LiVe Well Center manager passionate about health and fitness
Record contributing writer
Dee Hill-Mey glances up often at a handwritten note pinned to her office wall at Park City Medical Center’s LiVe Well Center. The veteran “Wellcoach” and lifelong health and fitness professional keeps it there to remind her why she’s manager of the LiVe Well Center. The note, scrawled on the back of a business card by a Summit County client, reads simply: “To Dee – Thank you for your everything! I will use what you have taught me all of my life.”
The LiVe Well Center offers a variety of services, including: wellness assessments; wellness, lifestyle, nutrition and weight loss consultations; individual and group wellness coaching and body assessment; and personal training for exercise and sports performance for athletes at every level.
Hill-Mey, who holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology from San Francisco State University and a doctorate in health promotion and education from the University of Utah, has been the LiVe Well Center’s manager since January of 2015. “I have a job that allows me to do what I’m passionate about, which is helping people achieve, maintain and live a healthy and fulfilling life. When I get a note or an email like that from a client acknowledging our work and our contribution to their lives, it’s a wonderful feeling. I think, oh wow,” she says.
It’s an irony, perhaps even serendipitous, that the mission statement of Intermountain Health Care (“helping people live their healthiest lives possible”) so closely mirrors her own statement.
Hill-Mey moved to Park City in 1998 with her husband, Ray, then an FBI agent sent here to do security planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was a road she seemed destined to travel at mid-life, after a long and distinguished career in health and fitness spanning the continent.
Growing up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as one of six children, Hill-Mey loved the outdoors. She remembers idyllic summer vacations at the family’s summer cottage on Cape Cod. “I loved the beach, swimming and sailing in the ocean. I always felt at home in the water, I think because I’m a Pisces,” she grins.
Tragedy struck when her father died of a massive heart attack at age 50. “I couldn’t understand it,” she recalls. “My dad had a good lifestyle, but back then nobody knew about the roles of high cholesterol and blood pressure. I think, subconsciously, that may be why I chose health and fitness as my life’s work.”
Hill-Mey took her bachelor’s degree in health science and physical education at Springfield College in Massachusetts. A natural athlete, she played field hockey, was on the rowing team and became an athletic trainer.
She met Ray Mey in college while working as Rhode Island’s first female surf lifeguard on a local beach. “Some of the lifeguards razzed me, but Ray was always respectful. He was, and still is, an all-around nice guy,” she gushes. They married in 1980 after a seven-year courtship and have a grown daughter, Valerie.
Moving with each new FBI posting, Hill-Mey traversed the country for many years. Nevertheless, she always found work in her chosen field. Living and working in San Francisco in the early 1980s, Hill-Mey created the first in-house employee and health promotion program for Levi-Strauss & Co. While there she joined the venerable Dolphin Club and swam as part of their ocean relay swim team. Her epic swims are legendary: Alcatraz to the Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square five times; the Golden Gate Bridge swim; the Lake Tahoe relay swim; and the Maui Channel relay swim in Hawaii, for which her Dolphin Club team still holds the record. She also competed in the very first “Escape from Alcatraz” triathlon. An accomplished rower and competitive single sculler, Hill-Mey finished in the top five at the 1983 National Championships.
She and her husband lived in Arlington, Virginia from 1985 through 1998. While working for Gannett/USA Today, she created and managed the employee health and fitness program, for which she received the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports award for best corporate program in the country.
By the time Hill-Mey arrived in Park City in 1998, she was a seasoned veteran in her field. For the next several years she had her own business as a Wellcoach, health advocate and career coach and recruiter. In 2009, while attending a lecture at the University of Utah, she was inspired by a professor to get her PhD.
Two years ago she was offered a job at the LiVe Well Center and tasked with creating the Center’s health//wellness coach service. Last year she was offered the manager’s position at the Center and will soon be expanding the Center within the PC Medical Center complex.
It’s the job Hill-Mey seemed destined to have. “Managing the Center is the perfect job for my skill set,” she says. “It was the ideal opportunity to put to use all of what I have done in my career and what I learned in my doctoral program. We aim at a variety of target groups, including healthy adults who want to maintain or improve their heath, people with chronic conditions who want to feel better and take fewer medications, and athletes who want to improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injury,” she says.
The LiVe Well Center provides a unique service to Summit County, says Hill-Mey. “Our proactive approach in helping people get healthy and maintain their health works well in our health-conscious, active community,” she says, adding, “I feel blessed to have this job.”
For more information about the Park City LiVe Well Center, go to http://www.intermountainhealthcare.org.
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