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The Faculty Satisfaction Committee has explored and evaluated an initiative to improve employee morale and wellness. In the interest of wellness innovation, increasing faculty and staff morale during the difficulties of the COVID pandemic, with the support of our Chair, a program of “Wellness Min-Grants” for the faculty, APPs and staff employed by the Department of Neurology of the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Neurology Meadowmont Clinic Staff.

In our discussions, we identified limitations to traditional wellness activities that are offered in our system. First, the activities are scheduled in conflict with our work schedules and announced with short notice, thus making participation difficult. Second, these activities involve complicated logistics with no post-activity continuity. Third, the bigger the activity the less likely for participants to form enjoyable low-pressure conversations.

Our Wellness Mini-Grants programs approaches these limitations head on. The objective is for small groups of staff (5-15 people), with common interests, propose and plan an activity they find enjoyable and personally productive. After Faculty Satisfaction Committee review and with the consent of the Chair, a small grant would be awarded to support the group in their proposal.

Knowing that our department employs around 100 people, we can expect that 10-15 grants of $100-250 dollars can support groups without excluding interested participants. We are assuming at this time a one-year pilot budget of $2,500 from our department.

Some basic rules:

  1. We encourage activities that improve physical and mental health through movement, healthy discussions, and fun.
  2. University, SOM, UNC Health and Neurology Department policies need to be followed, especially pandemic regulations.
  3. COVID precautions need to be followed always. Innovative models of Zoom meetings are encouraged, and if meeting in person, then appropriate social distancing rules are to be followed.
  4. Nobody in the eligible population is to be excluded.
  5. The project works on an opt-in basis, groups should announce the activities they are working on before submission to engage colleagues.
  6. If many people are interested in the same activity, it is reasonable to split the activity in different sessions.

Please submit Mini Grant proposals to in the form of a 1 page plan, including comments on how will the grant funds are to be used, and how the activity may improve morale and wellness.

The Committee looks forward to reviewing ideas and proposals. We expect to review on a first come first serve basis.


The Faculty Satisfaction Committee