New Mind-Body Wellness Program at UTHSC Promotes Well-Being for Campus

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Innovative wellness programming will be the focus of the new Mind Body Wellness Center at UTHSC, which is soon to start construction on campus. Kimberlee Strome, left foreground, the director of the center, leads the first YOGAhike for UTHSC students at Shelby Farms on Saturday, April 27. She is pictured with her husband Dr. Scott Strome, the executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, on a similar hike combining yoga and vigorous walking in June 2018, before they moved to Memphis.

When UTHSC College of Medicine Dean Scott Strome, MD, and his wife, Kimberlee, take a walk in the woods at Shelby Farms Park on April 27, they will be accompanied by more than two dozen medical students.

The walk, officially called a YOGAhike, is being organized by Kimberlee Strome, a yoga and Pilates instructor and the director of the new Mind Body Wellness Center at UTHSC.

The center is soon to be under construction on the second floor of the Student-Alumni Center on campus. It will include a fully equipped studio for yoga and barre classes, a Pilates studio for mat classes, STOTT PILATES® Reformer and Cadillac equipment, a meditation studio, and office space. It will also feature nutritional information, book clubs, and speakers on various aspects of well-being.

Saturday’s YOGAhike will mix standing yoga strength and balance poses with rigorous walking. It is part of programming Kimberlee Strome is building at UTHSC to encourage students to find balance in their lives.

She is working with the Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI), which last year launched the #takecare program, an initiative designed to support the emotional health and well-being of students by focusing on early intervention to help them successfully cope with the demands of pursuing an advanced health science degree. The university added counseling personnel, improved student access to mental health services, and destigmatized mental health care by marrying it with academic support services and moving it out of a clinic setting and into SASSI.

Since the launch, numerous events have been held to support and encourage students. The Mind Body Wellness Center, which will be open initially to students, and eventually also to faculty and staff, builds the mission of health for all on campus.

“It gives me incredible fulfillment to provide opportunities for people to learn what helps them be the best version of themselves,” Kimberlee Strome said.

Helping students is particularly important to her

“I think this is going to have such a huge impact,” she said. “If they can take care of themselves and teach their patients that, then my impact has an even greater impact.”

Kimberlee Strome has a master’s degree in education and has taught school. In addition to being a fitness instructor, she directed a Pilates studio, has been an instructor and trainer for STOTT PILATES®, and was a teaching manager for eight YogaWorks studios.

She designed the YOGAhike program and has led similar outdoor excursions in other cities. This month’s hike at Shelby Farms will be her first since the Stromes moved to Memphis last fall. She plans more in the future for students and others across the various colleges.

“I want to create opportunities for staff and students of the health science center to find balance and a sense of well-being in their lives, so they do not burn out when they are taking care of people,” she said.