January 11, 2018

Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich has issued an official proclamation declaring Feb. 14 as Million Hearts® Day in the state of Ohio.

“We are thrilled that the governor has recognized this important national and statewide initiative to save lives by raising awareness of key strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women of all races and ethnicities, yet 80 percent of CVD is preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviors. The national Million Hearts® Initiative is a collaborative effort to increase education about risk factors and save lives by helping people make heart-healthy choices.

The Ohio State University partnered with Million Hearts® when it began five years ago, the first university-wide partnership. This year, hundreds of biometric screenings will be offered to Ohio State faculty and staff on Valentine’s Day in the College of Nursing at Newton Hall, located at 1585 Neil Ave.

“Ohio State has a goal to be the healthiest campus in the world,” said Melnyk. “Partnering with Million Hearts® and offering screenings around Valentine’s Day is a reminder to everyone that we can engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors to promote optimal health and well-being.”

This year, Melnyk has also promoted screenings at campuses and communities across the state through the newest Million Hearts® partner, the Ohio Council of Deans and Directors (OCDD), which includes 42 colleges and nursing schools.

“The interest in participating in this program is strong among our nursing colleges,” said Melnyk, who serves as the group’s current president. “We are excited that several of the schools have already scheduled screenings for this week, and we know that others will follow throughout the year.”

The Million Hearts® Initiative began in 2012 with an ambitious goal to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 150 organizations, including The Ohio State University, joined the initiative and designed a variety of innovative strategies to improve cardiovascular health around the nation. The success of the initiative heralds a renewed effort to save more American lives by preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2022.

At Ohio State, the College of Nursing launched the Million Hearts interprofessional educational module as part of its National Interprofessional Education and Practice Consortium to Advance Million Hearts®

The Million Hearts® program encourages simple and healthy actions that can provide reduced heart attack and stroke rates. The pillars of the Million Hearts® initiative are the ABCS of care:

  • A - aspirin when appropriate
  • B - blood-pressure control
  • C - cholesterol management
  • S - smoking cessation

Because stress is another major factor that places individuals at risk for heart attack and stroke, Ohio State also recognizes stress reduction as a second “S” during preventive screenings.

A free webinar will provide more information about the educational module on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Dial-in telephone number: 1-877-820-7831
Participant Passcode: 636580#

Million Hearts® screenings are also being held at Cedarville University, Malone University, Muskingum University, Ohio Christian University, Ursuline College, University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Screening participants will learn their risk factors for heart attacks and stroke and will receive information on improving their heart health.

September 23, 2017

The Ohio State University received national accolades for its tobacco-free policy as the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) presented its Silver Award in the HHS Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (TFCCI).

Capt. Jim Lando, regional health administrator for the HHS, presented the award to Ohio State’s tobacco-free implementation committee and executive sponsors today, highlighting Ohio State’s comprehensive policy.

“We help students prepare for productive lives after they leave Ohio State. One of the most important assets they can take with them is their health and wellness,” said Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for student life at The Ohio State University. “This award recognizes our efforts to provide students with the opportunity to have a bright, healthy future.”

“Here at Ohio State, we are deeply committed to building the healthiest university in the world,” Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University and associate vice president for health promotion said. “Creating a culture and environment of wellness is key to promoting and sustaining healthy lifestyle behaviors and making healthy choices the easy choices for our students, faculty and staff to make. Our tobacco-free initiative is one of many key initiatives to improve our population’s health and wellness.”

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the use of all types of tobacco products is prohibited in all university buildings and on all university-owned properties, including parking lots, garages and all outside areas. (Read the full policy at tobaccofree.osu.edu.)

“Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicle crashes, homicide, suicide, illegal drugs and fires combined,” Lando, said. “Almost all smokers begin tobacco use by age 26, making college and university campuses a critical target for tobacco-use prevention and cessation efforts.”

In order to qualify for the TFCCI award and carry the title of tobacco-free, colleges must adhere to a number of criteria including but not limited to: not having tobacco-related advertising or sponsorship permitted on campus property and the prevention of sale of any tobacco product or paraphernalia produced by the university for distribution on campus.

The TFCCI Challenge's ultimate goal is to have all colleges and universities be 100-percent smoke or tobacco free by 2017.

