Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

USU launches into 2021 with Team Wellness Challenge

Image of Four women, wearing masks, holding onto a simulated brain. Uniformed Services University neuroscience graduate students, aka “The Brainy Bunch”, are participating in the USU 2021 Student Wellness Challenge. (USU courtesy photo.)

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Heart Health | Heart Health

Every New Year brings resolutions to change or improve our health, fitness, attitudes, or habits. As the calendar hits January 1, we dive headlong into it, but by March 1, we may be burnt out, unable to keep up with the routine. 

Navy Ensign Ariana Sheridan, a fourth-year medical student at Uniformed Services University, is doing something about it. Sheridan, in collaboration with USU’s Student Wellness Advisory Board (SWAB), is launching the USU 2021 Student Wellness Challenge.

The six-week challenge, which runs from February 1-March 14, will help participants develop simple and sustainable habits that can be easily maintained after the challenge ends. In addition to supporting personal well-being, the wellness challenge will provide an opportunity for camaraderie and community building at USU. 

“I was inspired to create this challenge from a few different sources. I have competed in multiple fitness challenges over the years that have helped me achieve personal goals. Before the idea for the challenge came to life around this time last year, I spent a weekend catching up with some grad school friends--who were at other medical schools--about different opportunities our schools offered. One of them was in the middle of a team-based fitness challenge. I brought the idea back to Doctor [Kameha] Bell and the SWAB, but with the spin of doing it more as a wellness challenge. While I love the fitness aspect of these challenges, there are so many aspects of our wellbeing that we don't always focus on. Creating this challenge is an opportunity to inspire others to see the many domains of wellness, and give ideas for how we can incorporate these things into our daily lives,” said Sheridan.

Two women, wearing masks, on a tennis court and carrying heavy bundles
Navy Ensign Ariana Sheridan (front) and a friend get a jumpstart on workouts. Sheridan is spearheading the Uniformed Services University 2021 Student Wellness Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Ariana Sheridan.)

Despite its name, the wellness challenge is not limited to students. More than 156 students (representing the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Nursing and Graduate Education programs), faculty and staff are participating, including several associate and assistant deans from the medical school and graduate education programs. Even USU’s facility dog, Shetland, is participating with furry teammates, Sully (from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland), Cleo (from the Air National Guard Readiness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland), and Izzy (from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia) as “The Wellness Pack”. Participation can be as a team or as an individual.

Points will be awarded based on daily and weekly activities in the following wellness domains:  nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, burnout prevention, sleep and gratitude. Challenges will range from healthy eating, consistent physical activity, meditation or journaling, doing something that brings personal joy, getting a nap and good night’s sleep, to showing appreciation or paying it forward.

For example, hosting a healthy meal (virtual or in person), trying a new fruit or vegetable, increasing water consumption, trying a new recipe, eliminating meat from a day’s menu, eating fresh versus processed or prepackaged foods, or shutting down the television or phone while eating are all point-garnering activities under the nutrition domain. USU’s Preventive Medicine Interest Group is holding a heart-healthy culinary challenge to coincide with the wellness challenge, which gives additional opportunities to earn points and prizes.

In week four, the Student Wellness Advisory Board’s Burnout Prevention Task Force is hosting a conversation on burnout prevention with Army Col. Nathan Keller, the director of the University Counseling Center.

The winning teams or individuals will win awards; in addition fun awards will be given for:

  • Most Consistent Performer
  • Most Creative Team Name
  • Social Media Star #USUWellness2021
  • Week 1 Nutrition: Most Aesthetically Pleasing Plate
  • Week 2 Exercise: Most Creative Plank Location
  • Week 6 Gratitude: Gratitude Art Project

“We are very excited about the response to the Wellness Challenge! Our well-being program is student centered, so when Ariana came to us with this idea, we were eager to help make it happen,” said Bell, Well-being Coordinator in the USU School of Medicine Office of Student Affairs. “We hope that the challenge inspires continued self-care and burn-out prevention behaviors."

You can follow the Challenge progress on social media by following the tag #USUwellness2021.

Follow Shetland and the Wellness Pack’s progress on Instagram: @shetland.thewellnesspup, @sgt_cleo, @sullyhwbush, @izzy_avd

You also may be interested in...

How Performance Nutrition Can Help You Maintain Readiness

Article
7/29/2022
A person serving himself a salad

Performance nutrition is a major key to force readiness.

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

Article
6/16/2022
Tactical Diaper Bags and Other Fathers' Day Tips from a Marine Officer

“When we deploy, our lives become simpler, while theirs become more complex: In addition to missing their husband and father, they are missing someone who should be helping to shoulder the burden that military life places on kids.”

