myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: May 19, 2021

Land Your Project With Confidence

close up of air traffic controllers glasses and radar

With so many things “up in the air,” do you sometimes feel like an air traffic controller? Even if you’re great at getting things done independently, organizing a team project sometimes requires a bit of extra preparation and skill to make sure your group meets its goals  while maintaining quality and a collegial relationship with your coworkers and clients. Effective project management is even more crucial as faculty and staff continue to work in distributed groups with shifting schedules. When things get intense, project management skills can help you and your team stay calm and breathe as you land your project on time.

The June 16, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Project Management workshop presents proven tools and techniques that can help you track all the right moves and assets to create success.

This virtual seminar, led by Senior Talent Development Consultant Bryant Kuehner, is a practical overview of the most useful concepts in project leadership and coordination.

  • Identify the key activities in the project life cycle.
  • Create a realistic project timeline.
  • Keep projects on track by managing risks and effectively using a communication plan.
  • Examine helpful tools for tracking timelines and deliverables.
  • Capture valuable project lessons and use them to define and improve project management practices within your organization.

Project Management will also cover the role of the project manager, the dynamics of managing a team, creating a transition plan, and tools for celebrating success.

Whether you’re preparing to manage your first major project or you’re looking for new perspectives on collaborating with partners on all levels to achieve outstanding results for your organization, you’ll pick up tools and techniques to make your next project take off smoothly.

Register for Project Management online today.

More professional development resources are available at

Striving for a Healthy Weight

Lady Jogging with WeightsNow that spring is here and the pandemic appears to be coming to an end, you may be wondering how to restart your nutrition and dietary goals and achieve a healthy weight. But what exactly is a healthy weight and how do you reach and maintain it without riding a rollercoaster of yo-yo diets that leave you mentally and physically drained?

This month the Penn Healthy You team focuses on a fifth risk factor in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life Simple 7 campaign: Manage Weight.

According to the AHA, when you lose weight, your heart, lungs, and blood vessels are not being burdened by unnecessary pounds. Your blood pressure will also be lower, which helps you achieve Life Simple 7’s blood pressure management goal.

Healthy weight is not synonymous with a supermodel size nor is an unhealthy weight characteristic of someone with a more full-figure frame. Defining a healthy weight can be different for each individual. Registered dietitians with Corporate Wellness Nutrition (CWN), say that in order to define healthy weight you should look at your Body Mass Index (BMI), a numerical calculation of your weight in relation to your height. For most individuals, a healthy BMI weight range is 18.5 to 24.9.

“But you must also consider how your weight is distributed in your body,” says Anthony Tassoni, CWN’s Team Lead Dietitian.

“Fat that we tend to store around our midsection can be more dangerous than weight carried in other parts of the body. A good way to measure your weight distribution would be to look at your waist circumference. A healthy weight circumference for most men would be under 40 inches and for most women would be under 35 inches,” Tassoni says.

In addition to making your weight calculations, CWN Client Success Manager Samantha Bluj, says individuals must also understand the difference between healthy weight and health in general.

“As dietitians we work with individuals to help them define what healthy means to them on a subjective level as well. One piece of advice I like to give is to ask yourself how you’re feeling before you step on the scale so that your feeling is not defined by your weight, Bluj says.

“It’s being able to combine that objective and subjective data that applies to a person and fashion all that into what we define as healthy,” she says.

Are you ready to find your healthy weight? CWN shares these eight strategies:  

