Cheryl Huff

March 10, 2022

She knows where to find a life preserver. And how to throw it.

A photo of cheryl huff
Cheryl Huff

By Jane Adair, for UCHealth

Cheryl Huff, a benefits analyst in human resources, knows where to find the life-preserver when a UCHealth employee is sinking. And she knows how to throw it. Every day she receives at least several applications for help from employees in financial and emotional distress, and she advocates for them as they get much-needed support.

“We have amazing resources available to employees — contractors, part-time, full-time — who are going through difficult times,” said Huff, who administers hardship assistance programs for employees.

Huff says UCHealth has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in ongoing relief to employees during the pandemic. And she suspects that some employees with legitimate needs may not be applying for emergency assistance.

Others may be reluctant to expose their circumstances as they face skyrocketing rents, child care conundrums or emotional and mental exhaustion.

Those who do make their way to Huff say she is a compassionate listener. She’s not going to lie — the pathos that’s comes with the job can make for some hard days. But being the listening ear who delivers UCHealth resources most days feel like a privilege.

In her 31 years a human resources professional, the past 15 at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Huff has heard her share of very human stories of people facing enormous challenges.

“I won’t ever become immune to it. Because I could be in that same situation some day; tomorrow or next week,” Huff said. “You never know when you might need these resources.”

The resources to which she is referring are both familiar and new. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, UCHealth committed $1 million to the Healthcare Workers Emergency Relief Fund. From there, eligible employees received up to $2,000 for children’s daycare, mental health counseling and other financial hardships.

“How UCHealth takes care of its employees, so they can take care of the patients, is no small thing,” said Huff. “There are employees who go to work every day, do phenomenal work, and go home to their own realities or financial insecurities. It humbles me.”

Call First Call at 1.833.701.0448 for free, confidential help for everything from emotional wellness to work/life assistance.

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