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Healthy teamwork wins race

Joan Bohlke’s love of healthy living helped her win the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

Joan Bohlke, research coordinator in the Department of Health Policy and Health Services

This past June, Joan Bohlke combined her job as a research coordinator at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s department of health policy and health services research and her passion for running by forming a team of fellow BU employees to run in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge.

Bohlke belongs to a local track club and every year competes in about 20 races. But only teams from local organizations can enter the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, so this was her first time coordinating a team of runners. Sporting BU Dental T-shirts, she and department teammates Thomas Dietrich, an assistant professor, Christine Keeves, administrative secretary, Brenda Heaton, an instructor, Thayer Scott, a clinical instructor, Martha Nunn, an associate professor, and Ricky Cruz, IRB coordinator, were among 12,000 runners who competed in the June 15 race.

 “I just really wanted my teammates and coworkers to have a fun and enjoyable experience,” Bohlke says.

What she didn’t expect, however, was that she would beat competitors from more than 600 area companies to take the women’s crown. Only when she turned onto Charles Street near the Public Garden and a race official told her she was in the lead did she realize that she was the first woman finishing.

“It was a surprise,” Bohlke says, “and I was happy to have a good finish for the team.” Her time in the 3.5-mile road race was 19:38, the best among women runners in any of this year’s U.S. JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge races.

Bohlke believes that people working in the field of public health should set an example of healthy living in their own lives. “I view any type of exercise as an important component of overall wellness, both physically and mentally,” she says.

That’s why she always manages to fit some exercise into her busy schedule, usually getting in a run during lunch or after work. “I might also spend time at the gym weight-lifting or cross training,” she says. In addition to training about two hours a day, Bohlke has completed a graduate degree in public policy and coordinates a pediatric research project.