December 2023 video message

Hello colleagues and friends across the U-M community!

With the busyness of our semester rapidly approaching its peak, it is more important than ever to take a moment to assess our wellbeing.

I’m so grateful for the many members of our community who, through their dedication and creativity, continue to find new ways to positively impact the health and wellness of our students.

At LSA, mental health and well-being advocates are hard at work developing a mental health first aid training program to guide faculty and staff in recognizing and supporting students facing mental health challenges.

LSA is also home to optiMize, where students bring their ideas for social change into reality. Recognizing that this is not easy work, optiMize offers special wellness programming to support students in their entrepreneurial journeys, including tea tastings, meditative art sessions, and more.

Each of these efforts, either directly or indirectly, feeds into the well-being of our university community, strengthening wellness individually and collectively.

At the forefront of this important  work is this month’s Portrait of a Wolverine, Dr. Rob Ernst. Our chief health officer and a practicing physician, Dr. Ernst has spent his career applying population health principles to improve health and wellness across our campus.

His portfolio includes the Well-being Collective, which is developing thoughtful, intentional systems and policies to create an ecosystem where every member of our community can grow and thrive.

At the same time, Dr. Ernst has enhanced campus resources and programs across a continuum of care in order to ensure increased support for wellbeing and greater access to individualized mental health. He has also developed the strategy and position around a chief mental health officer in Student Life.

Dr. Ernst led our university through the COVID-19 pandemic and established the infrastructure for a lasting campus public health response team. This infrastructure not only makes our university healthier and safer, it establishes an example for other institutions around the world to follow.

From his work with MHealthy and HR benefits committees to University Health Service, the counseling center, and Wolverine Wellness, it’s fair to say each student, and every member of our staff and faculty, has benefited from Dr. Ernst’s passion for and commitment to the health and wellness of our campus and community.

As we say farewell until the new year, I hope each of you has a safe and restful semester break. Students, please remember you can seek care and 24/7 advice from UHS and CAPS. You can also find access to virtual Uwill counseling even when you’re off campus, and you can schedule appointments at UHS for flu, covid, or other vaccinations before you travel.

Please also give yourself time and space to relax, recover and recuperate. We have a fantastic fall semester almost behind and a wonderful winter term ahead.

Thanks again and I’ll see you in 2024.