The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has named Natalie Cannady, MEd, as the director of a new institutional wellness program intended to improve the health and well-being of employees and students.
Cannady had been the manager of the UAMS Fitness Center since 2014.
“For almost five years Natalie has been helping hundreds of Fitness Center members make improvements to their health through exercise and advice,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, MD, MBA. “Now her efforts will encompass the entire institution. The new wellness program is intended to replace statistical measurements with individualized support for employees and students as they seek to improve their health and life balance.”
The wellness program is being developed based on the Get Healthy UAMS initiative, which launched in 2017 to promote a campus conducive to healthy living and working.
“Learning work-life balance is not something that is generally taught in school,” said Cannady. “We are taught from a young age to learn a profession, jump in, and give it all we have until retirement. The part that is left out is how to manage your personal and professional life in a way that both sides can succeed and you are actually happy.”
“My new role will be focusing on and addressing issues many of our employees and students face. We will be starting from the ground up building this new venture within UAMS. Instead of giving a single blanket answer to all situations, we will be looking at the different types of stresses that exist across the different professions, departments and colleges,” she added.
Cannady said the program will extend beyond the main Little Rock campus. “All of UAMS will be included; all sites, clinics, colleges, and facilities will be looked at to address what we must do to make our employees and students feel whole and supported.”
Cannady holds a master’s in education in physical education from the University of Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2005 with a bachelor’s in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science and minor in nutrition.
Following her undergraduate education, Cannady served as the fitness coordinator for the Baptist Health Fitness Center for nine years. She joined UAMS in November of 2014 to manage the UAMS Fitness Center.
Cannady said she will build successes one day at a time. “I like to say, ‘start small, win big.’ Little changes in our day help manage stress – adding activity and making healthy food choices can help. We don’t have to make a bunch of changes all at once. We at UAMS will tackle it all, one piece at a time, and we will do it together.”