directed by Dean of Nursing Tara Hulsey, who will also continue in her current role while adding responsibilities as vice president of WVU for health promotion and wellness.
“It's our responsibility as an academic institution to help our students, staff and faculty not only excel in their educational and career pursuits but also engage and empower them to achieve mental and physical health,” Hulsey said. “Putting a focus on their wellbeing will have a far-reaching, positive affect in improving the individual as well as our neighborhoods, communities and the state of West Virginia.”
While the program will initially focus on WVU, and its five campuses including those of WVU Medicine, some of the lessons learned may help determine how the University can help other communities, Hulsey said.
“Just as a flight attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, it is crucial that the people we educate and employ be well if they are to help others,” President Gordon Gee said. “This is a perfect combination of our three pillars – education, improving health and building prosperity. Each is dependent on the other, and I believe Tara Hulsey is uniquely qualified to lead this effort.”
Hulsey will work to create a network of partners involved in the many related programs across campus so they can be leveraged to the benefit of faculty, staff and students. Some of those programs include several in WVU Medicine, such as student health, and the Health Sciences Center, and in the Division of Student Life, such as WellWVU, WVU Collegiate Recovery Program and the Carruth Center. Although many details remained to be worked out, no reporting line changes are planned.
"The environment we create on our campus for the people who work and study here is crucial to our future success as a University,” said Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean for health sciences. “I'm very confident that under Dr. Hulsey's leadership WVU will be a place that facilitates community, love, purpose, and safety for its members and is a magnet for talent and results."
Natalie Bush received a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from WVU in 1988 and a master’s in 1990. She is an independent hospital and health care professional and is an active supporter of the WVU Nursing program. Wes Bush is from Morgantown and is chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corp. and a member of the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame.
“We are delighted to support this important program, and we look forward to its impact under Dean Hulsey’s leadership," said Natalie and Wes Bush.
Hulsey will be charged with:
• Identifying key stakeholders with wellness programs and/or capacity to deliver wellness related programming.
• Identifying key partners in WVU’s affiliated campuses and WVU Medicine.
• Inventorying all health/wellness programs existing at WVU and WVU Medicine and the Health Communities Initiative.
• Identifying key gaps in programming and developing effective strategies to address those needs.
• Creating a network of partners and related programming, both at WVU, and with WVU Medicine and the Healthy Communities Initiative, that provides a coordinating and delivery mechanism for maximizing efficacy of the University’s overall promotion of wellness for faculty, staff, and students.
• Working with appropriate offices to create educational and promotional materials, events, and initiatives that share information with and create impact for the University community.
• Providing subject matter expertise in matters related to wellness, both in a preventative stage as well as responsive guidance and advice.
• Creating and providing for methods of tracking impacts of programming and evolving efforts based on that feedback.
Hulsey’s appointment is effective Oct. 2.
The Bush’s gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University . The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.
CONTACT: John A. Bolt; University Relations/Communications