Let’s face it: Sometimes, it’s difficult to set health goals and work towards them, whether you’re looking to lose a few pounds, better manage a health condition or train to run or walk a 5k.

The good news? Support, and a little extra motivation, is available. Just ask UC employees who are currently working with a UC Living Well Wellness Coach.

“It’s been helpful to have someone who is neutral in your court. I have lost inches and feel better,” said Kristine Specht, academic personnel coordinator, UC Riverside, who has been working one-to-one with a UC Living Well wellness coach to get back in shape after having a baby last year.

Specht, along with 11 others from across the UC system won a drawing for a FitBit® Flex™, a device that tracks physical activity and calories burned, just for enrolling in wellness coaching during April. This offer will be available again during September.

Wellness coaching is available through UC Living Well’s partner, Optum Wellness. Faculty, staff and retirees*, as well as their spouses and partners, who are enrolled in a UC-sponsored medical plan are eligible to participate in wellness coaching.

In addition to the extra motivation and rewards, wellness coaching provides convenience and accountability. “I like that the wellness coaching calls are quick and focused, without feeling rushed. With my health coach, I have come up with some small changes to implement in the short term to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the long term,” said Indu Sanwal, strategic development manager, UCLA.

Celestine Fry, administrative assistant for the Department of Radiology & Bio-Medical Imaging at UC San Francisco, has been working with a coach since February and has lost 12 pounds. She also reported improved cholesterol, A1C and blood sugar numbers.

Added Victor Ho, assistant director of financial aid, UC Hastings, "My coach was friendly and professional and very helpful. I strongly recommend coaching to anyone who hasn’t done it yet.”

By offering wellness coaching, UC is working to establish a culture of healthy living across all UC locations. To encourage participation, eligible employees and retirees can earn a $75 gift card for taking part in coaching and a variety of other UC Living Well activities, such as completing a health profile quiz or attending an on-campus wellness event.

Want to get that same level of motivation, support and accountability to help you reach your health goals, as well as a chance to win your own FitBit? Contact your location’s wellness coordinator or the Optum wellness specialist who supports your area:

Northern UC Locations

Jessi Bush: 407-375-6446; jessalynn.bush@optum.com

Southern UC Locations

Sandy Wilson: 480-296-8696; sandy.wilson@optum.com

To be eligible for the next FitBit drawing, you must enroll in wellness coaching during the month of September through your Optum wellness specialist and complete at least one coach call by October 30. One FitBit® Flex™, a $99.95 value, will be awarded per UC location. Winners will be notified in November.

To learn more about UC Living Well and Wellness Coaching, visit uclivingwell.ucop.edu.


*Employees, retirees, spouses, and domestic partners are welcome and encouraged to participate in UC Living Well programs and eligible for the FitBit® Flex™ giveaway. Only employees and retirees are eligible to earn incentive points toward the $75 gift card. If you are a member of certain unions, you may not be eligible. For more information, visit uclivingwell.ucop.edu.