The UC San Diego Live Well Healthy Campus Network (HCN) was established in 2017 to build the necessary campus capacity and infrastructure to create a culture of health that is responsive to the values of the UC San Diego community. HCN is led by the Center for Community Health, which is a hub for practitioners and researchers working on population and community health, under the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine. HCN is a multidisciplinary cross-sector initiative comprised of over 100 partners representing all aspects of university life. HCN has established a robust steering committee and six subcommittees focused on improving outcomes in each of the following dimensions of well-being:
- Healthcare—promoting prevention, access to healthcare, and health literacy
- Mental health—addressing mental, social, and behavioral health to enhance overall well-being
- Safety—focusing on personal safety, injury prevention, and emergency preparedness
- Physical activity—enhancing active living and exercise for students, staff, and faculty
- Food— ensuring student food security, promoting consumption of nutritious foods, food waste reduction, and environmental sustainability
- Built environment—infusing principles of health and wellness into campus planning, design, and construction
Demonstrating commitment and institutional loyalty, HCN partners have built a supportive structure with a shared mission, vision, and guiding principles. HCN partners completed an asset map of existing health, nutrition, and wellness environments at UC San Diego and established an action plan outlining short and long-term outcomes. This plan shaped and continues to advance the directives of each of the six dimensions of health and corresponding working groups.
HCN has leveraged an initial investment of $155,000 by the UC Office of the President with an estimated $85,000 worth of in-kind support from HCN partners and grants. This also includes training and technical assistance from regional, state and national partners for program implementation, staff hours, materials, equipment, and food. Our shared commitment has yielded more than 7,000 hours in combined time HCN partners spent beyond regular job duties within the past year. HCN is transforming our university culture by dismantling organizational silos, building effective partnerships, and enhancing dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship.
Key Accomplishments: Improving Health, Well-Being, and Equity
- Strengthening System Integration – With the adoption of Health in All Policies (HiAP), health is now embedded in the UC San Diego Long-Range Development Plan. HiAP guidelines are a roadmap for a transformative, collaborative approach to improving well-being in our community by consciously and systemically incorporating health, sustainability, and equity.
- Improving Efficiency in Food Systems & Procurement – Joint efforts of UC San Diego Main Campus and UC San Diego Health Systems have led to cost savings on procurement by leveraging purchasing power between nutrition services at Housing Dining and Hospitality (HDH) and Jacobs Medical Center. Additionally, HDH, Triton Food Pantry, and Health Systems have used the HCN platform to commit to and incorporate sustainable systems changes specific to garden-to-cafe procurement, food waste prevention, and addressing hunger through food access.
- Fostering Collaborations to Assess Programs – MindWell U is a 30-day online mindfulness challenge for faculty, staff, and students to help decrease stress and improve resilience. Evaluation of the effectiveness of this program is currently underway for 250 faculty and staff participants.
- Implementing Practical Strategies & Shared Values – The Stair Well Campaign, a UC-wide HCN project, demonstrated that placing prompts at point-of-decision locations within Urey Hall significantly improved physical activity. There is potential to positively affect physical activity among staff, students, and faculty by expanding the Stair Well campaign to other campus buildings.
- Integrating Health Services – The Workplace Wellness Program is a cross-collaboration between HCN Move Well and Mind Well working groups, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, and UC San Diego Recreation. The program aims to improve wellness by encouraging regular exercise and healthy eating habits and providing mental health resources for campus-based faculty and staff.
HCN is responding to a compelling need, creating cross-sector relationships where none existed before, and incorporating an inclusive voice. With a focus on health and equity, HCN provides a space for relationship development and collaboration on intersecting goals across many interdisciplinary departments.