UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 9 | Oct.
Growing Healthy at Work
Unique symposium will explore the connection between workplace
and personal health
By Hilary Thomson
Workplace bullies, humour and health, and the role of the
manager are among the topics to be explored at UBC’s
second annual health symposium.
Called Cultivating Healthy Change, the free symposium will
take place Wednesday, Oct. 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.
UBC is the only Canadian university to offer such a day-long
symposium supported by the organization and open to all employees,
according to Deb Jones, a national consultant on healthy organizations,
who has interviewed health promotion personnel at University
of Victoria, University of Toronto and University of Calgary.
“There is a great interest in workplace health at
all these universities, however, none have developed anything
like UBC’s annual symposium,” says Jones.
Gerry Latham, manager of UBC’s Health Promotion Program,
says the understanding of organizational health and its relationship
to personal health has risen tremendously on campus since
last year’s symposium.
“We know the pace of change is determined by employees
themselves so this year we’re emphasizing not only how
individuals can make a change for themselves but also how
they can lead a change toward a healthy workplace,”
Open to all UBC faculty and staff, the symposium includes
two featured speakers. Linda Duxbury, of the Sprott School
of Business at Carleton University, will talk about her study
of 10,000 Canadian employees and their views on work-life
balance and conflict, including factors that make balance
difficult and suggestions for coping. Canada’s Man-in-Motion
Rick Hansen will talk about the power of setting life goals,
achieving balance and dreaming big dreams.
“The focus continues to be on both the individual
as well as the organization and this year we want to address
some deeper issues,” says event co-ordinator Dana Mahon,
of the Dept. of Health, Safety and the Environment, which
is presenting the symposium.
The day will feature six breakout sessions that cover topics
ranging from managerial skills needed for a healthy workplace,
to depression, building personal resilience to change, the
value of laughter and yoga.
A health fair will take place during the event in the concourse
of the Chan Centre and will feature interactive exhibitions
such as blood pressure, blood glucose, bone density and blood
cholesterol testing, as well as information booths on health-care
providers, fitness professionals and health and wellness resources.
“UBC senior administrators have made it clear that
they’re serious about creating a culture shift that
will enable and reinforce employees’ efforts to maintain
a work-life balance,” says Latham. “We want to
give employees the right tools to help build a healthy workplace
and to take responsibility for their own health once they
For more information on the symposium, visit www.hse.ubc.ca/health-symposium.