Media Advisory: Wake Forest University welcomes its first Director of Wellbeing

Wake Forest University has named Malika Roman Isler (’99) as its first Director of Wellbeing.

A doctoral level-trained health scientist, Roman Isler is currently a research administrator and faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will begin her new role on Oct. 1 with more than 10 years of experience integrating research and programming, developing strategic plans that guide health and wellbeing initiatives, and defining assessment tools to ensure research and program effectiveness.

Roman Isler brings a strong working knowledge of wellbeing as the intersection of emotional, social, physical, financial, occupational, spiritual, intellectual and environmental dimensions of life. At Wake Forest, she will be responsible for coordinating and developing programming for the various aspects of the University’s transformative new approach to wellbeing called “Thrive.” Equal parts education and inspiration, the campus-wide effort – which will be kicked off on Friday, Sept. 5 – aims to give students, faculty and staff the skills, knowledge and perspective to live healthier, balanced lives.

“Malika’s impressive track record will help to build on the University’s holistic approach to wellbeing; create new synergies among campus partners; and help students, faculty and staff develop healthy habits and build a sense of resilience that will carry them forward through the ever-unfolding challenges of a rapidly changing world,” said Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue.

Roman Isler’s appointment is made possible by a gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest to establish an endowment for this position, support the transformation of Reynolds Gym, and fund related programming and faculty research.

As a Wake Forest alumna, Roman Isler has deep ties to the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities. Prior to her tenure at UNC, she spent 15 years in Winston-Salem, including time at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“While wellbeing is a new, formal initiative, it is not new to Wake Forest. I know that from my undergraduate experience and even my time at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine,” said Roman Isler. “Maintaining wellbeing and balance is central to my own professional and personal lifestyle. I look forward to using my experience as a researcher, a faculty member, a collaborator and a former Wake Forest student to advance the University’s mission to educate the whole person and promote wellbeing among the entire campus community.”

Roman Isler earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, N.C., a master’s in public health from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., and a B.S. from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

About Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at


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