What is EngageWell?
The EngageWell pod aims to promote healthy social relationships at UCLA working in partnership with other constituencies. Our social relationships on campus have many forms including pairs, small and large social groups, work and living units, and the campus community as a whole.
Our specific pod goals are:
- To foster new social connections at UCLA — through many avenues, across diverse groups of people, and for many purposes such as education, service, dialogue and enjoyment.
- To enhance the quality of existing relationships, for example, through learning better relationship skills and current evidence on compassion and empathy, and stronger sense of belonging.
- To promote positive social behaviors on campus including civility, acceptance and inclusiveness consistent with True Bruin values especially respect and integrity.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, the MoveWell Pod was integrated into EngageWell. This move was initiated by former MoveWell pod leader and Director of UCLA Recreation, Erinn McMahan, who recognized overlap between the pods’ work on fostering social engagement on campus. Presently, Erinn is the third pod co-leader of EngageWell, providing a staff and operations perspective to the pod.
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Theodore Robles, Ph.D., EngageWell Pod Co-Leader
Ted Robles is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He studies the biological mechanisms that explain how social relationships influence health. Dr. Robles is uncovering how supportive relationships with parents and spouses influence our immune system response to threats in the environment. Dr. Robles and his students are also investigating the potential health benefits associated with support from friends, intimate partners, and co-workers, including the possibility that affection in close relationships may “turn down” the body’s stress response, and whether support from co-workers can enhance positive outcomes in diabetes prevention programs.
Chris Dunkel Schetter, Ph.D., EngageWell Pod Co-Leader
Chris Dunkel Schetter is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UCLA. Her research spans many areas of maternal and child health, with a particular focus on stress, anxiety and depression in mothers during pregnancy and birth, and related maternal and child outcomes. Dr. Dunkel Schetter has been a figure in research on social support for 40 years with seminal papers and recent work arguing for the necessity of intervention work. She is passionate about EngageWell efforts to improve how we engage individually and as a community on campus, and about how we can embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion in our relationships.
Erinn Mcmahan, Director of UCLA Recreation, EngageWell Pod Co-Leader
Erinn McMahan is the Director of UCLA Recreation, which provides extensive access to a broad range of recreational activities and services. Erinn brings extensive experience in university administration, facility and program management, and coaching to his role as Director. Previously, Erinn served as the interim Associate Director of Programs and Outreach for UCLA Recreation where he helped to complete the Jane B Semel HCI Community Garden. Erinn also served for 10 years as Program Director for the Marina Aquatic Center (MAC), UCLA Recreation’s boating facility, where he initiated free student kayaking, which now attracts over 3,000 UCLA student participants a year and introduces many to basic boating safety principles.
Joni Brown, EngageWell Pod Graduate Student Researcher
Joni Brown is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology. Her research interest is in race, racial discrimination, childhood socialization messages and health in Black/African American women. As the EngageWell pod GSR, she hopes to encourage healthy and meaningful interactions and relationships among members of the UCLA community.