|UND names Wellness Award winners|
Laurie Betting, assistant vice president for wellness and director of the University’s Wellness Center, and Melissa Olson, director of the North Dakota Department of Health Healthy North Dakota Collaborative, were the winner of this year’s Kupchella Wellness Award.
The Charles E. Kupchella Preventive Medicine and Wellness Award was established to recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations who have worked to improve health and wellness through lowered rates of disease and disability by developing and delivering effective health promotion and prevention initiatives. It honors people and organizations in North Dakota and surrounding states who have contributed significantly to disease prevention and healthful living.
In his nominating letter about Betting, Bob Boyd, vice president for student and outreach services, said when she was hired to lead a wellness unit formed by UND President Kupchella, Betting “had few people and fewer resources, very limited facilities, but we now have one of the best programs and facilities in the nation. She is an outstanding leader, with a passion to help others meet their wellness objectives—including all dimensions of wellness.” “She almost single-handedly is responsible for the fact that we have been accredited by the CEO Roundtable Gold Standard for healthcare and wellness programming on our campus,” said UND President Kupchella. “Laurie is a powerful force in improving wellness on our campus and in North Dakota.”
State Health Officer Terry Dwelle, M.D., said in his letter nominating Olson for the award that she helped to initiate the Healthy North Dakota Collaborative, which, among other accomplishments, was a major factor in the passing of the state’s smoke-free workplace legislation. Duane Houdek, a former Healthy North Dakota advisory member and health policy advisor to N.D. Governor John Hoeven, said Olson “has worked tirelessly and effectively to transform [the governor’s public health plan] into an active coalition of hundreds of North Dakotans, working together on all aspects of public health.”
The Kupchella Wellness Award was made possible by a gift to the UND Foundation from Manuchair (Mike) Ebadi, former associate vice president for health affairs and medical research at UND and associate dean for research and program development at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He established the award to honor President Kupchella for his commitment to and accomplishments in advancing healthy lifestyles among people living in this region.