HealthFitness University Summit: Promoting Campus Health


Earlier this month, HealthFitness hosted its second University Summit. With a strategic focus for creating and curating discussion around improving campus health and wellness, HealthFitness convened a group of university professionals to discuss and share research, trends and best practices that promote campus population health.

According to Tim Mertz, the director of recreation at MIT — managed by HealthFitness — what makes this event so unique is that it brings together such a unique range of health and wellness professionals. Attendees included: recreation directors, wellness directors, assistant vice presidents for health and wellness, as well as HR and benefits administrators.

“There are a lot of venues and conferences for employee health and wellness,” said Mertz. “Then there are an equal number of conferences for campus recreation. Very infrequently to those two worlds come together in one place. I think that is where HealthFitness has uniquely positioned itself in being a convener of these five or six stakeholders. Ultimately the goal is to provide greater and more focused attention on improving campus population health. Recreation is an integral part of that.”

Engaging the entire campus community in health and wellness initiatives can be a challenge. Mertz explained, this is why the University Summit has proven so beneficial. “At MIT one of the things I have always said is there is no shortage of resources,” he added. “There are resources everywhere across campus for either health, wellness, fitness or recreation. But very seldom are all of those resources so streamlined and consolidated under one umbrella to make it easy to navigate for students, faculty and staff. The University Summit helps to demystify all those challenges, identify folks that are doing it differently and explore those models that seem to be working.”

Of course every school is unique. What works at one might not work at the other. But Mertz said it is always beneficial to learn from other university professionals and hear what they are doing on their campuses. “At MIT, it is such a unique environment,” said Mertz. “We have to customize our programs and services to meet the needs of MIT. But the University of Louisville is extremely unique. Emory is unique. Georgia Tech is unique. So hearing the different strategies that each one of them are undertaking at their campuses was beneficial. Some of it is relatable. Some of it can be transferred directly back to MIT. So just picking the brain of these thought leaders that are finding these creative solutions to target their campus was in my mind one of the most valuable pieces.”

There is more to come!

This was the second University Summit that HealthFitness has hosted and they plan to host several more. According to Mertz the plan is to host three summits a year in order to convene this specific group of stakeholders. If you are interested in learning more about HealthFitness or the University Summit visit their website.


Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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