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Pieces of Eight

ECU grounds employee Kenny Lewis has blood drawn for a cholesterol test by Jennifer Haney, a senior exercise physiology student, during an ACT-WEL wellness screening Nov. 28. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Screenings Aim for Better Health at ECU

By Doug Boyd

On a recent Tuesday at the grounds services headquarters near the Belk Building, Ralph Sherrod had just had his cholesterol, height and weight checked and was heading to have his blood pressure and body mass index figured.

“I guess it’s a good idea to know what’s going on,” Sherrod, an ECU grounds employee, said of the wellness checks. “It’s important any way you look at it. If you want to stay alive, it’s important. It’s quick and easy. It sure is painless; ain’t nothing wrong with it.”

Sherrod was taking part in an ACT-WEL wellness screening. ACT-WEL is short for Advisory Council Team for Wellness Education Leadership. It’s an interdisciplinary network whose mission is to create a culture of wellness at ECU and promote well-being through healthful lifestyle and employee wellness programs.

One method ACT-WEL is using is the wellness screenings for facility services employees, said Jessica Peele, a senior exercise physiology major who was coordinating the screenings at the grounds headquarters. Their schedules usually aren’t flexible enough to allow them to take advantage of health fairs and similar opportunities.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for our guys to have this done for free,” said John Gill, assistant director of grounds facilities services. “It’s good they can come in and have it checked, especially around the holidays with everybody eating.”

ACT-WEL is also encouraging faculty and staff members to participate in the Holiday Challenge, an effort to help people maintain their weight during the holidays. It’s part of the statewide Eat Smart, Move More program to help people increase activity, improve their diets and get to a healthy weight.

ECU faculty and staff members can also apply by Dec. 11 to take part in the Fresh Air smoking cessation program at the Eastern Carolina Family Medicine Center. For more information on ACT-WEL, visit or call Karen Summerlin at 328-9885 ( For more on the Holiday Challenge, visit

This page originally appeared in the Dec. 8, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at