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Wellness Week 2021

Event Descriptions and Recordings

All recordings will be available for a month — click the links below to view. Click here to view the 2021 Virtual Wellness Scholarship Expo featuring scholarly works on wellness by SOM faculty. Click here to view the Tar Heal Paws at work!

Ayurveda for Health, Vitality and Longevity | Marc Edwards, MD | [access the recording]

Description: Dr. Edwards will provide a brief overview of Ayurveda, the Science of Life, and how it can be used to enhance health, vitality and longevity. He will be available at the end to address any questions.

Bio: Dr. Edwards, a board-certified family physician, has studied and practiced Ayurveda since 1984. He serves as adjunct faculty for the UNC School of Medicine and Maharishi International University. He also has 30 years of experience in healthcare management and consulting, along with numerous publications in the field of healthcare quality improvement and integrative medicine. You can learn more about him at

Chair Yoga/Stretching | Dani Shirey, ME | [access the recording]

Description: Dani will provide a brief overview of yoga, the benefit of stretching throughout the day, and how it a yoga practice can benefit your wellness. She will then lead a chair yoga session with modifications. She will be available for any questions at the end.

Bio: Dani Shirey is an avid yoga practitioner who plans to receive her Yoga Teacher Training in the near future. Dani has practiced yoga since 2015 when she first tried yoga for stress relief and fell in love. Dani believes that everyone can practice yoga by listening to your body and moving how your body needs.  She hopes to have a combination yoga studio and soap shop one day. Dani is an Executive Assistant in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

Coping and Resilience | Seema Patidar, PhD | [access the recording]

Description: In this workshop, Dr. Patidar will briefly review the various ways individuals respond to stressful events, with the goal of increasing awareness of individual coping styles. Resilience will be introduced and strategies for fostering resilience will be presented.

Bio: Dr. Patidar is an Associate Professor in the UNC Department of Anesthesiology. She completed her undergraduate degree at here at UNC, and graduate training in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida at Gainesville. She is a pain psychologist in our UNC Pain Clinic and specializes in addressing chronic pain, palliative care, women’s health and exploring the role of stress/trauma on health outcomes.

Create Your Wellness Plan for Success | Julie McNamara, MS | [access the recording]

Description: Julie will help attendees learn how to “Create a Wellness Plan” in this session. The goal is to help people tie together all of the tips they are learning throughout Wellness Week, and to move from vision to concrete plan.

Bio: Julie McNamara, MS is the Health Education Manager at UNC Wellness Centers. Julie graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and Master’s in Exercise and Health Studies and is certified by Wellcoaches as a Health and Wellness Coach. Julie oversees the Health Education department, which serves to educate members and the community by developing and delivering programs and services that positively impact health and well-being.

The UNC Wellness Center offers UNC Employee discount on membership. The center offers:

  • Olympic indoor pool
  • Indoor track
  • Cardiovascular and strength training equipment
  • Free weights
  • Multipurpose room for indoor basketball and volleyball
  • Group Fitness Classes included with membership
  • Massage Therapy
  • Nutrition Services
  • Physical Therapy
  • Health Education

Visit for more information.

Cultivate Calm with Mindfulness Techniques | Paula Huffman BS, RN, ERYT | [access the recording]

Description: Mindfulness practice develops a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. This brief workshop focuses on mindfulness for calming the anxious mind and overall stress reduction.

Bio: Paula Huffman is a mindfulness instructor and has worked as a professional in Health and Education services for over 40 years. Her experience in providing wellness services to both patients and students is vast. She has taught with UNC’s Program on Integrative Medicine, Mindfulness program for 11 years after having completed intensive studies with the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS.

It’s OK Not To Be OK: Using #Vulnerability to Change The Culture of Healthcare And Normalize Asking for Help | Jessica Gold, MD, MS | [access the recording]

Dr. Gold also writes for the popular press and has been featured in, among others, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, TIME, and Self. She writes a column for InStyle called “I’m A Psychiatrist And..” and is a Forbes contributor. Dr. Gold is actively working on a book about healthcare worker mental health and burnout during the pandemic for Simon Element and is a member of the Expert Advisory Council for the Viacom CBS Mental Health Storytelling Initiative and Co-author of the Mental Health Media Guide.

Bio: Jessi Gold, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Wellness, Engagement, and Outreach in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. She is a nationally recognized expert on healthcare worker mental health and burnout (particularly during the pandemic), college mental health, using social media and media for mental health advocacy, and the overlap between pop culture and mental health, including celebrity self-disclosure.  She works clinically as an outpatient psychiatrist and sees primarily college and graduate students, as well as faculty, staff, and hospital employees. Dr. Gold is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. and M.S in Anthropology, the Yale School of Medicine, and completed her residency training in Adult Psychiatry at Stanford University where she served as chief resident.

