Be Smart About Safety

UC WorkStrong Program Testimonials

Recognizing the value of a systematic, customiz­able approach to overall health, the University introduced the UC WorkStrong program, an oc­cupational wellness initiative designed to promote recovery and prevent future workplace injuries. The program was developed with the expertise and col­laborative support of UC staff in wellness programs, occupational health and recreational sports.

The system wide goal is to have 500 additional graduates by July of 2013.  The first WorkStrong referral was made on December 2, 2011 and the first participant started on January 17, 2012 at the UC Davis Medical Center.

For the last 7 years we have consistently reduced our new claims through the effective use of the Be Smart About Safety program.  WorkStrong allows us to take injury prevention to a new level while also helping to improve the overall health and wellbeing of our participants.

In the upcoming year we intend to continue communication of our program in collaboration with our occupational health physicians, our wellness staff, and our recreational sports staff.

Our WorkStrong participants say it best:

Our latest WorkStrong graduate had such great change from start to finish that I wanted to share the great news.

She started the program as someone who did not exercise, and ate no fruits and vegetables at all, and not much protein.  She was a bit resistant with making changes to her eating habits, and the Dietician felt a bit discouraged by the end of their sessions.  But she’s a real pro and just kept working with the employee week after week.  There was about a month lag time due to the holiday break between her last visit with the dietician and my meeting with her yesterday.  During that time she really decided to take the ball and run with it!  She now is eating regular meals that include fruits and veggies, and some protein…and she is loving it!  She’s starting trying new foods and feels much better.  More good results…she couldn’t stop talking about how much her personal trainer has helped her, and how she learned in WorkStrong how to avoid future injuries at work by learning how to bend and lift and position her body more safely on the job.  She’s had 2 back injuries from lifting children in a special needs program here.

She was kind of a tough cookie for the dietician, but it just shows that you never know who you are making a difference for, and this is a great example.

Exit Interview with a WorkStrong graduate:

She was beaming when she came in for her Exit interview.  She is a slight lady, and works in Dining.  She was at a reasonable weight already, but lost 8.5” from her waist and hips during the program and looks visibly more toned and trim.  The best thing about WorkStrong for her is that she learned to release her tense neck after a long work day.  She told me today that she has now been going to spinning class and wants to now climb the rock wall at the John Wooden Center…this from someone who didn’t even exercise before the program!  The change in her personality and demeanor was stunning.  She said she feels great, and has been sharing the wonders of WorkStrong with everyone who will listen in her department and beyond.

Let me say thank you for how much this WorkStrong program has been putting me on way of recovery.

Your team of professionals has been doing a great job in providing me the physical therapy sessions with Amy, in advising me on diet matters from Yumi, and strain -relieving massages, by Kerry,  in such a short while that I feel totally different from the recent past situation. Now, my pain diminishes, my strength gradually coming back, and I have been back on half day work at ECEC for several weeks already.

I am so pleased to tell you: I owe you a lot in letting me in such a wonderful rehab program.

Substitute teacher at ECEC

I can’t thank the work strong program enough for the gift they have given me.  After years of injuries derailing my career this program gave me the chance to reevaluate what I was doing and finally make the changes needed. The health coaches, dietician and massage therapist were all first class.  This is truly a wonderful program!

Housing, Dining & Hospitalities, Food Services – UC San Diego

Thinking back to when I first received the letter informing me that I was selected to participate in a new program at UCSD, I was not sure if I would benefit. I was on a Workers Compensation claim after a fall and my progress was so slow. Then I saw that the Doctor who was promoting the WorkStrong Program was the same Doctor that I was seeing for my Workers Comp claim – on my next visit with her, I inquired about WorkStrong.

She was so excited that I had received an invitation and told me all about this wonderful program and I decided to give it a try. I feel so fortunate to have been selected and that I was able to participate. There were some setbacks in the beginning trying to fit it into my work schedule – but the WorkStrong Staff were SO understanding and helpful; they worked the program around my needs and availability and for that I am so grateful!

This is a whole body approach to wellness – for me it was customized exercise programs for my needs, nutrition information, and massage and balance testing too.

