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myHR: September 18, 2019

A New Year for Be in the Know Wellness

Couple smiling and strecthing arms in yoga pose

Be in the Know, Penn’s faculty and staff wellness campaign, is back for its eighth year. Last year’s campaign was another record-breaker thanks to more than 6,200 Penn faculty and staff members who completed a biometric screening. The 2019-2020 campaign year offers fresh opportunities to improve your well-being while earning extra cash. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff members can earn up to $300* in incentives for Be in the Know health and wellness activities between September 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

“[The Be in the Know program] is very easy and simple, says Martin Das, Perelman School of Medicine. “You can earn money and live a healthy life style in a fun way with your coworkers just by joining.”

Penn makes it simple with 3 Steps to Success – a biometric screening, StayWell’s online health assessment, and a variety of Bonus Actions. These Be in the Know activities allow you to earn points and cash while supporting your mind, body, and financial well-being.

Get started today by registering for a free on-campus biometric screening.

What’s New for 2019-2020?

This year’s Bonus Action options include the updated “Refer-a-Friend” Bonus and a new 30 Day Wellness Challenge. Penn has also added bone density screenings to the list of Preventative Health Options for Bonus Action points.

Unlike the 2018-2019 campaign, the current Be in the Know campaign year ends June 30, 2020. All activities must be completed by that date. Documentation, such as a Proof of Bonus Actions form, is due by July 31, 2020.

3 Steps to Success

STEP 1: Your Free Biometric Screening

Quick, convenient screenings are available at various Penn locations October 8 through November 26.

At the biometric screening, a health educator will measure key components of your overall health, including blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and blood sugar (glucose) levels. You also have the option to fast before your screening to learn low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels.

“After my first biometric screening, I learned that I was pre-diabetic,” says Helen Xu, Penn Nursing. Xu reports that Be in the Know activities helped her stay on track to improve. “The following year, my measurements were in the clear!”

STEP 2: StayWell’s Online Health Assessment

After your biometric screening, be sure to complete the online health assessment, available October 7 at Penn’s wellness portal, Your current biometric screening values are needed to complete the online health assessment.

2 Core Actions for Your First 100 Points and $100
The biometric screening and online health assessment are the two Core Actions required to earn your first 100 points and $100.

STEP 3: Earn More with Bonus Actions

Get even more rewards by completing Bonus Actions worth up to 200 additional points for a total of $300 this year. There are dozens of qualifying Bonus Action activities in four categories: preventative health, wellness activity, physical activity, and online programs. Bonus Action points can be just the nudge you need to take care of yourself with important annual health screenings, nutrition counseling, exercise, and online challenges. Major activities such as the Penn Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program are worth as much as 60 Bonus Action points.

Earn 250 Bonus Action points or more (350 total campaign points) to reach the Be in the Know VIP level. On top of the maximum cash incentive, Be in the Know VIPs receive a special gift.

You can earn Bonus Action points for qualifying activities completed at any time during the campaign year, September 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. However, cash incentives for Bonus Actions will not be awarded until you complete the first two Core Actions.

Your Be in the Know Incentives

Just like last year, you can choose to receive all of your incentives in your paycheck or as a Penn Recreation credit.

VIP participants, Donkey Dover, Development and Alumni Relations, earned enough incentives to pay for a weekly chair massage offered by Penn’s Campus Recreation. Dover says, “It’s been a great way to work some self-care into my routine.”

Whether you want treat yourself, challenge yourself, or maintain well-being, Be in the Know and Penn are here to help.

Check the Be in the Know webpage at for complete program details.

*All cash incentives are less applicable payroll taxes. Incentives will be issued in November 2019, and monthly from January to August 2020, in paychecks or as Penn Recreation credits. Payment times depend on when you complete the Core Actions and qualifying Bonus Actions.

Your privacy is strictly protected. Penn receives only aggregated data for the participating population. Penn will never know your individual screening results, health assessment answers or personal health goals.

The 2020 Models of Excellence Award Call for Nominations

Red curtains being drawn back by hand of businessman

There are many words Penn staff have used to praise their colleagues’ work. Extraordinary, innovative, impactful, and transformative are just a few. Now’s your chance to turn these compliments into campus-wide recognition by participating in the 2020 Models of Excellence Call for Nominations process.

Each year, at the Models of Excellence Awards ceremony, Penn showcases individual staff members and teams, revealing their remarkable contributions to the University. Nominations for fiscal year 2020 are open now through October 25.

The online nomination form and guide are available at This year you can also refer to the Quick Start Guide to Submitting a Nomination to make navigating the nomination process even easier.

The Models of Excellence award program celebrates the outstanding achievements of full- and part-time staff members and teams throughout the University’s schools and centers. Awards are presented in three categories:

  • Models of Excellence Award – recognizes staff member accomplishments that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service.
  • Model Supervisor Award – honors supervisors who are effective and productive leaders for the University.
  • Pillars of Excellence Award – recognizes the important support Penn’s weekly-paid staff members provide to promote the University’s mission.