Dr. Gold was our keynote speaker for UNC Wellness Week 2021.

Nutrition and Wellness: Mediterranean Diet | Melissa Cranford, RD/LDN | [access the recording]

Description: Melissa Cranford will provide a brief overview of the Mediterranean diet, effectiveness on weight management and overall health. She will be available for a few minutes at the end for questions.

Bio: Melissa Cranford, RD/LDN holds a B.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition from Keiser University and a certificate in Obesity Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Melissa has worked as a Weight Loss Dietitian at UNC weight clinic since 2018. She works primarily with the obese and critically obese populations, providing nutrition counselling and healthy lifestyle recommendations.

Optimizing Sleep Health | Skye Margolies, PhD | [access the recording]

Description: This will be an interactive talk in which we will review the basics of sleep, discuss why many of us have experienced disrupted sleep in the setting of the global pandemic, and review strategies for optimizing sleep health. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about individual experiences.

Bio: Skye Margolies, PhD is a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. Her clinical interests are in acceptance-based approaches for chronic pain and sleep disturbance. She is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine and currently serves as the chair of the education committee for the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Protecting Your Neck and Back While Working at Your Desk | Nicholas Wise, DC, MS | [access the recording]

Description: Dr. Wise will be speaking about and demonstrating postural adjustments to facilitate ease and enhance musculoskeletal wellness, while working at one’s desk.

Bio: Dr. Nicholas Wise, DC, MS is an experienced chiropractor and former NIH T32 post-doctoral research fellow at the Program on Integrative Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), with a Masters of Science in Clinical Research degree from UNC Gillings School of Public Health. He now serves as adjunct faculty in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a board member of the North American Association for Laser Therapy (NAALT) and the developer of Cranial Laser Reflex Technique.

Tai Chi for Energetic Balance | Jay Dunbar, PhD | [access the recording]

Description: Dr. Dunbar will provide a brief overview of tai chi practice and how a tai chi practice can benefit wellness. He will then lead a tai chi practice. He will be available for a few minutes at the end to address any questions.

Bio: Jay Dunbar, Ph.D. received his doctorate at UNC-CH in Education and is director of the Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School ( An “indoor” student of Grandmaster Jou Tsung Hwa, he has studied taijiquan and qigong since 1975, and he has taught in the Triangle area since 1979.

Using the Wheel of Wellness to Promote Personal Well-being | Jessica Barnhill, MD, MPH | [access the recording]

Description: Dr. Barnhill will be speaking about the Use of the Wheel of Wellness in clinical care and for enhancing personal health and wellness.

Bio: Dr. Jessica Barnhill is a board-certified Family Medicine Physician. She completed an NIH T32 post-doctoral research fellowship at the Program on Integrative Medicine, and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). She sees patients for individual consults as well as offering Integrative Medical Group Visits.

Wellness into the Holidays | Nadia Charguia, MD, Chrystal Schiller, PhD | [access the recording]

Description: Drs. Charguia and Schiller will discuss common stressors encountered leading up to the holiday season and coping strategies that can help to stay healthy, happy, and balanced.

Bio: Nadia Charguia, MD is an Associate Professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Taking Care of Our Own program. She is also the Medical Director of UNC Psychiatry Outpatient Clinics. Crystal Schiller, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Perinatal Psychiatry Program in the UNC Department of Psychiatry.

Wellness Resources at UNC/Mental Health 1st Aid | Nadia Charguia, MD | [access the recording]

Description: Dr. Charguia will provide an overview of wellbeing resources available through UNC Health and the UNC Department of Psychiatry. She will review a number of self-help resources, crisis support services, and personal care resources. She will also give a brief overview what is covered in the virtual 2-day (6-hour) Mental Health First Aid training. Resources can be found here:

Bio: Nadia Charguia, MD is an Associate Professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Taking Care of Our Own program. She is also the Medical Director of UNC Psychiatry Outpatient Clinics.

Yoga for Restoring Body and Mind | Laura Terry, PT, E-RYT | [access the recording]

Description: Laura will provide a brief overview of yoga practice, the mind/body connection, and how yoga can help with stress, burnout and other physical and emotional concerns. She will then lead a gentle/accessible practice for 30 minutes. She will be available for a few minutes at the end to address any questions.

Bio: Laura Terry has been a physical therapist since 1998 and a yoga instructor since 2008. Laura combines the science of physical therapy and the mind/body integration of yoga in her teaching. Laura has her own private practice of Yoga and Physical Therapy ( in Chapel Hill. She is one of the lead trainers for “Lead with Compassion 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training” ( hosted by the UNC Program on Integrative Medicine.