April 17, 2017

Senior nursing students in the College of Nursing at Ohio State have developed a comprehensive initiative designed to offer support to people with mental health issues and give friends and family resources for providing assistance. They enlisted Football Coach Urban Meyer, Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston, Vice President for Wellness Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, as well as dozens of students, to “pledge to help” via a video now posted on YouTube. A second video that provides a mental health First Aid Kit is also available.

Called “I will help you,” the program includes two online videos, a website and four educational modules tailored specifically for educators, healthcare providers, law enforcement officials and for anyone who wants to learn how to help. The modules provide guidance on how to identify individuals who may be struggling and how to assure them that they are not alone. The website also includes a module for anyone who may need help themselves and provides resources for these individuals.

“I wanted to provide guidance and allow the students the freedom to bring their own creativity to the issue,” said Kate Gawlik, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, assistant professor of clinical practice at the College of Nursing. A $5,000 curriculum grant provided the resources needed to create the videos and website.

As part of their final leadership class, the 81 students who worked on this project are envisioning an educated and supportive society in which individuals with mental-health disorders will not feel alone. This initiative will spread awareness and provide skills and resources for friends and family to identify and assist individuals who are struggling with mental-health issues. Everyone can join the initiative by taking the pledge to help those who are suffering and pledge to heal if you are suffering.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that, in any given year, one in five adults in the United States will suffer with mental illness. This same prevalence is seen in teenagers. Many people do not seek help because of the perceived stigma attached to admitting they need assistance.

Visit the initiative website for more information and to take the pledge: go.osu.edu/iwillhelpyou.

You can also follow the initiative on social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/iwillhelpyou
Twitter: @IWillHelpYouOrg
Instagram: @i_will_help_you_initiative

February 15, 2017

Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the lobby of Newton Hall located at 1585 Neil Ave., you can learn more about the process of donating bone marrow and find out if you're eligible. Commit to saving the life of someone with blood cancer! Faculty and staff at the Ohio State College of Nursing will provide free baked goodies for participants. A simple cheek swab may set you on the path to giving a cancer patient a second chance at life. Representatives from Be the Match Registry will be on hand to provide more information.

January 25, 2017

The Ohio State University Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron, along with Sheldon M. Retchin, MD, MSPH, executive vice president of health sciences and CEO of the Wexner Medical Center, announced today the recommended reappointment of Bernadette M. Melnyk, PHD, RN, CPNP, as dean of the College of Nursing and university chief wellness officer, effective immediately and subject to approval of the university board of trustees. In addition, they recommended a promotion from associate vice president for health promotion to vice president for health promotion. Her appointment will continue through December 2022.


Their announcement included a brief overview of her accomplishments: Under Dean Melnyk’s leadership, the College of Nursing developed a new, five-year strategic plan. This plan advanced the college in several important ways, including more than doubling its growth in graduate enrollment, adding 40 new faculty members and establishing three new interprofessional degrees. In addition, the College of Nursing more than tripled its But for Ohio State campaign goal, including a $6.5 million gift to establish the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice. The college also strengthened its financial base and earned a significant rise in both U.S. News & World Report and NIH-funding rankings.


Melnyk created Ohio State’s One University Health & Wellness Council, which generates and oversees the university’s strategic wellness plan to become the world’s healthiest university. She also chaired the first National Summit for Building Healthy Universities with more than 300 leaders from 93 Universities. In addition, she founded the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities, a growing national organization with representation of more than 40 universities. She served as the consortium’s first president, with Ohio State as its administrative home.


Prior to joining Ohio State’s faculty in 2011, Melnyk served as dean and distinguished foundation professor in nursing at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Nursing, the National Academies of Practice and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and earned a BS from West Virginia University, an MS from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD from the University of Rochester.


November 09, 2015

Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE) program has positive effects that last at least a year after completion

Schools can significantly improve the long-term physical and mental health of teens by implementing cognitive behavioral skills-building into already existing high-school health curriculums, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) and published in the December issues of the Journal of School Health.

The article reports that 12 months after completing the COPE Healthy Lifestyles Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition (TEEN) Program, students had markedly lower body mass index than students who received a more standard health curriculum. Additionally, COPE teens who began the program with extremely elevated depression had symptoms in the normal range after 12 months.