Models of Excellence, Model Supervisor, and Pillars of Excellence award recipients each receive $500 and a symbolic award. Nominees selected for honorable mention receive $250 and a symbolic award. Awards will be presented at the Models of Excellence ceremony on April 28, 2020 at 4pm at Irvine Auditorium. The entire Penn community is invited to attend.

Need Help to Complete a Nomination?

Learn how to write a stellar nomination that magnifies the exceptional work of your colleagues by attending a “How to Nominate” information session. Two sessions will be held on:

  • Monday, September 30, 3-4pm
  • Thursday, October 10, 12-1pm

Both sessions will take place at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South. Register at or Your co-workers can’t receive honors without your nomination, so your participation is key.

For more information about the Models of Excellence staff recognition program, visit the Models of Excellence website or contact Human Resources at

Getting Your Team in Gear

Three hands holding gears with sunset in the backdrop

Whether you lead a team of two or 200, working remotely or in the same suite, effective team management skills are essential to success. In today’s workplace, knowing how to organize and direct collaborative teams is more valuable than ever. When diverse team members with various specializations work on different parts of a project, how can you make sure every piece works well together?

Register for Penn’s Managing Teams workshop, October 8, from 9 am to 12 pm at 3624 Market Street, Suite 1A South.

“This course can help keep you engaged and at the top of your game as a team,” says Carla Thomas, Senior Training and Development Consultant, who will facilitate the workshop.

The convenient session covers key aspects of team leadership such as establishing groups, clarifying roles, facilitating meetings, handling conflict, and rewarding accomplishments. Managing Teams shows you how to take charge of important details that can make or break a project or operation. You will also learn a practical decision making model to prioritize tasks and details and make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

Engaging classroom activities build your leadership skills while giving you the opportunity to learn from your Penn peers as well as the instructor.

At the end of Managing Teams, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to lead your team from good to great.

After attending the session, your department will be charged $75 for this half-day workshop.

Visit the Learn & Grow webpage for more professional development opportunities.

Staff and Faculty Workshop on Dealing with the Opioid Crisis

Support group members hugging while other members look onward in support

Opioid addiction is a serious issue that continues to impact families throughout the nation. An estimated 2.1 million people in the U.S. are suffering from opioid-related substance abuse, including abuse of prescription pain relievers. Opioid overdose claims the lives of 116 Americans every day. Penn is committed to helping staff, faculty, and their families build and sustain healthy lives. That’s why the University offers many resources to those who may be opioid-dependent or have a loved one in need of support.

Knowing the facts about opioid misuse can lead to successful treatments and save lives. Gather the information you need by attending the Understanding the Opioid Crisis workshop on October 21, from 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Hall of Flags, Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce Street.

The workshop will be facilitated by the Caron Treatment Center. Participants will discuss the reasons for opioid abuse trends and explore how they may impact us as individuals, families, friends, and co-workers. The workshop will also address what we can do to help prevent someone from developing an addiction or assist someone in getting the help they need if substance abuse occurs. Register today for Understanding the Opioid Crisis workshop.

Caron, known as a Center of Excellence for substance abuse treatment, offers additional Recovery Resources for continued education and healing.

Penn has many additional tools and resources to assist with opioid and other substance abuse issues.

  • Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Health Advocate EAP counselors can help you identify the right doctors and facilities that treat addiction and locate support groups for you. For more information about EAP’s services, call 866-799-2329, email, or visit the EAP website.
  • Opioid Addiction: This publication, produced by the Division of Human Resources, provides detailed information about the opioid crisis, tips to prevent dependence, signs of opioid addiction, and resources for treatment and support. You can also refer to Penn’s Behavioral Health coverage resources.
  • Penn’s medical plans: If you or a family member are struggling with addiction and are enrolled in a Penn medical plan, addiction treatment is available. Check with your medical provider to see what resources meet your specific needs.
    • Penn Care PPO and Keystone/Amerihealth plan participants can access the Independence Blue Cross website for statistics about opioid use, a list of opioid and substance abuse resources, and initiatives designed to help fight the epidemic.
    • If you or your family member participate I one of the Aetna plans, you will be directed to an addiction treatment center that best meets your needs. Aetna can also provide other helpful information, including an Opioids FAQ.

Healthy Meals: Apple Ricotta Pancakes

Apple ricotta pancakes on blue plate with butter and syrup.

These whole-grain apple ricotta pancakes are perfect for fall breakfast and brunch. Who knew something sweet and fluffy could be packed with protein and calcium?

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? Retirement@Work Simplifies Retirement Plan Access

Penn’s Retirement@Work makes retirement plan enrollment and management simpler. With Retirement@Work, benefits-eligible faculty and staff can enroll in Penn’s retirement plans, review their account, change elections, link to TIAA and Vanguard, access retirement planning tools, and more — all in one place. Visit the Saving for Retirement pages for details.