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Wellness Self-Care Program


The Wellness Self-Care program is focused on research, education, and advocacy that facilitates the promotion of wellness self-care for all. Our work aims to identify and implement the most effective methods to advance the adoption of a strength-based wellness approach for people across the lifespan, especially people who encounter barriers to wellness. Projects include knowledge inquiry, translation, and dissemination through the creation of practical wellness self-care tools and resources, program development and evaluation, workforce training, and qualitative methods and community based participatory research.  Students, staff, faculty, and community partners with lived experience are invited to become involved in the areas of focus outlined below.

Areas of Focus 

Since our ultimate audience is individuals, our program develops and disseminates self-care tools and resources for use by diverse audiences, including people with mental health and substance use challenges, the healthcare workforce, family caregivers, and young adults in higher education. We are invested in providing self-help tools and resources that can be used independently or with the guide of a coach, peer supporter, or professional service provider, depending on individual needs and preferences.

Our dissemination activities include workforce training, educational seminars, learning collaboratives, publications, and a web-based resource repository. We are committed to creating intentional communities so people can access tools and information to empower one another to create a wellness lifestyle. We recognize that different training practices affect learning and likely affect whether the training or other dissemination method leads to actual use of the information, resources, or practices shared. Therefore, we aim to build evaluation into dissemination efforts when feasible and to share the results with the relevant audiences.

Given the very personal and individualized nature of wellness and wellness self-care, our program is committed to partnering with the people we hope to reach and support. We are committed to using a co-production approach in our own work and to work with others to assist them in incorporating co-production principles and processes in their research. Through our work, we hope to identify, evaluate, and promote best practices in co production.

To ensure the relevance of the materials we create and the information we share, our team is invested in exploring differences and disparities in the use of wellness self-care activities across the eight dimensions of wellness—what people are doing, what obstacles and challenges get in the way of the things we want to do, and how the social determinants of health impact wellness self-care activities. We use what we learn to improve self-care tools and resources, identify and support people and groups who are underserved and under-supported, and assist service providers and researchers to incorporate a strength-based wellness self-care focus in their work.

Measuring wellness is an important component, as measurement can provide a way to identify strengths, guide goals and plans, track changes, and serve as an outcome measure for evaluating efficacy of materials and programs. We identify and review existing measures related to wellness in the eight dimensions. Current activities include examining our own Wellness Inventory  https://alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/wellness-in-recovery/quiz/ to determine and improve its psychometric properties.

Pilot projects provide an opportunity to test training, interventions, and tools on a manageable scale. Like our other activities, a co-production approach builds an engaged team to design, implement, and evaluate these projects. We share our findings through publications and presentations when possible and use what we learn to inform future work.

Active Projects

  • Wellness Inventory
  • Journey to Wellness Pilot
  • Wellness Self Care Tools and Resources

    Core Faculty

    Core Faculty:  Peggy Swarbrick, Ph.D., Director