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Snapshot: Vicki O'Neill
05.13.11
 
Vicki O'Neill. Image above: Vicki O'Neill's passion is health. And she has been promoting better health to NASA Langley's employees since 1997. Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

When it comes to job titles, Vicki O'Neill can't possibly have just one. To name a few, she is an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) program coordinator, a medical assistant and a health promotion coordinator for NASA Langley’s clinic.

She is known as a "jack of all trades" on center. She conducts patient testing, draws blood, teaches AED/CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training, and she sets up and promotes health and wellness programs, speakers and screenings.

When the AED Program began at Langley in 2004, the center had 150 responders. Now, there are almost 450.

"I want to see the program grow even more," O’Neill said. "My parents have both had heart problems, plus heart disease is the number one killer in America. So, I am very passionate about the work that I do here."

Each month she helps to coordinate up to three health education booths, one or more speakers and numerous health screenings. Since January, she has already coordinated 30 health and wellness promotions and activities.

O'Neill was particularly busy this week for National Women’s Health Week, May 9-13.

"As part of our health and wellness promotions, we set up a week of amazing topics," she said. "Breast cancer, infertility, hormone therapy, stress management and heart health … all hot health topics for women right now."

O'Neill understands, being a mom of two, that women can sometimes set their own health aside to care for others. "We try to balance work, home and everything in between," she said. "In caring and doing for others, we often neglect ourselves. We need to take time out for ourselves to maintain our health and quality of life."

That advice was echoed all week during the informative health presentations at Langley. Presentations were given by the co-founders of Beyond Boobs!, Dr. Robin Poe-Ziegler from The New Hope Center for Infertility, Frank Paris from the Hormone Replacement Center, Theresa Picone from REACH Employee Assistance and Cardiologist, Dr. Patricia Nahormek.

Albeit the week's national observance, she organizes health event’s year-round for all of Langley's employees.

"We also have numerous health screenings coming such as footprint analysis and bone density testing," O’Neill said of Langley's clinic services.

In June, she will coordinate presentations for National Men’s Health Week. She also plans the health side of NASA Langley’s annual Safety and Health Awareness Week (SHAW).

"I have gained many, many contacts around the peninsula. I am always searching for new groups or health topics to bring out to NASA," she said.

And she continues to learn new things for herself.

O'Neill received her associate’s degree in healthcare management and is certified as an occupational hearing conservationist, a basic life support instructor and a medical assistant. She is also a faculty member at the Tidewater Center for Life Support in Norfolk, Va.

She manages her own stress by using her creativity as an outlet. O'Neill scrapbooks, writes, draws and designs cakes.

"I took various art classes from seventh grade through my senior year. I originally wanted to pursue a degree in art, but I had a few very close family members get sick and my desire to know more led me to the medical field," O'Neill said. "Plus, there are always new research studies, always something new to learn. The human body is fascinating."

She hopes to collide both worlds by authoring a book one day, adding yet another title to her collection.

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