I have started swimming and walking again and it feels great! I have told people that my health coach taught me to “walk and breathe” – correctly! Who knew I had developed bad habits over the years.

I want to thank Jonna , Yumi, Rhonda & Most of all Adam. For the Work strong program.

When my doctor asked me if I wanted to participate in a new program, we talked about how it would work and I told her I would think about it and let her know. I went to my next visit with her and said I do want to participate. I have gained so much core strength. The main reason I went was for serious hip pain. The pain came back a few times during the program but Adam showed me how to work out the pain myself. 

Massage is the last thing I thought would help me. I was against it from the start since I don’t like anyone touching my body, but I took my trainer Adams advice and went. He said “if you don’t like it do not go again”. I was begging for more tickets to go. The combination of changing diet and exercises along with massage was incredible. I can say that I have learned new ways to eat and am now aware of how my body works. At the end of the program I was sad it was over. I truly enjoyed the experience and wish anyone with pain would try this. They won’t be disappointed.

Housing, Maintenance Mechanic – UC San Diego

The UC Davis WorkStrong program changed my life!

For years I had been telling myself I need to exercise more and eat better. Every New Year I made those same resolutions. But somehow I never got around to it, until I was invited to participate in WorkStrong. With Stacey’s help, I was able to set both short and long-term goals that were realistic, measurable, attainable, and that I felt strongly about. They were personal to me, not just things I “should” do. And with Bob’s expert guidance, I learned exercises that allowed me to gain strength, balance, and stamina, and that, very importantly, I could do at home without expensive equipment. Bob and Stacey both encouraged me to meet my goals, and with their help I stayed on course, developed new healthy habits, and met my short-term goals.

If you are interested in changing to a healthier lifestyle, WorkStrong will give you the tools to do it! I’ve made improvements in my diet and exercise habits that I expect to last a lifetime. Because of WorkStrong I discovered that I do have the ability to make those changes.

This program is very beneficial, and I hope many more people will be able to join the program. It worked for me, and I am very grateful for being allowed to participate.

UC Davis Extension

After a work-related shoulder/arm injury, I was lucky enough to participate in the WorkStrong program.  This program challenged me to develop a regular strength and cardio exercise program, better eating habits, and stress-reducing skills.  I can truly say that the program changed my life for the better because I have grown in all three areas. 

Although I was already following a home strength exercise program, the workouts with Bob Randall increased my knowledge of the different strength exercises that can be used and aren’t as stressful to the joints (i.e., the bands which were used for various exercises).  I have now purchased and used these bands at home on a regular basis.  I was able to see my body changing with the 12-week workout schedule.  And these changes were verified by the intermittent weight and measurements recorded by Occupational Health. 

I was challenged by Stacey to find a cardio exercise that I would commit to on a regular basis.  At that time, I was not getting any cardio in my workout.  I knew I wasn’t a runner, so I was at a loss of what I could do.  We finally agreed I would try to ride my bike 3 times a week for 45 minutes in the morning before work.  Wow, I am so glad I started doing that.  I now have found a way to get regular cardio and I enjoy it so much!  Every morning that I ride, it is so peaceful and makes me feel so happy.  I know I will continue this for the rest of my life!

I already have fairly healthy eating habits, but Stacey encouraged me to include more vegetables, which have been my downfall.  Just to fulfill her request, I started eating a baggie full of spinach, broccoli, and carrots every day.  I continue that habit to this day, and I am so proud of myself.  It is, along with my bike riding, a part of my regular routine now.  I pay more attention to the way I can include vegetables in my other meals, too.

Once again I was challenged by Stacey to make sure I found time to de-stress.  She held me accountable to listening to meditation or inspirational speakers.  Because I was being held accountable, I started doing this just to fulfill her request.  But I also have made that a part of my regular routine during the morning when I am getting ready for work.  Even my husband has noticed that I am much more calm when I keep up this practice. 

Well for me it was an eye opener when it came to learning about form, posture, balance and getting and staying strong.

