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Published by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 2016-12-13 14:32:29

2015 Summer Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner

Summer Wellness Issue

the summer 2015

hot news from inside OMRF

Type 2 diabetes. John tried many
Chronic fatigue. times to lose weight by
Hypertension. Sleep dieting with little to no success. But
apnea. his mounting health concerns led him
No, those aren’t to turn to a surgical procedure called
conditions John Ice a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, which
studies in the lab; removes almost two-thirds of the
they’re a rundown of the stomach. The remaining “pouch” fills
medical issues he faced up quickly, letting patients get full on
four years ago. The key, a small amount of food.
he decided, to changing According to John, the surgery
his life was to lose weight. was the easy part. He was back at
A lot of it. work within two weeks and almost
Since that time, John, fully recovered within a month. That’s
a postdoctoral fellow in when the real challenge began: a
the Arthritis and Clinical complete makeover of his diet.
Immunology Research “Weight-loss surgery patients must
Program, has dropped work to change eating and exercise
more than 160 pounds. habits or the surgery can be defeated
in the long run,” John says. “It has
mostly been trying to break old, bad
habits that run deep. That remains a
daily challenge for me.”


July 3 Fitness Center Free Trial
(7 am to 1 pm)
OMRF Holiday No membership required

July 6 July 31
Fitness Center Free Trial Super Summer Challenge ends
(7 am to 1 pm)
No membership required

John Ice and Michelle Ratliff have a baby elephant
lost a combined 220 pounds so
far! That’s the equivalent of...

Half Off an NBA point guard


Whenever faced with “He’s a fitness challenge A Resolution
stressors that used to rock star,” says Fitness Kept
trigger a trip to the vending Center Coordinator Kelie
machine, John tried to head Ashley. “John competes in Most people casually well as accurately
to the gym instead. every single challenge we make a New Year’s document what
have here. As soon as I set resolution to lose a and how much she
“I noticed a significant one up, he’s there, ready to few pounds—and then was eating.
amount of weight loss sign up.” ultimately return to their
within the first year and previous habits. But “Once I made
shed nearly 120 pounds,” Today he’s in the best Michelle Ratliff is not the commitment, it
he says. “The remainder of shape of his life. most people. didn’t take long for
the weight came off over the weight to start
about six more months, and “OMRF and a lot of Michelle, who’s a flying off,” says
my weight has been pretty support from friends and postdoctoral fellow in Michelle.
stable ever since.” family have helped to make the Immunobiology and
this seemingly hopeless Cancer Research Program, She’s already
He says that OMRF’s endeavor take shape,” says reached a tipping point last lost 60 pounds,
Fitness Center has played John. “It’s up to me now to Thanksgiving when she was and she can
a big role in his weight control it because, if I don’t, chasing her two-year-old see a significant
loss, as have the healthy I know it will all come back.” nephew around the house difference in how
options offered by the and found herself fighting she looks and feels.
Research Café. The Before for air.
convenience, price and “Despite the fact
healthy options there, The next month, Michelle that I don’t eat as
John says, are great for started taking major much as I did, I
a scientist on the go. strides, both figuratively have more energy
and literally. No more now than ever
“My schedule doesn’t caffeine. No more fast before,” she says. “It’s easier to
allow me to get in the food. Consistent use get around, and I don’t get as
gym as much as I might of the Fitness Center. tired on busy work days, which
like, but I do go three or She also started using used to be a problem.”
four times a week and the MyFitnessPal app, a
do my own routine,” calorie counter, diet and Michelle now puts all that
he says. “I love the exercise tracker, on her extra energy to work, hitting
elliptical, and within the phone. It helped her join a the treadmill in OMRF’s Fitness
last year I’ve actually supportive community of Center or the running trails,
started running, which like-minded individuals, as alternating jogging and elliptical
before was virtually training six days a week.

John’s competitive
spirit has also led him
to routinely participate
in OMRF’s various
team and individual

a refrigerator


Accept the

“In less than half a year, Things are about to get and nutrition,” says Kelie.
I’ve gone from barely personal around here. “Creating a healthy
fitting in an airplane seat environment of support
to jogging on the treadmill Words will be exchanged. and motivation benefits the
for 30 minutes without Notes will be passed. entire process.”
stopping,” she says. “I People might even say
couldn’t even do that in things about you on social How can employees make
high school.” media. And that’s all part of OMRF a more motivational
Kelie Ashley’s plan. place? It’s simple, says Kelie.
Grab some Post-Its and
No, OMRF’s Fitness leave notes for coworkers,
Coordinator isn’t on a saying, “job well done” or
smear campaign. She’s “you’re a great coworker”
on a mission to increase to brighten their days.
positive communication by Or reach out and meet
introducing a new element someone new.
into this summer’s fitness
challenge: personal growth. “They might seem like
little things, but simple
“We’re taking a more actions like this help
holistic approach that build morale and create a
goes beyond physical supportive and encouraging
fitness. I want people to atmosphere for employees,
think about mental health whether they’re working
and building up others,” out or just passing in the
she says. “I want to see hallway,” says Kelie.
increased communication
and community among all Your words of
employees.” encouragement and
positive notes will all
Her approach comes count toward your goal,
from watching every weighing equally with
day as members come your fitness and nutritional
in and out of the gym. accomplishments.
Most of them work out Participants will collect their
around one another—but points in the Fitness Center
not necessarily with one weekly throughout June
another. and July.

“Mental conditioning
is a big part of fitness


Summer Wellness Issue 2015

@SeOeMn RF

Fiscal year-end is just around the corner. OKC COLOR RUN:
Why’s that such a big deal? BACK ROW: ELISE

With the close of OMRF’s “We’ve sent information SCIENTIFIC AWARDS
fiscal year, it marks the and instructions to all & NEW HIRES
deadline for updating your employees,” says HR Benefits RECEPTION:
medical, dental or other Advisor Beth Benefield. “We
benefits. also hosted a lunch-and-learn STEPHANIE MODE,
to go over details if anyone DIANA SZETO AND
OMRF’s official open had questions about what SUSAN SHEPHERD
enrollment period runs might pertain to them.”
from June 15 to 26. It’s
your once-a-year chance If you missed the session,
to change, add or drop you can check the benefits
medical, dental or tabs under Human Resources
vision benefits without a on the Intranet or contact
qualifying event. Additional Beth at 17433 or beth-
benefits include voluntary [email protected] or Sarah
life, voluntary accidental Hunter at 17436 or sarah-
death and dismemberment [email protected].
and voluntary short-term
disability coverage. “Don’t wait until June 26
to think about your benefits
It’s also the time to start situation,” Beth urges.
or renew a flexible benefits “Consider reviewing all of
account. If you’re looking your benefits options today
for tax incentives and ways to make sure you’ve got the
to handle out-of-pocket right combination that works
expenses like dependent best for you and your family.
care or medical costs, you It can save you money, and
might want to consider it might help you at tax time.
opening one of these But right now is the time to
accounts. make that happen.”

For 40 years, OMRF receptionist Joyce Holley
(right, shown with Pat Capra) greeted OMRF visitors with a smile.
She retired on June 1, and while she’ll be missed, we wish her all
the best as she starts the next chapter of her life. Many thanks
and congratulations, Joyce!

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