Black Brings Passion for Wellness to Workplace

It takes only one glance of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Officer Cathy Black’s desk to see she has a passion for health and wellness. Sitting within arm's reach of her computer is a pair of yellow, four-pound dumbbells.

“Every half-an-hour to an hour, I’ll do some arm lifts, squats or walk around. I don’t feel as old if I do that. It’s easier to get out of the chair as the day goes on.”

Cathy joined the Navy upon turning 18 years of age, which opened her eyes to a new level of fitness. She served six years in the military, yet her passion for exercise has never wavered. While it might be cliché to say Cathy eats, sleeps and breathes fitness, it’s pretty accurate. She actually sleeps in her workout clothes, as it helps get her up and out of bed in the morning for a 30-minute workout on a stationary bike, a workout she completes seven days a week.

“If you have to get up and get dressed, sometimes you won't do it at all.”

As an Environmental Safety Officer, Cathy takes indoor air quality samples, conducts accident investigations and completes safety training sessions, among a number of other tasks. On the side of her position with EHS, she works as an ergonomic instructor for the university where she teaches Ohio State employees effective postures and suggests supplemental techniques to help achieve a healthy work experience. For seven years she’s trained employees on ergonomics, helping thousands. Her main message is to do whatever it takes not to be static all day long.

“It’s just as simple as getting up and doing an O-H-I-O. Let’s get you out of that static position.”

On top of her work in ergonomics, Cathy has served as a Wellness Innovator since 2012, helping the EHS staff keep up with the latest trends in wellness. She also became a Health Athlete in 2014. With all of this work in wellness, one might think Cathy were a full-time physical therapist or fitness instructor.

“I guess I didn’t know I’d like to do it so much until I started working here,” Cathy said of her work as an ergonomic instructor and Wellness Innovator.

For now, she’ll keep her day job as an Environmental Safety Officer, helping with the safety of Ohio State employees, while continuing with her passion for health and wellness both inside and outside of the office.

“When someone calls me or sends me an email saying their pain went away, that’s the biggest compliment. It makes me feel really good. Even if I just helped a little bit, I feel really good about it. I wish I could do it for everyone.”