COPE Healthy Lifestyles TEEN teaches adolescents that how they think is directly related to how they feel and behave. It also teaches them how to turn negative beliefs triggered by “activating events” into positive beliefs so that they feel better emotionally and engage in healthy behaviors. The program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with an emphasis on skills-building.

The lead author of the article is COPE creator Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. Melnyk is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

“CBT is the gold-standard treatment for depression and anxiety, but it has traditionally been used in one-on-one, hour-long therapy sessions,” said Melnyk, who began developing the program more than 20 years ago as a pediatric and psychiatric nurse practitioner. “With COPE, I’ve created a tool that can be used by any health professional or educator so they can teach cognitive behavior skills to adolescents. This is huge for schools or community centers. We can really make positive impacts on teens’ lives by teaching these skills to them.”

This study was aimed at evaluating the long-term efficacy of COPE. A total of 779 high-school students aged 14 to 16 in the southwestern United States participated in the study. Half attended a control class that covered standard health topics such as road safety, dental care and immunizations. The others were enrolled in the COPE Healthy Lifestyles TEEN program.

Health teachers were provided a full-day workshop on COPE and how to teach the program. The classroom curriculum blends cognitive-behavioral skills sessions with nutrition lessons and 20 minutes of physical activity, such as dancing, walking or kick-boxing movements.

The 12-month follow-up evaluation after the COPE program showed a significant decrease in the proportion of overweight and obese teens. Only 4.8 percent of COPE teens moved into the overweight category compared to 10 percent of the control group, Healthy Teens, who moved to either overweight or obese. None of the COPE teens moved to the obese category.  Further, COPE teens who were on public assistance had a significant decline in body mass percentile following the intervention than teens on public assistance who were on public assistance.

A particularly important finding, Melnyk said, was that COPE students who began the study with severely elevated depressive symptoms had significantly lower depressive scores that fell into the normal range than the Healthy Teens students at 12 months post-intervention.

“Because the majority of adolescents with depression do not receive treatment, and even fewer receive CBT, it is vital that we provide them the tools and ability to engage in positive thinking and employ effective coping,” she said. “The feedback from the teens during the open-ended evaluations included hundreds of comments specifically indicating that the COPE program helped them deal effectively with stress and anger as well as to feel better about themselves.”

This latest article reflects a continuation of positive results from COPE.

In 2013, Melnyk published an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examining immediate and six-month outcomes of COPE. Those results showed increased physical activity, decreased BMI, higher grades, better scores in cooperation, assertion and academic competence – as rated by teachers – and lower alcohol use.

Melnyk said next steps should include implementation of COPE into health curricula across the country. Because a variety of professionals can learn the program, she hopes to see widespread use in schools, community centers and youth organizations to help teens lead healthier, happier lives and perform better academically.

The NIH/NINR supported this research.

The article notes that overweight/obesity and mental health disorders are significant public health problems that threaten health outcomes and academic performance of United States teens. Approximately 17 percent of U.S. youth is obese and 15 percent is overweight, according to research cited by Melnyk.

Additionally, 15 million U.S. youth have a mental-health problem that interferes with functioning at home or school, but fewer than 25 percent receive treatment, and even fewer receive CBT.

August 25, 2015

The Ohio State University has achieved silver-level status in the HealthLead™ Workplace reaccreditation, demonstrating Ohio State's increased engagement and initiation of positive changes to further instill a culture of health and well-being, the nonprofit US Healthiest announced today.

Through a two-step reaccreditation process, including completion of an online assessment and a site audit, Ohio State advanced from its bronze status achieved in 2012 to silver status. Since its initial accreditation in 2012 at the bronze level, Ohio State has continued to strengthen, build and expand its comprehensive integrative model to optimize health and wellness to improve population health.

Over the last four years, Ohio State's Chief Wellness Officer Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, along with the Buckeye Wellness and Your Plan for Health teams, escalated change, created the One University Health and Wellness Council and expanded data collection and communication initiatives across the university. Additionally, Ohio State has increased its activism and role as a convener within the employer and university spaces through its leadership and involvement in nationally recognized consortiums, including the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities (BHAC).

