From the CHRR Director’s Desk Issue #21

January 16, 2024

From the CHRR Director’s Desk Issue #21

Exterior of CHRR offices at 921 Chatham Lane, Columbus, Ohio

By Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

The Latest News, Views, and Announcements

MLK Day Celebrations

This newsletter is being released one day later than usual because of our university’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In addition to the annual MLK Jr. Day of Service organized by our university that took place yesterday, I also wanted to highlight information about Ohio State’s 2024 MLK Celebration event taking place 7:00pm on Wednesday, January 24th at the Wexner Center for the Arts. This event is free and open to the public, and features a presentation by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, who is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women.

What’s New at CHRR

Happy New Year! This month we helped to kick off the State of Ohio Adversity and Resilience Study (SOAR) Wellness Discovery Study in partnership with Ohio State’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and other public universities across Ohio. Supported by funding through the State of Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) and led by psychiatry professor Dr. Luan Phan, the SOAR initiative is designed to identify and better understand the underlying root causes contributing to risk for suicide and overdose deaths and to discover ways that mental health professionals can increase resilience to prevent these sorts of deaths.

The SOAR study is designed to continue for many years in service to understanding patterns of resilience and coping in people and families across generations. As the first important step in this longitudinal work, the Wellness Discovery Study will randomly select 13,000 Ohioans from across the state to participate in a survey conducted by CHRR. An additional 2,000 individuals will be recruited to take part in both the survey and more in-depth biomarker data that will include Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) of the brain.

Canada Keck is providing leadership for CHRR’s efforts on the SOAR initiative, with expert support from Randy Olsen and the Special Projects Team. CHRR mailed out the initial batch of invitations to participate in the Wellness Discovery Study last week, and at the time of this newsletter’s writing over 2,000 Ohioans already have completed the survey. More information about the SOAR initiative can be found on the study's website.

CHRR's Leadership Team

The CHRR Leadership Team has been discussing various ways to build on the first-ever Virtual Town Hall that was held back in November of last year. Because so many positive responses have been communicated about that experience, plans are underway to host another Virtual Town Hall in the very near future. In contrast to the last meeting, which focused rather intensively on draft statements connected to the Mission, Vision, and Values/Behaviors of CHRR, the Leadership Team members are leaning toward a much more informal agenda. In fact, the primary topic that has been proposed simply asks the question: How often would CHRR personnel like to get together online and in-person?

Currently, we have gravitated toward two main in-person events: 1) the Winter Holidays Celebration; and 2) a luncheon that follows our annual IT Security training (typically at the end of summer). Should we also be scheduling two regular Virtual Town Hall meetings “in between” those two in-person events? That would translate into four All Teams Meetings per year, or roughly one per season. Or, because virtual meetings are much easier (and less expensive) to host, should there be even more online opportunities to meet as a large group? Let the brainstorming begin at an individual level, and plan on bringing your thoughts to our next Virtual Town Hall!

Things You Might Want to Know

George McCloy Passes Away

CHRR has been located at 921 Chatham Lane for decades thanks to the long-term relationship established with Ohio State alum George McCloy, who was the building’s owner. Mr. McCloy, age 80, died on January 9th at Riverside Methodist Hospital, and memorial services took place yesterday. Among other endearing traits, he will forever be remembered for hosting an all-building party every September, which typically has been attended by many CHRR employees. Rest in Peace, George.

Mental Health in the Workplace

Our university’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is beginning to advertise several new resources, including the offering of Mental Health Awareness Workshops that are designed to “increase understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties, develop more confidence in engaging colleagues and staff with these struggles, and review available supports and resources.”

According to information that is available on the EAP website, these workshops are interactive, collaborative, and encourage discussion (also noted is the fact that they are not recorded). At present, there are two workshop types: one for staff (90 minutes) and one for managers (120 minutes; the manager workshop includes additional managerial supports).

The Leadership Team will be discussing the use of this resource at the manager (supervisor) level in our next meeting. That said, please note that this also could be something that we schedule for an All Staff Meeting as well, so please feel free to include his topic in our next Virtual Town Hall Meeting as well!