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CEO Roundtable on Cancer recognizes the University of North Dakota for ten years of leadership; lauds Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for supporting university-led, employer wellness initiative

May 30, 2017
Cary, NC

The University of North Dakota has earned CEO Cancer Gold Standard re-accreditation for maintaining a strong commitment to the health of its employees and satisfying the comprehensive requirements of the Gold Standard for the past ten years.

In 2007, UND was the first university to become a Gold Standard employer, under the leadership of then-President, Dr. Charles Kupchella. UND’s commitment to employee health and wellness continued under President Robert Kelley, who succeeded Kupchella, and the University’s leadership by example carries on today under current UND President, Mark Kennedy.

 “The University of North Dakota has a long and nationally recognized history of focusing on the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the Grand Forks community and, indeed, the state of North Dakota,” said Kennedy.  “This focus is achieved through the development and promotion of health-oriented programs and by providing some of the finest collegiate wellness facilities in the nation.  In addition, experts in the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and other disciplines are engaged in grants and programs related to cancer, from research on cancer-causing agents to the implementation of programs such as the North Dakota Statewide Cancer Registry, which collects information about new cancer cases, treatments and outcomes.”

Through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), outreach efforts are underway to encourage other universities to adopt the CEO Cancer Gold Standard, joining UND and others, including The Ohio State University, the most recent academic institution to go for the gold.

“We celebrate the forward-thinking leadership of the University of North Dakota as they celebrate ten years of diligence and dedication to the health and wellness of their employees,” said Dr. Martin J. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.  “Their example has inspired a national movement of universities focused on health and wellness, as well as academic leadership.”

The Gold Standard complements and supports other campus-based health and health equity initiatives including The Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative and The Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, conducted by the American Cancer Society with support from the CVS Foundation. Both the American Cancer Society and CVS Health are among the more than 200 employers that have earned Gold Standard accreditation.

To earn Gold Standard accreditation, an employer must take concrete actions to reduce the risk and burden of cancer: prohibit tobacco use and support tobacco cessation efforts; promote physical activity, healthy nutrition and weight management; provide health insurance options that include detecting cancer at its earliest stages, access to quality care and participation in cancer clinical trials; promote employee awareness of these initiatives; and support the needs of cancer survivors in the workplace. 

The Gold Standard provides a framework through which all employers, including universities, can lead by example -- both on and off campus. Accredited employers include health and wellness influencers like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) and noted employers of choice like Johnson & Johnson, SAS, and State Farm. They also include academic institutions like the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Texas A&M School of Public Health and academic medical centers like the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

UND President Kennedy leads the charge across campus for “Walk at Work” day at UND on Friday, May 26. Photo by Shawna Schill.

Walking the Walk