“I am continually impressed with [Ohio State's] commitment to and evolution of health and well-being. Not only are they HealthLead Workplace-accredited; but they are also HealthLead Academic Community-accredited, meaning that they focus on and create a culture that emphasizes and values the health and well-being of both their employee and student populations, ” said Nick Baird, MD, CEO of US Healthiest. “What stuck out to me the most was four years ago, they stated their goal of being the healthiest university on the globe; and they remain focused on that goal and continue to take action in making it happen!”

Silver-level accreditation represents an integrated and comprehensive approach to employee health and well-being, while demonstrating positive outcomes that positively affect the organization’s bottom line.

“The HealthLead Accreditation process has been extremely beneficial as we strive to achieve our vision of becoming the healthiest university in the world,” said Melnyk. “Through the accreditation process, we receive important feedback on our strengths as well as areas needing improvement with helpful strategies for strengthening our approach in building a culture and environment that makes healthy lifestyle behaviors the social norm.”

The Ohio State University, along with 18 other public, private, governmental and academic organizations that are HealthLead Workplace accredited, represents employers who have invested in developing and sustaining an integrated, comprehensive approach to employee health and well-being aligned with their respective business strategy. Nationwide Insurance, Target, CDC and HealthPartners are among other employers representing various sizes and industries that are HealthLead accredited. To maintain accreditation status, organizations go through reaccreditation every three years.

About HealthLead

In 2012, US Healthiest created the HealthLead Accreditation Program to recognize public and private sector organizations that demonstrate best practices in employee or academic community health management and well-being. HealthLead is designed to set the standard for workplace and campus health management by expanding the definition and breadth of health to include integrated well-being information and support services, individual/group engagement strategies and leadership in community health issues.


About The Ohio State University College of Nursing

The Ohio State University College of Nursing is the world’s preeminent college known for accomplishing what is considered impossible through its transformational leadership and innovation in nursing and health, evidence-based practice and unsurpassed wellness. As part of the largest health sciences campus in the United States, the College of Nursing offers seven innovative academic programs. The college’s graduate nursing programs are among the top five percent in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report, while its online graduate program is ranked 6th and its RN to BSN program is ranked 8th as part of Ohio State’s ranking for online bachelor’s degree programs. Annual college enrollment is approximately 1,950 students. The college celebrated its centennial in 2014.

April 30, 2015

On Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, The Ohio State University Office of the Chief Wellness Officer will host an important discussion that every parent should hear.

“Depression and Anxiety in Children and Teens: What Every Parent Must Know” will be from 10-11 a.m. on May 7 in 168 Newton Hall, located at 1585 Neil Avenue.

The free lecture will be presented by Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, Ohio State’s associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. Melnyk is a world-renowned authority and author on the topic of child and adolescent mental health and will share strategies for preventing, identifying and seeking help for depressive and anxiety disorders in today’s youth.

According to Melnyk, one in four American children and teenagers suffers from a mental health disorder that disrupts functioning at home, at school and with peers, yet less than 25 percent of affected children receive mental health treatment.

“If left untreated, mental health problems can lead to chronic illnesses that are more difficult to treat,” explained Melnyk. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent these conditions, but we also want to help parents identify the warning signs of anxiety and depression and give them the proper resources so that they know where to turn for help should their child develop a mental health problem.”

Participants may join via livestream at carmenconnect.osu.edu/mhd-talk. Ohio State users should log into CarmenConnect with their Ohio State account. Others may login as a guest. For detailed login instructions, visit go.osu.edu/carmenconnect-quickstart.

April 28, 2015

The National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities (BHAC) has challenged colleges and universities across the United States to take action and make a difference in the health and wellness of their campuses.

During the National Consortium, held April 23-24 at the University of California, Irvine, leaders from more than 90 universities and institutions heard from internationally renowned experts on evidence-based developments in health and wellness. Topics included the science of happiness, physical activity, evidence-based approaches to improving population health in academic settings, public policy regarding food and eating choices and ending illness.

“We are confident [that] the high-caliber speakers at the Summit, combined with the high-energy wellness and fitness activities, left everyone energized and ready to take action at their own institutions,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, president of the National Consortium, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean and professor of the College of Nursing and professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University.

