Canton, Ohio: To promote good health and wellbeing among its employees, Mercy Medical Center continues to expand its vibrant, ongoing program of free and low-cost employee wellness initiatives.
From regular screenings and seminars on hot health topics to exercise classes and motivational weight-loss challenges, the award-winning Mercy Wellness Program has helped hundreds of employees improve their overall health.
Recent examples include:
· Biggest Loser Challenge. More than 200 employees lost about 1,500 pounds over a six-week period in this friendly, four-person team competition. The team with the greatest percentage of weight loss split the grand prize of $1,000. The second-place team received $600, and the third-place team $400.
· Start! Walking Challenge, which annually attracts hundreds of employee participants.
· Free monthly blood pressure checks.
· Annual Wellness Fair. A festive event that includes music, games and prizes, the employee wellness fair offers free screenings for cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, pulmonary, bone density, fitness and more.
· Regular exercise classes. Offerings include total body conditioning, Zumba®, FLABS (flexibility and abs), fitness fusion, cardio kickboxing, yoga, Pilates and on-site personal training.
· Weekly Lunch & Learns. Expert speakers present health information in an informal setting on topics such as cardiovascular disease, behavioral health, migraines, fitness and exercise, back pain, cancer prevention, body mechanics, work-station ergonomics and more.
· Free and low-cost courses on weight management, stress management, cholesterol reduction and smoking cessation.
As a result of its employee wellness initiatives, Mercy won the Fit-Friendly Gold Award from the American Heart Association and a bronze-level Healthy Ohio Worksite Award from Health Action Council Ohio in 2008.
Unique Approach to Wellness
Mercy's employee health and wellness manager Kathy Wise, R.D./L.D., licensed wellness coach and certified personal trainer, believes Mercy's approach to its employee wellness program is unique.
She says, "So often companies will ask human resources staff to handle wellness programs in addition to other responsibilities. They often don't have the time or access to resources to maintain programs that truly make a difference in employee health. In contrast, Mercy has made significant investments in a vigorous, sustainable approach, and we're already seeing the fruits of that investment."
Wise adds that Mercy's next major wellness venture is renovating space for an on-site fitness center that will be available for all employees.
Employees Give Wellness Program a Thumb's Up
Many employees have commented on the importance of Mercy Wellness Program in achieving their personal fitness goals. Bonnie Olson, a certified professional coder in the hospital's ambulatory care clinic, notes the program renewed her desire to invest in her health.
"Mercy Wellness Program certainly has a better return than the stock market," says Olson. "The hospital offers classes that both fit into my work schedule and are reasonably priced. I see this as Mercy taking positive steps to support its employees on their personal health care journey, which is a rare win-win situation."
About Mercy Medical Center
Mercy Medical Center, a nonprofit corporation of the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals Health System, operates a 476-bed hospital serving Stark, Carroll, Wayne, Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties and parts of Southeastern Ohio. It has 550 physicians on its Medical Staff and employs 2,500 people. Mercy operates outpatient health centers in Carrollton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Louisville, North Canton, Plain Township and Tuscarawas County. A Catholic hospital, Mercy Medical Center upholds the mission and philosophy of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine and continues to be responsive to the needs of the community, including the provision of care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, see www.cantonmercy.com