  1. Consider what you’re drinking. Try not to drink your calories. Those empty calories you find in soda, some juices, and those specialty drinks at Starbucks don’t really fill you up; they just taste good. Substitute them for water and more nutrient dense beverages such as milk or black coffee and tea.
  2. Eat more mindfully. Minimize mindless snacking that you may do when you are stressed, watching television, or just looking for something to keep you busy. Mindful eating means being present in the moment and sitting down with nutritious food. Bluj says, before you eat, ask yourself “How do I want to feel after this meal? Do I want to feel like I need to unbutton my pants, or do I want to feel satisfied and able to move on with my day?” Also, know your hunger cues. Ask yourself how hungry you actually are and rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. To learn more, attend CWN’s Psychology of Eating: Does it Really Come Down to Willpower? workshop on May 21 from 12 to 1 p.m.
  3. Create an accountability system. Develop a process to help you get and stay on track with your weight goals. This can include meeting regularly with a dietitian, keeping a daily food journal, and even stepping on a scale. If you get on a scale once a week, that can be a way of holding yourself accountable because it will remind you of the goals you have set, whether you are achieving them, and any adjustments you may need to make to your weight loss plan. Penn benefits-eligible faculty and staff can meet with a CWN Registered Dietitian for a free nutrition counseling consultation. Depending on your insurance, additional no-cost sessions could also be available.
  4. Exercise regularly. You can go to the gym, use exercise equipment at home, or find another way to burn calories. Bluj says you should find exercise that you enjoy doing. That could be dancing, gardening, or doing housework. “Your regular exercise pattern doesn’t have to be this overwhelming, overbearing task,” says Bluj. “If you just go for a brisk walk, that’s going to be contributing to your weight loss and weight maintenance and sometimes we lose sight of that,” she says. The general goal for overall aerobic health and wellness is 150 minutes of exercise a week.
  5. Control your food environment. Oreos and Doritos may be favorite snacks you have at home but reduce your accessibility to these tempting treats and any other foods that may be a trigger for you to overeat. This could mean moving them to the back of your pantry and buying smaller portion-controlled versions. If you plan to go out to eat, look at a menu beforehand to decide what meal you will have rather than waiting until you’re at the restaurant where the temptation to eat unhealthy foods may be greater.
  6. Work with a physician and dietitian. Bluj says, “I think that your physician and registered dietitian could be a dynamic duo. Your physician is a great resource to help identify problems or deficiencies, track tangible numbers in terms of weight trends over the years and diagnose chronic diseases. Your dietitian can take that and work with you through the ins and outs of how to make healthy lifestyle changes to positively impact those bottom lines that were defined by your physician.”
  7. Eat for the health of it. Think about how you can get the most nutrient dense form of the main food groups – protein, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy or non-calcium alternatives. Aim to have at least two food groups in a snack and at least three food groups in a meal to give you a good foundation for eating. “When people are eating more wholesome foods, they just physiologically feel more satisfied compared to eating more ultra-processed foods which are stripping away those nutrients that help to send the signals to your body that you are satisfied and that you could stop eating,” Tassoni says.
  8. Use the 85/15 rule. Avoid overindulging by allowing yourself to eat unhealthy sometimes. The 85/15 rule says you should eat nutrient dense foods 85% of the time and unhealthy foods 15% of the time. “The 15% is allocated for maybe those high sodium sauces that go on a full veggie stir fry or that little dessert at the end of the day,” Bluj says. “Part of a healthy diet is allowing yourself to include the items that give you that flavor factor in order to make food enjoyable.”

Once you reach a healthy weight, don’t stop working your weight management plan.

“Healthy weight management comes down to calories in versus calories burned, and the ability to maintain your healthy habits,” Bluj says.

Healthy Weight Resources

Weight loss and weight normalization is a journey, Bluj says. Here are some Penn workshops and additional resources to help you along the way.

Summer-Camp Ready

mother preparing kid with backpack

Older generations might recall that movie theme song, “Are You Ready for the Summer” as spring classes draw to a close. This year, families of all ages are getting ready for camp activities for children and teens on summer break. Although the next “new normal” is still developing, kids and their parents and guardians alike are looking forward to the social enrichment, education, and fun (and perhaps a bit of quiet time for caregivers) that summer camp can bring.

Penn provides faculty and staff with summer learning opportunities as well as supportive services to help families make the most of day and sleep-away camp during this time of transition.

University Summer Camp Openings

These are a few of the Penn affiliated programs still available for younger learners this summer.

Penn Laboratory Experiences in Natural Sciences (LENS)

Students in the Penn LENS program will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at what goes on in a university science laboratory and/or field setting. This year, the Penn LENS program for School District of Philadelphia high school students will be entirely remote. This daytime program runs from June 21 through August 5. Participants receive a financial award. The application deadline is May 31, 2021. Visit to apply.