“We know how vital it is to enhance health and wellness in the workplace — it leads to reduced healthcare costs, insurance premiums, and most importantly, healthier and more engaged employees. However, very few academic institutions have implemented a comprehensive, integrated approach to health and wellness that addresses the entire academic population. We in academia have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of our students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities.”

In addition to Melnyk, speakers at the Summit included one of the world’s leading cancer doctors and New York Times bestselling author David B. Agus; nationally renowned researcher on childhood exercise, obesity and diabetes and professor and chair of pediatrics at UC Irvine Dan M. Cooper; president and CEO of Resource for Advancing Children's Health (REACH) Peter Jensen; author, happiness researcher and professor of psychology at UC Riverside Sonja Lyubomirsky; and consumer advocate, nutritionist and award-winning author and academic Marion Nestle.

Earlier this year, universities across the country were invited to participate in the inaugural BHAC National Wellness Challenge to promote health and wellness and to gather fun, creative and effective wellness programs to highlight and share. Winners were announced at the Summit:

  • First place: The College of New Jersey’s Breathe In, Breathe Out promotion of meditation-related activities
  • Second place (tie): Dartmouth College’s Uplift It initiative and UC Irvine’s Fuel Up February
  • Third place: University of Florida Couch to 5K program

Videos produced as part of the challenge will be posted at healthyacademics.org.

Before the Summit, the new BHAC held its first board meeting. The board confirmed its mission: “To equip academic institutions with evidence-based strategies and resources to improve population health and well-being of faculty, staff, students, alumni and the communities they serve.”

Melnyk also encouraged colleges and universities to become institutional members in BHAC to play a key role in improving the lives of more than 33 million faculty, staff and students across the country. Visit healthyacademics.org for information on becoming a member.

“Academia is fertile ground to enhance health and wellness,” Melnyk said. “Please join us in this vital effort to help our communities become healthier and more engaged.”

April 20, 2015

Higher-education leaders and nationally recognized authorities in health and wellness will gather to highlight and share best practices in promoting and sustaining wellness at the 2015 Building Healthy Academic Communities (BHAC) National Summit April 23-24 at the University of California, Irvine.

More than 80 colleges and universities from across the United States will be represented at the Summit, the second from BHAC. The first was held in 2013 at The Ohio State University.

“We know how vital it is to enhance health and wellness in the workplace—it leads to reduced healthcare costs, insurance premiums, and most importantly, healthier and more engaged employees,” said BHAC President Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. “However, very few academic institutions have implemented a comprehensive, integrated approach to health and wellness that addresses the entire academic population.”

Melnyk envisioned and led the founding of the National Consortium, a group of public and private academic institutions dedicated to crafting a comprehensive framework that enriches the health and wellness of students, faculty and staff. The consortium was founded after the 2013 BHAC National Summit.

“We in academia have a unique opportunity to improve population health and make a positive impact on the lives of our students, faculty and staff and surrounding communities,” Melnyk said. “The summit provides a national forum to share best practices and innovative ideas to bring the dream of creating a healthier nation to fruition.”

Featured speakers include:

David B. Agus, University of Southern California, is one of the world’s leading cancer doctors and pioneering biomedical researchers. Agus also serves as a CBS News contributor. His first book, The End of Illness, was published in 2012 and is a New York Times No. 1 and international bestseller, as well as the subject of a PBS special. His second book, New York Times bestselling A Short Guide to a Long Life was published in January 2014.

Dan M. Cooper, professor and chair of pediatrics at University of California, Irvine, serves as founding director of the UC Irvine Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and the UCI Pediatric Exercise Research Center.

Peter Jensen is president and CEO of the Resource for Advancing Children's Health (REACH) Institute. In December, he was appointed acting director for the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want was published in 2008. Her most recent book is The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does.

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk is currently the associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and professor and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. She is also a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Ohio State’s College of Medicine. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in evidence-based practice, intervention research and child and adolescent mental health.

Marion Nestle of New York University is a consumer advocate, nutritionist, award-winning author and academic who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. She is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, now in its third edition.

More information is available at healthyacademics.org.