Bringing Workplace Wellness to the Hudson Valley

September 23rd, 2017 - Good health means good business. As the prevalence of chronic disease rises, along with the cost of medical care, employers pay the price through their employer-sponsored health care costs and the impacted productivity of their workers. According to the CDC, full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work each year than healthy workers, costing an estimated annual total of $153 billion in lost productivity.

However, there is good news. For every $1 spent on workplace wellness programs, employers can save up to $6 in cost; therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to get involved. As part of a state-funded Population Health Improvement Project (PHIP), the HealthlinkNY Community Network has joined forces with community stakeholders to bring a culture of health to the workplace in the Hudson Valley.

Workplace Wellness Coordinator Training – training those ready to help improve health!

Efforts began in Sullivan County – a county ranked 61st lowest out of 62 counties in the NYS County Health Rankings, largely due to the quality of life factors, such as poor physical and mental health.

On April 7, 2017, the HealthlinkNY Community Network, in collaboration with the Greater Hudson Valley Health System and other community partners, held a Wellness Coordinator Training for all wellness coordinators, wellness champions, and any other wellness go-getters from businesses and organizations across Sullivan County. The all-day training taught attendees how to develop a wellness committee, create a healthy environment for themselves and their co-workers, advocate for policy change, and utilize various free programs in the community to help.

As each attendee walked out the door on April 7th, they carried a toolkit to bring wellness programs to their business or organization at no cost. Throughout the event, attendees networked with local programs providing free resources for workplace wellness, such as the American Heart Association, TFAC, Sullivan County Department of Health, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Rural Health Network, and HealthlinkNY Community Network. At the end of the day, each business and organization in attendance committed to working with at least one of the local programs. Those who followed through with their commitment will be honored at a medals ceremony in December, held in the beautiful town of Bethel Woods.

The next training will be brought to Orange County, on October 12th, at the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. The HealthlinkNY Community Network and the Greater Hudson Valley Health System look forward to meeting a new group of passionate, innovative, and committed wellness champions in Orange County and educating them on how easy it can be to help improve the well-being of those around them! For more information, or to register, call (845) 457-9700, or visit www.orangeny.org.

Workplace Wellness Workgroup Results

The results from the Sullivan County Wellness Coordinator Training were inspiring. From the one training alone, eleven new wellness committees have formed in the Hudson Valley and many of the businesses and organizations who attended have already taken steps towards increasing the health of their employees.

By helping create workplace wellness programs in Sullivan County, we are not just improving health in Sullivan County, but rather improving health in all of the counties where the employees reside. Employees are not restricted by county lines and thus neither are our wellness efforts.

Seeing wellness as a regional effort, the HealthlinkNY Community Network serves as a perfect entity to organize these efforts through their collaboration with all seven counties of the Hudson Valley region. Therefore, the HealthlinkNY Community Network is excited to announce the creation of the new Workplace Wellness Workgroup, planned to begin by the end of the year!

Many current stakeholders have demonstrated their interest in joining the new workgroup, as well as inviting new partners to join the conversation. The workgroup will give the Community Network the opportunity to not only provide mental health resources through the Workplace Wellness Mental Health Toolkit but also to provide physical health resources, establishing a holistic approach to improving wellness in the community.

To learn more about the HealthlinkNY Community Network please click here.