Medical school employees walk 1.3 billion steps in 100 days

Between Sept. 28, 2011, and Jan. 5, 2012, Washington University School of Medicine employees walked to the moon and back, and then around the equator 10 times.

That adds up to nearly 1.3 billion steps walked in the 100-day Tread the Med “Be A Walk Star” walking campaign, sponsored by the School of Medicine Wellness Council and managed by the Department of Human Resources. 

All participants will be honored at a reception from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 3 in the McDonnell Pediatrics Research Building Atrium. Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, will congratulate the top 10 teams and top 10 individual walkers.

Everyone who participated in Tread the Med will receive a certificate available at the reception. There also will be drawings for awards, and participants who walked at least 1 million steps also will get a surprise gift. Healthy refreshments will be available.

The program had 117 active teams with 1,846 active participants, says Gregg Evans, human resources consultant. There also were 144 individuals who participated in the program.

In all, more than 400 people walked more than 1 million steps in the 100-day period. The individual with the highest step count was Jess Siegrist-Schooley, Department of Pediatrics, who topped 4 million steps. Rounding out the top 10 individual walkers were:

  • Mary Gunn Boyle, Department of Pediatrics: 3,288,321 steps;
  • Gemma Fraterrigo, Department of Internal Medicine: 2,867,589 steps;
  • Scott Gianino, Department of Neurology: 2,581,075 steps;
  • James William Lee, Department of Surgery: 2,505,001 steps;
  • David B. Clifford, MD, Department of Neurology: 2,339,082 steps;
  • Lynne I. Collins, Department of Radiology: 2,242,247 steps;
  • Mike Royal, Department of Neurology: 2,238,129 steps;
  • Jason A. Kenney, Department of Pathology and Immunology: 2,192,235 steps; and
  • David Gutekunst, Program in Physical Therapy: 2,137,175 steps.

The average participant walked 649,139 steps, or 318 miles.

The top team was Heavy Breathers, which had an average step count of 1,325,526. The other teams in the top 10 were:

  • Peds Rock 2: 1,237,892 average steps;
  • Team S.S.: 1,236,787 average steps;
  • Artificial Intestination 2: 1,207,950 average steps;
  • Safety in Numbers: 1,148,548 average steps;
  • Women Out Walking: 1,142,253 average steps;
  • Pink Ribbon Pacers: 1,091,817 average steps;
  • HAART: 1,085,245 average steps;
  • Moving Forward: 1,080,668 average steps; and
  • Parrott Peds: 1,064,888 average steps.

Participants received incentives along the way, including a water bottle for reaching 250,000 steps; a sweatband for reaching 500,000 steps; and a T-shirt for reaching 750,000 steps. More than 900 people received T-shirts, Evans says.

“We launched the program to help our employees get healthier and to encourage a healthy habit like walking,” Evans says. “Over the course of the program, we heard many stories from participants who said they lost weight, feel better, see a positive difference in their lives from walking and have made it part of their daily routine.”

One participant reported that she was able to reduce her medication for high blood pressure, Evans says.

The Wellness Council now is compiling the results of surveys completed by participants at the campaign’s conclusion.

Tread the Med’s next campaign will begin in the spring. In the meantime, participants can still track their steps or mileage at