All eyes on Irene Umipig

Irene Umipig (Download Image)

Irene Umipig says her close knit community while growing up helped her make connections with new people. Photo by Blaise Douros/LLNL.

Irene Umipig’s story begins with a serendipitous encounter: her parents met while working at the same Honolulu hospital after immigrating from the same province in the Philippines.

“I feel very lucky to have been raised in a close-knit community while growing up in Hawaii and California,” Umipig said. “Everyone was my auntie and my uncle – neighbors, people from church, my parents’ coworkers – they all had a role in my childhood upbringing and taught me the value of looking out for your community.”

Umipig lives out those values by working to create a sense of well-being and belonging in everyone around her, including here at the Lab. As the Health and Productivity manager for the Lab’s WorkingWell program, Umipig has made it a personal goal to create opportunities for social connection and community in the context of well-being.

“It’s important to me to bring a holistic lens to everything we do here,” she said. “My job is much more than health and productivity – it’s also about creating a culture of compassion that leaders can get behind and finding ways to take care of employees from the day they arrive.”

One way that Umipig does this is by ensuring that new employees are armed with the knowledge and tools they need to care for themselves. The WorkingWell program supports employee health and wellness needs by providing a host of offerings ranging from annual health challenges, fingerstick and biometric screenings, flexibility and mobility assessments and a digital health platform through WebMD One.

“I have a pretty visible role at the Lab because our team’s work takes place beyond the four walls of the clinic,” Umipig said. “So, I like to think that visibility offers an opportunity for connection.”

As a first-generation Filipina American, Umipig has often found that her personal background is a fertile ground for relating to others.

“Our heritage can be social lubricant for connection,” Umipig said. “If people are open to it, it can really offer such a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level.”

When asked about what she hopes for readers to take away from this story, Umipig shared: “I hope my story conveys that I’m open to making more connections. If you see me around the Lab, please feel free to say hello and start a conversation from what you learned about me.”


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