Wellness Champions


Nominations now closed, watch this space for your 2022 Wellness Champions! 

Wellness Champions program recognizes individuals and groups of students, staff, and faculty at the U of A campus that contribute to the culture of wellness, those who go above and beyond their role to create a healthier working, learning, and living environment for our campus community.

A healthy university is one that aspires towards the creation of a learning environment and organizational culture which enhances the health, well-being, and sustainability of its community, and enables people to achieve their full potential. We all have a role to play in making the University of Alberta a healthier place and it's important to recognize and celebrate the great work members of our campus community do every day.

This project is possible with the partnership of Wellness Supports and Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environment.

Wellness Champions 2021

We are thrilled to share our 2021 Wellness Champions with you. A Wellness Champion makes the campus community a better place. Their efforts positively influence how we experience university life -- through academics, work, and play. A Wellness Champion connects people and helps build supportive environments. Here are some of the exciting initiatives that have been happening on campus and virtually this past year.

Cristina Stasia

Cristina is a dedicated professor who advocates for the mental wellbeing of her students in the Teaching Fellow program at the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. She provides accessible resources for students struggling with mental health including supportive listening workshops and QPR training sessions. She also takes it upon herself to extend her office hours so that she can connect with students struggling. Cristina’s efforts have continued remotely with the hopes of fostering a community between students through personalizing mental health resources and encouraging social connection safely. Her compassion for her students also goes so far as to create an environment of inclusivity and cultural sensitivity where she would personally research resources catered to students of diverse backgrounds. 

Melissa Roach

Melissa is committed to fostering well-being in her colleagues and students she supports. Her initiative, “Wellness in the Workplace”, encourages those in the Department of Biological Sciences to pay attention to their wellbeing. This includes activities such as yoga/fitness sessions, monthly workshops surrounding how to support student and staff mental wellness, cooking classes, therapy dogs, and more that promote social connection both on and off-line. Melissa is also an important part of the Biological Sciences Working Group for Building Community, where she has reached out to various groups on, and off, campus to initiate these activities and support the emotional, physical, and social well-being of students and faculty before and during the move to remote learning. 

Rachel Callahan

Rachel is a passionate advocate for mental health in the Faculty of Engineering. Her role as VP Internal in the Engineering Students’ Society led her to actively help students focus on their mental health through hosting various mental health events and panels discussing its importance. She also takes it upon herself to connect with students, especially those in their first-year of engineering and prospective engineering majors, to help them find a balance between excelling in academics and taking care of their well-being. Through sharing her own stories, encouraging her peers to participate in physical wellness initiatives, and helping others find their passion in engineering, Rachel has impacted the lives of students both directly and indirectly.

John Misiaszek
John is proactive in fostering personal and professional connections with those he works with. As the Vice Dean and the Associate Dean of Research of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, John has had a major role in coordinating new ways of managing research in the pandemic to relieve the burden of his colleagues. He also took it upon himself to organize events such as FRzoom Cafes and cross-country skiing events, pre-pandemic, for community and social support. John’s efforts and what his colleagues describe as a “steadying force” gave him the opportunity to promote wellness by bringing his community together.
Office of Advocacy and Wellbeing

The Office of Advocacy and Wellbeing (OAW) is a space for those involved with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry to seek adequate support for well-being. The team at OAW advocates for students and faculty by providing support spanning from counselling and mental health services, to career advising and bursary information, to supporting student groups such as the Medical Student’s Association. To maintain accessibility, OAW has extended its hours for many with busy schedules and encouraged core principles with the underlying message that personal well-being should be prioritized. All of those who crossed paths with the OAW express their gratitude for their work and the appreciation for the warm-hearted, understanding team that works there. 

Amber Holder
Amber has dedicated her time to promoting wellness in her team at University of Alberta International. Her contributions created a sense of community and connection among her team in a time where everyone seemed far apart. This was not limited to one-on-one wellness checks and chats with her colleagues, making sure everyone has the right wellness resources they needed, and organizing events such as lunchtime yoga, “Zentangle”, and a department “Share the Kindness” initiative to promote social connection. All of Amber’s colleagues agree that she has made their working environment more positive, inclusive, and enjoyable to work in, fostering individual and team growth.

Learn more about the 2021 Wellness Champions