October 20, 2014  

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Southern Miss Employees Take Advantage of First Wellness Day Program

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Valerie Craig, an information technology manager at Southern Miss, undergoes at blood test administered by medical technologist Consuella Hooks as part of the Healthy U program sponsored by Student Health Services on Oct. 14. (Office of University Communications photo by Steve Rouse)

When University of Southern Mississippi Information Technology (iTech) staffer Valerie Craig discovered that an entire day had been set aside to provide health exams and screenings to campus employees, she circled the date on the calendar.

And there she was bright and early on Thursday, Oct. 14 participating in the inaugural Healthy U program at the Bedie Smith Clinic on the Hattiesburg campus. Craig, manager of iTech Advancement, was joined by her husband, Richard, who also works in the iTech Department as a software development manager.

“Oh yeah, we marked the date right away when we heard about this,” said Valerie Craig. “What a terrific way to get some important tests done without having to schedule an appointment with your regular doctor.”

The Healthy U initiative was conceived based upon benefits offered as part of the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan. Clinic physicians, nurses and other staff personnel administered screenings and exams such as blood pressure, cholesterol, pap smear, urinalysis and more at no cost to those who qualified. Flu vaccines were also given.

“I had gotten my numbers checked at the first of the year and since that time have been trying to eat a lot healthier and take care of myself better,” said Valerie Craig. “An event like this gives me a chance to see where those numbers are now at no charge.”

The program also featured chair massages by therapists from Healing Touch Day Spa in Hattiesburg as well as door prizes and informative health literature.

Dr. Virginia Crawford, director of Student Health Services, said efforts such as the Healthy U program are part of a comprehensive plan to create a healthier Southern Miss campus.

“The president (Martha Saunders) has stressed the importance of health on our campus and we want to do our part here to provide as many services as possible to university employees,” said Crawford. “A lot of people don’t take full advantage of the benefits offered in our health package and a day such as this gives them access to exams, screenings and other tests without the hassle of scheduling a day off work.”

For more information about Student Health Services at Southern Miss, call 601-266.5266 or visit www.usm.edu/healthservice/