About the Bloggers

Suzanne Jolly

Health Promotions Coordinator
Health Promotion Programs

In high school, Suzanne made daily trips to the vending machine to buy chocolate bars, and slowly healthy choices fell off her list of priorities.  Despite being brought up to know better, by the time she approached completion of her undergraduate degree in Communications at Simon Fraser University, she regularly ate a huge plate of hashbrowns smothered in ketchup for most of her meals in a day.  She smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, looked at vegetables with scorn, and she rarely exercised.  She had a pile of diagnoses to show for her unhealthy lifestyle: from depression to hyperthyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome to anemia, ovarian cysts and exercise-induced asthma.

When she landed a position in health promotions during her graduate program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration at the University of Vermont, Suzanne knew her new role would have her working regularly with healthy people making healthy choices.

Around the same time she adopted her dog, Stogie, and decided to quit her ten year smoking habit, declaring Stogie to be her “new addiction.”  Her four-legged best friend helped her start being more active.

Friends and colleagues introduced her to meals beyond a bag of frozen hashbrowns.  She explored solutions with a variety of medical practitioners to address her health issues.

Slowly Suzanne’s energy came back, and she found she could now do things that she was previously incapable of.  She became a rock climber and backcountry skier, and found out first hand how it felt to transform from unhealthy to healthy.

Following her graduate studies, Suzanne focused her life on health for herself and others. She ran a non-profit organization doing substance abuse prevention for teens and families in Vermont.  In 2008 she returned to British Columbia, first running health programs for students at Quest University, until she found her current role at the University of British Columbia.

As the Health Promotion Coordinator  for UBC Human Resources, Suzanne coordinates programs designed to improve the health of UBC faculty and staff.  Since she recognizes that choosing health is sometimes a challenge, she has great compassion for everyone who wants to change their habits.

When not at work, you will find her in Squamish, where she climbs, skis, goes for long walks with Stogie and is learning to mountain bike.

Anna Lidstone

Anna Lidstone is an award-winning writer with a life-long interest in the creative process. She has talked to hundreds of artists and other creative individuals about how they juggle their creative lives with the demands of everyday life, has written a range of articles and essays on art and creativity, and has presented numerous workshops on topics such as “Protecting Your Creativity”. She is particularly interested in the role creativity plays as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. At UBC, Anna is a Senior Writer in the Development Office.

Miranda Massie

EFAP Clerk
Health Promotion Programs

As a child Miranda loved to dance.  She would dance around the house, dance down the street and beg her mother to let her wear her favourite pink tutu to the dinner table.  Growing up she was exposed to healthy examples from her parents but somewhere between high school and university, they had started to lose their meaning.  As a student Miranda was still dancing and going to the gym but her time on the treadmill became a brain dead activity done more out of habit than reaping any sort of positive health benefit.  No amount of lifting, cycling, climbing or stretching was going to elevate her workouts to anything more than what felt like a hamster trapped on its wheel.  It did not help that as a result of these mind numbing sessions at the gym, she would eat whatever she wanted.  Cheeseburgers.  Cheeseburgers are Miranda’s weakness, and of course chocolate bars, fast food, poutine, Chinese take-out and slurpees to name a few more.  Though the physical evidence may have been washed away by the exercise, the lingering health effects were not.  Miranda was tired and stressed out and often pushed herself so hard she would end up sick for weeks.   

In the last year of her undergraduate degree at UBC, Miranda volunteered to be a peer mentor at the Student Wellness Centre and it was here that her attitudes began to change.  She was part of a nutritional awareness team and began spending hours researching the latest fad diets, how to read nutritional labels and just exactly what “Canada’s Food Guide” really meant.  More importantly it was the first time Miranda had heard the term ‘wellness balance’.  She realized that it would never be enough to go to the gym or eat some fruits and veggies if aspects like her emotional and mental health were consistantly being ignored. Easier said than done.  It took a few more years of bootcamps and step classes, green teas and inedible sandwiches, calming music and meditation, doctor’s visits and massage therapists to finally find her balance-or at least one that worked for the time being.

Miranda has a vested interest in health promotion and assisting others in taking control of their health decisions.  Aside from being the current EFAP clerk in Health Promotion Programs at UBC, she has experience volunteering in a Family Planning Clinic in India and continues to work at an Options for Sexual Health clinic in Vancouver.  Miranda’s current wellness balance includes weekly yoga and dance classes, volunteering in her community, a glass or two of red wine with friends and a healthy diet, most of the time!

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Food of the Month

Oranges Every month, the Healthy UBC Blog highlights a locally available food, and gives you a recipe or two to try out.  This month, read all about mandarin oranges, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and folate.

>> Food of the Month page.


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