February Wellness Ambassador of the Month | Kathy Cruz Rodriguez
- Creating and maintaining balance in life is what wellness means to me -- diligently seeking, daily, to synergize 8 interconnected dimensions of wellness.
Wellness Ambassador of the Month
Kathy Cruz Rodriguez of UCD School of Medicine – Radiology
How long have you worked at UC Davis?
I worked 6 years as a UCD/UCDH Temporary Employment Services Admin/Analyst Floater. I have worked 1 year as Career Employee at the Center for Musculoskeletal Health and 3 years in my current position at Radiology as Research Administrative Support. I have worked for UC Davis Health for almost two years!
What does Wellness mean to you?
Creating and maintaining balance in life is what wellness means to me -- diligently seeking, daily, to "synergize" 8 interconnected dimensions of wellness that include spiritual, emotional, physical, occupational, social, intellectual, environmental, and financial components. I list the spiritual dimension, first, because I hold fast to my faith in Jesus Christ and the scripture, Matthew 6:33 (NIV), “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Why did you become a wellness ambassador?
My former career as a Student Life professional at University of the Pacific gave me the opportunity to do what I cherish -- developing programs that enhanced both international and domestic students’ academic studies and personal lives, while completing my Bachelor of Arts in Sports Sciences – Sport Management Concentration. My husband, two daughters and son have been active athletes throughout school and career.
I was blessed to be able to serve as Wellness Ambassador for Radiology, thanks to the support of our department leadership. I discovered fulfillment developing and sharing wellness programs to help staff and faculty create and maintain that sometimes elusive work/life balance.
How long have you been a wellness ambassador?
Officially 2 years under the Wellness Ambassador Program. But “unofficially” my first year in my current department as leadership wholeheartedly funded various wellness efforts I spearheaded, until I could apply to be a Wellness Ambassador and acquire funds via the mini-grants.
What has been the most rewarding or positive part about your experience thus far?
- Personal accountability by synching my iWatch to Walker Challenge app during and in-between challenges and exampling what I am promoting
- Bringing opportunities that help develop the various dimensions of wellness to my department
- The support of department leadership and camaraderie of staff and faculty who join our challenges
- Utilizing my creativity to motivate through my monthly RADteam Wellness Newsletter and through giving out incentives/rewards that include Wellness Buddies/Air Plant, $25 Gift Cards and Wellness Items for periodic raffles
What are some challenges you face as a wellness ambassador, especially through the pandemic?
- The pandemic was a big challenge because I couldn’t facilitate in-person gatherings; however, with the support of Wellness Ambassador trainings, we all had to step up our creativity.
- Another challenge was trying to get more of our staff and faculty to participate in wellness activities offered university wide (if not department-sponsored), because everyone is so busy, and their mailboxes are so full. Not that many emailed me to be entered into a raffle simply by participating in a wellness activity. However, I’ve seen an increase in participation as current participants reach out to others to join in
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with new wellness ambassadors?
Make the time to attend the monthly Wellness Ambassador trainings facilitated by the Staff & Faculty Health and Well-Being Staff -- these trainings are inspiring, motivating and nurturing!
Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being aims to build an environment that makes the healthier choice the easier one, while providing staff and faculty with the required support to make UC Davis the healthiest community. How do you feel you have contributed to our mission?
- Encouraging staff and faculty to join our Walker Challenge Teams – RADteam & RADteam2 – not only via our monthly Wellness Newsletter, but through building relationships with people in our department. Our RADteam was one of the team winners from “Kindness Around the Globe” Virtual Walker Challenge – Spring 2022!
- Having a supportive department leadership both financially and motivationally. Shoutout to Dr. Elizabeth Morris (Department Chair), Jennifer Kellogg (Chief Administrative Officer), and Elizabeth Lincoln (Contracts & Grants Mgr/My supervisor)! They have supplemented wellness efforts for staff by offering to pay for any fees. Also, they are supplementing this year's goal of our "Zen Zone" project -- a "Zen" space for staff and faculty, complete with accessories i.e. waterfall, plants, nature wall mural, etc
What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Spending time with my 2-1/2 year old grandson, Lane Joseph, “My Baruch Boy”! Believe me – being with him, it’s a breeze for me to get in more than the average 8,000 steps per day!