October 27, 2005

Contact: Angela Heisel (505) 272-3651; Jenny Savage (505) 272-3690

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Employees at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing (UNM CON) are a little lighter on their feet these days, thanks to their enthusiastic response to Governor Bill Richardson's Challenge for Healthier Communities and Worksites. The College of Nursing has recently been awarded a second place plaque from the New Mexico Department of Health for becoming a leader in healthier worksites with fewer than 100 participants.

In order to promote the challenge, the Department of Health provided free pedometers to participants. In conjunction with the challenge, Judith Harris, a clinical instructor at the UNM CON, developed a pilot project funded by CON research funds to evaluate whether or not the pedometers served as a motivating factor to begin and continue exercising throughout a period of six months.

"I collected great comments by our participants, including one faculty member who reported that the pedometer showed a total of 14, 000 steps one day while the member was completing a clinical with students. In addition, a staff member reported being challenged by his daughter to compete with the number of steps he was taking," Harris said. "Overall, it was a rich project with an enthusiastic group of participants and we are delighted to have won the award."

The UNM CON reported a 43% participation rate and total of 9,584,795 steps taken among participating employees. The challenge was organized by Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Department of Health in July 2004 to encourage New Mexicans to embrace healthier communities and worksites throughout the state.