Employee Health and Wellness Superstars

Meet some staff and faculty wellness program regulars who inspire colleagues

Health and wellness superstars

After participating in several Duke employee wellness programs, Monica Taylor has embraced trading chips for sliced fruit and veggies and creative with finding ways to ensure she gets in her steps each day.

“LIVE FOR LIFE taught me to be more intentional about my well-being,” said Taylor, educational services coordinator for Duke Area Health Education Center. 

Monica Taylor, right, walks with her coworker Barbara Wilkins in the garage next to Hock Plaza.Taylor is among Duke staff and faculty who participate in at least three programs provided through LIVE FOR LIFE, the employee wellness program at Duke. She’s among nearly 15,400 staff and faculty who participate in a LIVE FOR LIFE program annually. 

Julie Joyner, director of LIVE FOR LIFE and project coordinator for Healthy Duke, credits Duke’s variety of programming and participation opportunities – in-person, online and by phone – for helping community members improve health and well-being.  

“It is important to meet people where they are at in their journey toward better health,” she said. “We need to be ready to support Duke’s staff and faculty whenever they are ready to make a healthy step.” 

Meet these health and wellness superstars. 

Rebekah Callari-Kaczmarczyk
Instructor of English for International Studies, Duke Graduate School

Rebekah Callari-Kaczmarczyk, fourth from right, poses with her 2019 Get Moving Team, Deviled Legs.
On Fridays, Rebekah Callari-Kaczmarczyk stuffs her work bag with sweet onions, juicy tomatoes, crunchy snap peas and Brussels sprouts from the Duke Farmers Market

“Having the Duke Farmers Market is so helpful,” she said. “I can get a walk, enjoy some fresh air and skip a trip to the grocery when the market is in season.”

The Duke Farmers Market, held on Friday from late April through September outside of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education, introduced Callari-Kaczmarczyk to Duke’s employee wellness programs shortly after she started at Duke in 2016. 

Since then, she joined the Duke Health and Fitness Center through the Duke Fitness Club for yoga, weight resistance and strength training.

Over the past few years, Callari-Kaczmarczyk has also participated in the Get Moving Challenge with Duke Graduate School colleagues. During the challenge, she walks from the Graduate School and her office in the North Building. 

“I tell myself to spend 20 minutes more walking than I normally would in a day,” she said. “Life is insanely busy, so forcing myself to walk gives me time to sort out my thoughts and take a moment to reflect.”

Daryl Clayton
Certified Institutional Locksmith, Duke Facilities Management

Daryl Clayton uses the pec fly machine at Brodie Recreation Center.
Daryl Clayton, who moves around campus to perform maintenance on locks, door closures and electronic locking systems, visits the Brody Recreation Center daily for weight training. His favorite machine is the pec fly, which strengthens his chest. Clayton lifts up to 180 pounds on the machine.

He joined the campus gym through the Duke Fitness Club, a network of about 40 gyms that offer discount membership rates to Duke staff and faculty. 

“The Fitness Club is a series of wins for me,” said Clayton, 60. “Brody is close enough to work that I can go on my lunch breaks.”

Clayton started participating in LIVE FOR LIFE six years ago. He weighed about 220 pounds and wanted to consistently stay under 200 pounds. To do so, he started participating remotely in the Duke Run/Walk Club, a low pressure workout group that meets twice a week during the fall and spring; the Get Moving Challenge at the start of the new year; and Take the Stairs, which encourages participants to track the number of stairs climbed daily. 

The programs have motivated Clayton to get 10,000 steps at least three times a week. And since connecting with LIVE FOR LIFE, he has kept his weight under 200 pounds. 

“I feel more confident in every aspect of my life,” Clayton said. “I’ve got more energy. I’m more agile. I feel happier. Life is so much better.”

Theresa Shouse
Higher Education Analyst, Office of the Provost

Theresa Shouse takes a walk on Abele Quad.
About eight years ago, Theresa Shouse met with her doctor for a routine checkup when her physician delivered some bad news.

Shouse was pre-diabetic. She was told that if she didn’t lower her blood pressure, which measured around 140, she would be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a lifelong disease that stops the body from using insulin – which maintains your blood sugar levels – the way it should.

“It scared me,” said Shouse, 59. “I needed to be more intentional about taking care of myself.”

Shouse enrolled in the Duke Run/Walk Club and Maintain Don’t Gain and has participated annually in each program since 2012. 

Last year, she added LIVE FOR LIFE’s health coaching program. She meets with a dietitian over the phone every other week to review eating habits, exercise plans and overall wellness.  She eliminated sodas and sweets. She gets 10,000 steps in each day with walks around the path surrounding East Campus, Abele Quad or her Durham neighborhood.

She’s no longer pre-diabetic because of her changes in diet and fitness. 

“I handle stress so much better now that I’m making an effort to be healthier,” Shouse said. “I don’t turn to food or a sugary drink. I take a breather and go for a walk.”

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