Creating a Culture of Health and Wellbeing
by: Jaclyn Brass
Office of Sustainability Intern
Tammy Hollis has become a force for health, wellness and sustainability on Auburn’s campus.
Tammy believes in the power of individual wellness in leading a sustainable life because she asserts that without health, it’s difficult to care about the big picture, much less work toward a sustainable future.
Since its reintroduction in 2010, Hollis has coordinated the Healthy Tigers initiative, a screening process for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose that offers employees a monthly $25 discount on health insurance.
Tammy believes that, for many employees, the program delivers awareness and knowledge that can serve as a tipping point toward a healthy and more sustainable lifestyle.
“We have built the program to become more than just a screening process,” Tammy explained. “We’ve built it to be a catalyst to initiate a culture of health and wellness in Auburn’s employees, their families, and friends.”
The original program began in 2008, but it did not offer incentive programs. In 2010, the program reemerged with monetary incentives, and in the first year it saved lives.
“We had one employee, a young tri-athlete and the picture of health, who had cholesterol just one point above what we wanted to see,” Tammy recalled. “We asked him to see his doctor, and they ended up finding kidney cancer that could have become life-threatening or fatal if not for the early detection and screening process.”
Tammy’s passion for health and wellness stems from her strong belief that many of the issues we face today can be reversed or repaired with simple changes. She also believes awareness can jump start this process.
“I’ve watched my parents age and have seen the health issues they face,” Tammy said. “Many of their issues could have been prevented if they had information early on about how to live healthier lifestyles.”
Although the program is already successful, Tammy foresees it growing in the next few years to become a more comprehensive approach to health that infiltrates Auburn’s culture.
“There are many realms of health and wellness: physical, mental, spiritual, and financial, and all of these interconnected factors impact health,” Tammy said.
Many resources, such as counseling and personal training already exist on campus, and Tammy aims to connect and communicate these resources as the Healthy Tigers program grows and expands.
“Right now we just reached the point where most employees know what Healthy Tigers is, but we’re ready to take it a step further than the screening process. We’re going to be adding things to the program to make it better and to make it into more of a sustainable lifetime lifestyle approach rather than just come do your screening and your finished,” Tammy revealed.
Tammy believes that in the big picture of a sustainable world where natural, social and economic systems each prosper, individual health and wellness is the first step. “If we don’t have health, we don’t have anything,” Tammy said. “We’re not going to be good employees, and we’re not going to care about recycling, sustainability or the campus programs that further those goals.”
“I see that change has happened and it will continue to happen, and I am so excited because finally I am seeing things happen, and I have hopefully had a hand in making a difference,” Tammy said.
With a background in family and child services, Tammy left Auburn as a new graduate with high hopes and a desire to change the world. After several years away, she returned to Auburn and has worked in various positions on campus for the last 26 years. Her enthusiasm and dedication are evident throughout campus, and she has positively impacted Auburn’s community.
“I just happen to be the catalyst that communicates this program and other resources to the employees,” Tammy said humbly. “It is true that we are a family at Auburn, a very big one, but still family, and I want to do things to help my family by helping them become healthy and well.”
For more information please visit the Healthy Tigers website.