We must always strive to be at the forefront of health and wellness, both in the work we do and in the culture we create for our department. It came to our attention that to support employee wellness we needed dedicated leadership to champion the wellness initiatives of DOPsych. After completing a department-wide search for these roles, we are very excited to announce that Emmaly Perks, MA, CCRP & Liz Chamberlain, PhD, have been appointed as the Department of Psychiatry's first-ever Wellness Officers.
The Wellness Officers' work will focus on establishing a comprehensive baseline measure of wellness in the department, followed by numerous opportunities for employee input, and the creation of corresponding wellness initiatives and departmental policies. Outcomes from these changes will be examined using a continuous evaluation and improvement process, with the aim of improving workplace culture, job satisfaction, employee health, and employee happiness. Please give Emmaly and Liz a well-deserved and warm welcome to these exciting new roles!
Emmaly Perks, MA, CCRP earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of New Mexico and her master's degree in curriculum, instruction, and assessment at the University of Denver. Having spent over a decade in higher education and the last six years in the Department of Psychiatry, Ms. Perks has demonstrated immense dedication to the wellbeing of faculty, staff, and trainees. She is currently the Administrative Director of the Office of Education and Training, the Director of the Psychiatry Research Innovations Research Education Core, and the Director of the Psychiatry Undergraduate Research Program and Learning Experience. In her roles, she has worked to address a variety of faculty, staff, and trainee wellness barriers, including issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, employee health challenges, moral injury, isolation, and burnout. Ms. Perks is Co-Chair of the DEI Education Subcommittee, a certified Extended DISC® trainer, and leads the Professional Development and Work-Life Integration working groups. She led a team in creating education resources for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, leads various faculty career development efforts, and launched several university initiatives to improve business efficiency. Ms. Perks and her team won a 2019 CU Innovation and Efficiency Award, given for outstanding improvement in business practices at CU. Finally, Ms. Perks' 18-month-old daughter, born during the pandemic, has inspired her to continue working towards policies that allow caregivers the opportunity to work and care for their loved ones. We are lucky to have such a hardworking and experienced champion for the wellness program and we look forward to the continued contributions Ms. Perks will make in her new role.
Dr. Liz Chamberlain is a Licensed Psychologist and Senior Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry, who also has worked at the CU Wellness Clinic in the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center since 2016. She earned her BA in English and Psychology from The University of Michigan in 1991, and graduated with her PhD in Counseling Psychology from The University of North Texas in 2003. Dr. Chamberlain’s work in private practice, university counseling centers and community mental health/family therapy settings, demonstrates her passion for creating wellness across many dimensions of health and in multiple environments. She has focused her clinical work in mindfulness-based interventions (MBSR, MBCT, MSC) and has integrated these evidence-supported therapies and tools to help individuals, couples, and workshop participants learn new ways to see blind spots, navigate change, and construct new narratives. Dr. Chamberlain has developed evidence-supported mindfulness-based wellness programs and workshops at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center for several departments across CU SOM, CU Denver, CHCO, SOM Alumni, and for the general public. In 2018, Dr. Chamberlain developed a program entitled Practical Mindfulness ® for Helping Professionals: Finding Self-Compassion Everyday that launches the Center’s Caring for the Frontline half-day of wellness. In her personal life, Dr. Chamberlain invests in her own wellness by laughing often with her 14-year-old daughter and her partner of 7 years, doing yoga, cooking, snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, and the occasional IKEA furniture build. Dr. Chamberlain brings excellence and dedication to her new role and we can’t wait to see her elevate our department’s wellness initiatives.