In January 2018, the Dean’s Council approved the concept in association to the new Health Plan, and immediately following, and associates began to survey the conditions in support of health, nutrition and personal fitness. The result were online questionnaires culminating in the contribution of the departments and organizational units aligned to the faculty. Astonishingly, 374 employees and 270 students effectively completed the questionnaires, the results were tallied and conclusions were founded regarding various forms of health behavior, and the level of satisfaction regarding the health and well-being services currently employed at the Medical School.

Below are several examples compiled from the survey data. In consideration of the individuals who partook in the survey:

  • 41.1% of the employees and 18.7% of the students are admittedly, overweight
  • 18.8% of the employees and 16.9% of the students regularly smoke
  • 41.3% of the employees and 47.9% of the students perform less physical activity, than when compared to the 150 minutes recommended by the WHO (in addition to the mandatory gymnastics course spanning four semesters)
  • 84.8% of the employees and 89.5% of the students ideally prefer accomplishing more physical activity
  • In consideration of the varied topics of health, the biggest demand is in support of healthier menu items and addressing coping skills and combating mental health/stress.

The Life Plan Staff inquired in the form of open questions seeking brief replies to issues associated with reactions, propositions and needs. In the case of Staff and employees, many of these remarks highlighted the work schedule, the relocation of the smoking area positioned well away from the Medical School’s primary entrance, adequate time allocated for dining including a suitable environment, a varied menu assuring a wide availability of food items all affordable regarding the buffet, restaurant/canteen, improved ergonomic office furniture (chairs, tables, standing work stations). In regards to the administration, staff and employees seek improvements regarding distribution and organization of the work load, and interior cleanliness (especially in the bathrooms).

In the case of the students, the most important topics of the discussion included transportation between the varied sites of education, a collective lunchbreak integrated into the timetable, the establishment of a cafeteria emphasizing affordable, reasonable prices, restroom cleanliness, an increase in the availability of chairs and tables in the great hall, healthier menu selections available in the buffet and throughout the vending machines, and, lastly, an increase in the opportunity to do sports.

The compiled data and results of the survey were presented to the Dean, and following a subsequent discussion, several proposals have been made and the implementation is now under way. The success of the Fruit Day hosted on Mondays, every month, organized by the Dean’s Office, is obvious. It is very nice to see everyone enjoying apples in the hallway – regardless of age, sex, and status. Many of us are open to change, however, the opportunity has to be provided.

When creating and implementing the Health Plan in support of the faculty, the most important aspect considered was in the realization we are all different, we think differently, and we all bear a varied set of problems. Therefore, we all must be afforded the opportunity to initiate the process of change, at our individual pace, and whether it is a smaller or a bigger challenge. However, one characteristic aspect is common among all of us: if and once we find ourselves tucked within a supportive environment, we inevitably fly high.

Interestingly, this is only the early phase representative of the immense effort before the Life Program Staff. Spearheading new, formerly unknown and oftentimes, unusual activities channelled through the university administration is not an easy nor quick task – even if it obviously serves everyone’s benefit. One thing is for certain and it is the enthusiasm exhibited among the varied colleagues and students helping us move forward amidst this immense yet challenging realm we call process. The Life Program Staff expresses a hearty thank you to all who have, in some way or measure, positively contributed to the effort!

Do not be surprised to one day soon witness an increase in the events intending to improve our physical and mental health by making our daily routine more and colourful! Behind these remarkable eye-catching events, there is an on-going analysis and workflow diagram, charting progress, measuring participation and recalibrating for success. The results of this analysis will soon be shared online and at posted during upcoming personal events.

It is our immense pleasure to encourage willing colleagues and students to visit the website, ideally benefitting to advance the well-being of the staff, employees and students of the faculty, all of which, bears a constantly growing range of functions and information serving the cosmos aligned to the Medical School to feel increasingly better.

Andrea Horváth-Sarródi
Department of Public Health Medicine