October Wellness Ambassadors of the Month | Emily McDaniel and Katherine MacDonald

Emily and Katherine
Emily McDaniel and Katherine MacDonald

October Wellness Ambassadors of the Month | Emily McDaniel and Katherine MacDonald

Wellness Ambassadors of the Month
Emily McDaniel and Katherine MacDonald, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy  

How long have you worked at UC Davis?

Emily: I have worked at UC Davis for 8 ½ years. I previously worked in the PICU and now coordinate our student programs and serve children of adult patients.

Katherine:  I have worked at UC Davis for 2 years as the Programming Coordinator. I help to manage our department volunteers, donations, and special events.

What does wellness mean to you?

Emily: Wellness to me is paying attention to my body so that I feel as balanced as possible to bring my best self to situations. My typical daily goals include moving my body, fueling up with a colorful collection of food, staying present and recognizing my feelings so that I can best manage them. 

Katherine: When I think about wellness, I think about the body as a whole and aim to make each choice as healthy as possible. I keep in mind how my choices are contagious – if I make one healthy choice, and then another, I’m likely to continue that pattern.

Why did you become a wellness ambassador?

Emily: I became a wellness ambassador to integrate a focused approached to wellness into my workday, and further, wanted to make it possible for others to join in!

Katherine: I wanted to join Emily in her pursuits and create opportunities for our department to easily integrate wellness activities/information into their workday.

How long have you been a wellness ambassador?

Emily: I have been a wellness ambassador for two years and enjoy playing a role within a larger team working to incorporate wellness initiatives across the board at UC Davis Health.

Katherine: I have been a wellness ambassador for 1 year and have enjoyed the experience, especially having time to spend with co-workers and building a sense of comradery around wellness.

What has been rewarding or positive about your experience thus far?

Joint: What continues to be rewarding within this role is having the opportunity to continue to collaborate as co-ambassadors and with the collective child life team regarding ways we can promote health and wellness into each and every day to maximize coping, especially as we navigate many current compounding stressors (work, home and world-wide).

What are some of the challenges you face as a wellness ambassador?

Joint: A main challenge for us as wellness ambassadors (and, this applies to others on the team as well) is slowing down during the workday and investing in activities that bring a sense of equilibrium.


What is one piece of advice you would like to share with new wellness ambassadors?

Joint: Send out those team surveys to elicit ideas regarding what people are interested in and then build on those ideas. Putting on a creative hat is always helpful as well – if the team doesn’t have time or isn’t interested in a group walk, maybe doing an article review, quiz, and giving out a prize for who got the highest score is what makes sense for that week’s activity.

Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being aims to build an environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice, while providing staff and faculty with the required support to make UC Davis the healthiest community. How do you feel you have contributed to our mission?

We have contributed to this mission by taking on the role of being a wellness ambassador dyad for our department. We strive to integrate information about wellness activities and when possible, we facilitate activity options for team members to partake in – all supporting the effort to make UC Davis the healthiest community.

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Emily: If I have spare time on a typical day, you’ll likely find me out for a walk and if there’s a little extra time, I’ll definitely try to incorporate a stop for iced coffee at some point.

Katherine: I love being at the ocean, spending time with family and friends, and taking my dog (Lilly) out for walks.

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