Wellness Committee Update: Planning for the Future

HNP Communications Friar News

The update below was provided by the chair of the HNP Wellness Committee which since 2006 has been working on a variety of initiatives to educate friars on assorted health topics. In it, he announces friar workshops being planned in Florida and New Jersey.

The HNP Wellness Committee appreciates the friar response to its recent online preference survey, which provided much data to continue selecting topics and planning methods for raising awareness about wellness issues.

Responses indicate that there is a genuine and focused interest in maintaining personal fitness and health. Enthusiasm was particularly noted in the written “other responses” offered. Of particular note was the curiosity about such good things as exercise programs, stress management, relaxation, weight management all of which are “do-able” activities that can be integrated into daily living.

Online Communication
The committee is exploring methods to disseminate this information. We recognize that information technology is one of the best avenues to access the wellness topics of interest identified in the survey, which showed an expressed interest in websites. There are many good websites available — as well as some that may be misleading or of questionable validity. Since many friars have articulated interest in this medium, the committee is reviewing Web-based information.

Suggestions will be periodically posted, along with a brief review by the committee, in the Provincial newsletter. DVDs will also be previewed, discussed and, when duplicated, sent to friaries for individual study or, perhaps, group discussion at house gatherings or chapters.

There is still an overwhelming interest in one-day workshops. The committee concurs that face-to-face, live interaction remains the most effective vehicle for continuing education. As such, and considering the expressed preferences, the committee is planning future workshops.

We recognize the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the past workshop on diabetes awareness. The topics covered in the workshop are extremely relevant to health and well-being of all. Discussed were issues of diet, exercise, and alternative activities. These topics are not just of interest to those concerned about a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition, but to everyone. The professional diabetes educators are informative, entertaining and very accessible. The content provides a healthy and “user friendly” way to approach everyday life.

The first workshop will be in the fall in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be presented before the HNP Guardians Meeting. The next will be held in Butler, N.J., on a date to be determined. They will use as a framework diabetes awareness/education which includes a great variety of wellness issues.

—  Fr. Matthew, an associate professor at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., is chair of the HNP Wellness Committee.