Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: McGill Health and Wellbeing Program
Year Submitted 2016
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Sharron Smith Benefits Advisor
Name of Institution McGill University
Office Address Human Resources
688 Sherbrooke St. W. Suite 1420
Montreal, Quebec H3A 3R1
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Telephone: 514-398-2104
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Michael Di Grappa
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance
Office Address James Administration Building
845 Sherbrooke Street West, Room 531
Montreal, Quebec H3A 0G4
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Telephone: 514-398-6037
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

The objective of the McGill Health and Wellbeing program is to establish a culture of health and wellness at the University by increasing awareness of the benefits of healthy living. The program provides valuable infonnation on both physical and mental health related topics, which are provided through a variety of means: a series oflunch-time presentations delivered by experts in their field, the annual health fair, and links to a1iicles and resources on the website online health and wellness resources.

Since its launch in 2010, sessions and activities successfully continue to be delivered with little to no funding. Interest continues to increase and the sessions continue to expand in scope and variety of subject matter. The program has to-date attracted over 4000 participants to a total of 70 lunchtime presentations, and 5 annual health fairs.

All health and wellbeing programs strive to improve health, quality of life, and ultimately lower costs by avoiding medical treatments through healthy lifestyle choices and preventative measures.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

The ability to hold an annual health fair in addition to conducting ongoing events throughout the year using little to no resources is not a model unique to McGill University but one which can be utilized across the board by all universities who have not already introduced their own health and wellbeing initiatives. The planning which goes into hosting the annual Health Fair and the Lunchtime Series at McGill is extensive, however by leveraging existing relationships both internal and external has resulted in attracting a wide range of exhibitors for the Annual Health Fair as well as keynote speakers who are very keen to share their knowledge and expertise. Exhibitors have included internal groups such as Athletics, the Sports Medicine Clinic, University Health & Safety, Food and Dining Services, the School of Dentistry, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and others, each who contribute to increasing awareness and provide tangible ways for members to lead a healthy lifestyle. In the case of external participants, organizations such as the Kidney Foundation have held blood pressure clinics and met individually with members. Featuring a story on how to introduce a health and well-being program on a shoe string budget can illicit interest from other academic institutions and assist them in launching their own programs.

Quality Impact

The program was initiated in 2010 with the objective of creating awareness of the benefits of healthy living and introducing a culture of health and wellness at the University. Initial initiatives included an annual event with the Principal (a walk on campus, yoga on the campus), a series oflunch time presentations, as well as a website dedicated to providing resources on both physical and mental health related topics. The purpose was to reach out to the community to encourage healthy employees to remain healthy, and to assist those that are facing challenges to address ways and means of managing health issues.

Since its inception, the program has attracted over 4000 participants to a total of 70 lunchtime presentations, and 5 annual health fairs. The program has featured quality speakers from within the University community, dealing with various topics related to both physical and mental health.

Survey feedback has indicated that most participants rate the Health and Wellbeing activities as excellent or above average and event attendance continues to grow.

Productivity Impact

According to the World Health Organization, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet play a significant role in the prevention of certain diseases, such as the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. Research has shown that when organizations actively promote health and wellbeing initiatives that employees are more productive and engaged. The objective of the McGill Health and Wellbeing program is to continue to provide employees with information and to promote both physical and mental wellbeing.

Two direct examples of the impact that the program has had are as follows:

1. One of the participants who attended our first Health Fair informed us that it inspired her to adopt healthy eating habits and an exercise routine. This resulted in her losing 70 pounds. This, in tum, inspired her work colleagues to start running as a group.

2. At the time of one of the program events featuring a health clinic, an employee had their blood pressure and glucose testing done and learned of a serious condition which required medical follow-up.


Introducing and maintaining a Health and Wellbeing Program on a shoe string budget requires imagination, creativity as well as innovation. For instance, by networking with the various stakeholders, the program provides both students and faculty members with opportunities to fulfil their obligations with respect to their program requirements. In the case of students, the program allowed them to deliver presentations which is part of their course requirements. For faculty, participating in the lunchtime series allows them to give back to the community.