Morris Arboretum Summer Camps

Young nature and science lovers ages 4-11 can make friends with flora and fauna as they explore the open air at Morris Arboretum’s Summer Adventure Camp. Little Lightning Bugs is open to children ages 4-5. Bloomfield Buddies is open to children ages 6-11. Weekly camp sessions run July 5 through August 13. To register, visit

Penn Tennis Camp

Space is still available for one of the most popular tennis camps in the United States. Week-long sessions begin June 14 and run through September 3. Visit for details and registration links.

Support from Health Advocate

If you’re still considering summer camp options, Health Advocate is available to help you decide which programs work best for your kids. They can also recommend youth activity resources.* recommends that parents consider these COVID-19 summer camp consumer health and safety questions from, the American Academy of Pediatrics parenting website. Here are some key questions to review with your camp organization.

  • How will the camp help children follow coronavirus safety rules?
  • Are there extra safety steps taken for sports camps?
  • What happens if someone gets sick?
  • Is there camp staff trained on the specific health needs of children?
  • What kind of support is available for campers with special health care needs?
  • Should my child be tested for COVID-19 before or during camp? offers this guidance for families as they prepare for summer and day camp:

Before making a decision on a camp, though, you should consider what kind of camping experience will benefit both your child and family.

Jonathan A. Slater, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, offered this advice on how parents can prepare their child -- and themselves -- for this summertime adventure.

Ask plenty of questions: How does my child feel about going away? Has he or she handled previous sleep-away experiences well? What do other people who know my child outside the home -- teachers, mentors, coaches -- think about the idea? Understand that a child's age is less important than his or her emotional and temperamental makeup (although most camps have a minimum age of 10).

Make sure your child will enjoy the activities at the camp, which vary greatly and often focus on particular areas: competitive sports, nature studies, the arts.

Gather as much information as possible. For example, review camp videotapes, meet with camp directors and counselors, ask friends and neighbors how their children enjoyed camps you are considering, and, if possible, visit the campsite itself. Once you've chosen a camp, write letters to the counselors describing your child's temperament and the activities he or she likes.

Monitor your own separation-anxiety level. Try not to make your anxiety too evident, because children tend to feed off their parents' fears. You can take some comfort in that you have fully researched and chosen what you consider to be the best camp. Once your child is away, avoid initiating contact; if need be, talk to the camp director or a counselor to see how your child is faring.

Many camps offer special services to children with just about any type of physical, medical, emotional or psychological disability or need. One question to ask is whether a camp that exclusively provides special services to children with special needs is preferable to a camp that has a more inclusive, mainstream setting.

For more guidance for your family, contact Health Advocate at 866-799-2329. Backup Care

Summertime vacations and other schedule changes can leave families in a pinch. Penn’s backup care services offer alternatives when your sitter or caregiver is unavailable. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff can enroll with for backup care for children and adults. can also help screen local caregivers and bring top candidates to your attention.* Call 855-781-1303 for more information.

Penn Community Connections

Penn parents and guardians can reach out to other faculty and staff who are managing family care issues through Caregiver Connections. This program, offered through the Office of the Provost, brings Penn families together with coworkers in their neighborhoods to share support and resources. Log on at to learn more.

Penn Dependent Care FSA participants can use their FSA funds for day care and day camp. See the Flexible Spending Account pages for details.

Visit the Penn Childcare Resources and Support page for additional information about benefits and services for faculty and staff.

*Please note that Penn does not endorse these centers, caregivers, or resources, nor does the University screen any services or caregivers that may be available through these resources. You and your family should screen any child-care centers, caregivers, and facilities for your children thoroughly. These services are being included for reference in this communication as a convenience, for the consideration of our staff and faculty. You should take time to screen and determine whether any resource is appropriate for you and your family, and to ensure your child’s development and safety.

Healthy Meals: Berry-Almond Smoothie Bowl

berry almond smoothie bowl

Dive into a sweet and crunchy bowl of fruit with just a hint of spice for added zest. This breakfast feeds your brain with flavonoids, healthy fats and vitamin E for neurological health.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Did You Know: New Parking Card Option

Penn Transportation and Parking has a new option for faculty and staff, the Commuter Parking Card. This stored value debit card is available to benefits-eligible, full-time University faculty and staff for occasional commuter parking. Through this program administered by Health Equity/WageWorks, parkers can realize tax savings by deducting their commuter parking fees via payroll, up to $270 a month on a pre-tax basis. Learn more at Penn Transportation and Parking.



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