UTTC Recognized by White House for Healthy Campus challenge

By Alicia Hegland-Thorpe  UNITED TRIBES NEWS

United Tribes Technical College was recognized in January for outstanding work as a Healthy Campus. Two members of the college staff traveled to Washington, DC to receive a certificate signed by President Barack Obama and to participate in Healthy Campus Day January 13, at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Attending the White House event were Mara Yborra, UTTC Nutrition Educator and Registered Dietician; and Kara Greenwood, physical fitness specialist with UTTC Healthy Promotions in the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center.

Team Effort

UTTC Student Health Services, Wellness Center, UTTC Land Grant Extension and Healthy Promotions departments combined their efforts in a challenge last fall to make a healthier and more informed campus by sharing the message of affordable insurance options of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With the Healthy Campus challenge,  the inter-departmental group committed to hosting open-enrollment activities on campus to inform students and staff of their options with the Affordable Care Act and to maintaining contact with a White House ‘Healthy Campus’ official.  

UTTC was recognized by President Barack Obama with a Presidential certificate.

Left, Mara Yborra, UTTC Nutrition Educator and Certified Dietician, Kristie Canegallo, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation and right, Kara Greenwood, UTTC Physical Fitness Specialist. Yborra is holding the certificate signed by President Barack Obama.

In the fall of 2016, a joint effort between the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education, came together to engage college and university campuses in increasing Marketplace enrollment efforts nationwide. This challenge would ask participants to be willing to work with administrators, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and local community leaders and elected officials to reach the uninsured on campus and in the surrounding community by helping others to learn about and better understand the health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act. 

UTTC History of Wellness

In the application, the history and current initiatives of UTTC’s overall wellness plan was highlighted.  In 2002, a UTTC wellness committee declared 30 minutes of wellness break per work day for all employees. In 2013, UTTC became the first tribal college in the nation to be designated as a “tobacco-free campus.” 

UTTC has made a major commitment to the health and wellness of students, staff and visitors within the campus community by developing the Wellness Center that adheres to a holistic approach to health, blending cultural practices with the best physical, emotional, mental and spiritual care.  The Wellness Center provides student and staff with state of the art exercise equipment, supportive counseling services and healthy guidance - all with the support of spiritual growth using traditional methods. The Student Health Center, a division of the wellness center provided two certified insurance navigators.  This year, an online health tracking system was implemented for UTTC Staff members called WellSteps which was an initiative sparked from the Healthy Community Coalition Committee (HCCC).

Other programs working together on the challenge were the Healthy Promotions program and the NDSU Land Grant Extension program. 

UTTC in the White House

 “I was honored to represent UTTC at this event. It was extremely energized! Everyone there was eager to learn how to create a healthier environment on their campuses” says Mara Yborra, who also serves as chair of the Healthy Community Coalition Committee. 

Kara Greenwood, UTTC Physical Fitness Specialist says “It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to represent UTTC in Washington, DC.”

The Healthy Campus certificate signed by President Barack Obama will be displayed in the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center. More than 350 campuses from all 50 states participated in the challenge. Less than a 100 completed the full challenge.

Take Action

For more information on the Healthy Campus Challenge, contact Mara Yborra, at 701-221-1435.  To learn more about the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center and Healthy Promotions, contact Steph Isaak at 701-221-1777. Or go online at http://www.uttc.edu/student-life/wellness.

UTTC’s Kara Greenwood and Mara Yborra, near the Washington Memorial, in Washington DC.