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness

Could a Therapy Dog Help with Your Dental Anxiety?

Article
6/2/2022
Air Force Brig. Gen. Goldie, a facility therapy dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, helps reduce anxiety in a patient with complex dental conditions that require multiple appointments. The use of therapy dogs is part of an ongoing study with these patients.

A first-of-its-kind study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is researching whether using facility therapy dogs in dentists’ offices could reduce patient anxiety and improve outcomes for military dental treatment programs.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

Tips for Military Parents Planning PCS Moves with Children

Article
6/2/2022
Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Moving can be hard on military families, especially on children. Moving to a new home, going to a new school, finding new friends – it can be unsettling for kids of any age. Yet, there are things that service members can do to prepare for a permanent change of station move that can make for a smoother transition for the children.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness

How Health Care Providers Can Mitigate Burnout

Article
5/25/2022
U.S. Army Soldiers load a simulated patient on to a New Jersey National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter during a combat lifesaver course run by the Medical Simulation Training Center on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, April 14, 2022.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

“No one is immune to burnout. Healthcare providers are very good at rescuing others. We train for it and practice it daily. Unfortunately, we often do so at the expense of our own health and wellness.”

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Ask the Doc: Yes, I Binge Drink. But am I an Alcoholic?

Article
5/25/2022
Ian Bell, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron True North social worker, tries on vision impairment goggles at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Dec. 20, 2021. The vision impairment goggles represented a range of different blood alcohol concentrations, from less than 0.06 BAC, which simulates how reaction time and abilities are affected after just one drink, to 0.25, a very high level of impairment caused by binge drinking.

Dear Doc: I kick back on the weekends and down a six-pack or two at a time. I know this is called binge drinking, but I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. Should I be worried?

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Ask The Doc

Feeling Burned Out at Work? Here Are Some Tips to Feel Better

Article
5/24/2022
Feeling burned out? Tips to understand and avoid burnout.

The good news is that burnout can be mitigated. There are numerous steps that individuals and leaders can take to reduce burnout and its impact.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Nurse Powerlifts Her Way to Winner's Podium

Article
4/19/2022
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Holly Vickers competed in the United States Powerlifting Association’s Virginia Beach Classic on March 26, 2022, taking home the top spot for her weight class. Photo used with permission from DVXT Images. (Photo: Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Public Affairs)

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Holly Vickers competed in the United States Powerlifting Association’s Virginia Beach Classic on March 26, 2022, taking home the top spot for her weight class.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

Brain-Boosting Meal Plans Help Service Members with TBI

Article
3/30/2022
During the NICoE intensive outpatient program (IOP), staff nutritionist Ruth Clark teaches hands-on classes in the on-site patient kitchen. (Photo: Tahira Hayes (Ctr), NICoE/WRNMMC, NSA Bethesda)

Research has shown that dietary changes may help relieve symptoms that might complicate recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Caring for Recruits' Injuries is Key to Success at Basic Training

Article
2/23/2022
U.S. Marines wait for instruction from their Senior Drill Instructor after concluding a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, on March 11, 2021.

Injuries at bootcamp can end a military career before it starts. That’s why trainers and drill instructors take countless precautions to ensure trainees stay fit and healthy.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

The Chief of the Army Dental Corps Talks Dental Health & Readiness

Article
2/22/2022
The Army’s top dentist talks about what service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Here’s what the Army’s top dentist thinks service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

Women’s Heart Attacks Symptoms Can Differ from Men’s: Know the Signs

Article
2/11/2022
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack can differ between women and men. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 quickly.

Doctors say women sometimes fail to recognize their unique warnings signs for heart problems.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Heart Health | Women's Health

Enjoy Your Super Bowl Snacks with a Side of Food Safety

Article
2/11/2022
Military personnel grilling food

While millions watch NFL players battle it out in the Super Bowl, the real MVPs on Sunday will be chicken wings—more than 1 billion will be consumed before, during and after the game! Whether you bake, roast, fry or order in your chicken wings, don’t forget the four food safety steps that night.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Don't Fumble Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday

Article
2/10/2022
Marine with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit participate in a football tournament in Spain.

Here are some USDA food safety tips to enjoy a safe Super Bowl Sunday.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Article
2/8/2022
Military personnel during boot camp

Today’s military recruits are more likely than ever to sustain a serious injury at their initial military training. Here’re some tips for how to prepare before shipping out.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 28, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.