The massages were helpful and relaxing, the advice given by the dietician was informative and interesting, the physical training was the best of all, so great that I am still continuing to train so I can get stronger and learn more about my body and techniques to continue staying strong.

I am very appreciative for this program. Thank you!

Sports Facilites, Concessions Manager – UC San Diego

I was very pleased with my experience in the WorkStrong program. When I received my invitation to participate, I was a little reluctant due to my very busy work schedule. However, I decided to participate hoping this was a “sign” for me to jump start a healthier life style and it was. Not only am I eating healthier, but I now have a fitness regime that works for me. None of this could be possible without the help and guidance of Jonna Haupu, Adam Dobler, and Mayumi Petrisko.  

Mayumi’s meal plan is tailored to not make it seem like I am dieting but making healthier choices and she gave me a really good chicken recipe!

Adam, my trainer, was patient and used just the right amount of motivation to help me realize what I can physically do to start exercising. It was like having a life coach and a trainer in one! He taught me an exercise routine that I can easily manage and do at home or in the gym. I feel stronger now.

Jonna’s reminders were equally beneficial on the weeks and days I felt there is no way I am going to continue in the program.

I have tried many times to start and maintain a healthier life style and exercise routine. However, I realize that for me and other busy professionals, sometimes it takes a “village” to get us going. Without the team of Jonna, Adam, and Mayumi, my village, I would not be where I am today.

Thank you.

HR Manager – UC San Diego

WorkStrong has helped me both mentally and physically by offering me the tools to live a healthier life without taking away the things I love about life.  At first I was timid about getting advice on my nutrition and my exercise habits, but everyone was great at evaluating and providing subtle changes to my lifestyle that have made a drastically positive effect on my health.  Thank you all for your help, passion, and dedication!

Trauma Tech – UC San Diego, Medical Center  

I feel really good. My health coach, Bruce is working on all the exercises that I need to keep doing after he’s finished with me. I’m really glad you picked him for me because he is really good and knows a lot of stuff and Yumi, what can I say about her, she is the best of the best and she helped me out a few weeks ago with a lot of nutrition information when I suffered from a condition. Thank you Jonna for all the work and dedication of the team you have. You guys are doing a very good job.

Housing, Painter – UC San Diego

I feel so lucky to have been a part of the WorkStrong program. When I started, I was ready to make a change in my life, but was unsure if I could really do it. With the support of Stacey – my wellness coach, Matt – my trainer, and the rest of the people who make WorkStrong possible, I am truly at a better place in my life. I am stronger, healthier, and feel all around better. I went from barely being able to do a push up to being able to do 24 knee pushups and I am now actually able to do a full push up. I never thought I would be able to do that. I also raised my HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol as they say. Another thing I never thought I would do. I also was able to take my body fat percentage from around 45% to 33%. This is an exciting time for me. I didn’t even realize when I started this program that I was eating 3 times the amount of daily-recommended salt. No wonder my blood pressure was a problem. I am still on medication, but for the first time in a while I think eventually I may not be. I feel that not just the personal training, but also having someone encouraging you, coaching you each week makes a huge difference. Making goals and accomplishing them makes you that much more successful. Thank you Stacey, Matt, and WorkStrong! I would definitely recommend WorkStrong because it will change your life for the better! 

Before I started training with Matt, I could barely do a lunge without needing to hold on to something. My family would joke about how weak I was and never ask me to help when any heavy lifting was involved. Now I can do 20 lunges with over 50lbs of extra weight, do a 110lb dead lift, over 20 push ups at a time, and so much more. My family definitely includes me in all moving projects now. I feel as if I am finally strong. What I enjoyed about working with Matt was that he was always willing to answer questions. He was always encouraging. Some other exciting changes were that I went from barely being able to hold a plank for 18 seconds to holding one for 83 seconds. I never thought that I would ever be able to do that in my life. The most exciting part of this process for me has been the building of muscle. I have lost over 30lbs of fat and replaced it with muscle. I couldn’t have done this without Matt. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement! 

My pain has gone away (after a year of pain).  I am healthier in every sense of the word – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this WorkStrong program – thank you!

Executive Assistant – Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI)