Berlin, VT – For the third year running, The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) earned the Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award, highlighting efforts to promote employee health. Members of CVMC’s Wellness Committee accepted the award from Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports at March 23’s Worksite Wellness Conference in Burlington.
The award recognizes Vermont employers who have made healthy behaviors a priority.
CVMC’s Wellness Committee’s mission is to “collaboratively promote positive lifestyle choices within the CVMC community.”
CVMC offers employees at least one physical activity challenge per year, pays their entrance fees to the Vermont Corporate Cup Race, maintains a one-mile walking path on the main campus, and will hold a 5-mile Fun Run/Walk June 24 to raise funds for the Vermont Health Care Share program. Health Care Share provides food-insecure residents with local farm-fresh food throughout the growing season.
The hospital launched a Couch to 5K program in February to help employees prepare for May 11’s Corporate Cup. Nearly 500 employees participated in last year’s race.
Wellness Committee members are also focused on a recently launched program titled “pause. breathe. connect.” It encourages employees to enjoy a variety of stress-reducing activities throughout the workday including meditation, drop-in acupuncture and chair massages, 10-minute yoga and guided relaxation courses.
“Our pause. breathe. connect. initiative supports employees in practicing a bit of self-care in their busy lives,” said Monica Urquhart, RN, CVMC’s manager of Employee Relations, Health and Wellness. “It only takes a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and be mindful of the present. It’s a simple gesture, but a powerful one that makes positive change. When employees feel well and affirmed in their own lives, this positivity transfers to the care of our patients and community.”
Other wellness initiatives include promoting healthy food choices at work and at home, on-site tobacco cessation courses, easy access to counseling and spiritual care providers, and a continuing focus on workplace safety.
Last year’s efforts included reaching a 79 percent employee vaccination rate against flu and completing 600 employee biometric screenings, which measured participation in a range of wellness activities.
“During the screenings, employees speak with a nurse about their well-being goals, review certain health indicators such cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and BMI (body mass index), and create an action plan to make positive lifestyle changes,” Urquhart explained.
Biometric data assesses employee risk factors and the findings help committee members address employees’ greatest barriers to health. Programs have helped staff reduce blood pressure and blood sugar readings over the past three years.
“We care about our people and we invest in their wellness in and out of work,” said Robert Patterson, CVMC’s Vice President of Human Resources and Rehabilitation Services. “Wellness is our culture and a major satisfier for our workforce. It is one of the reasons why people chose to work and stay at CVMC.”
CVMC also offers to the public a variety of Healthier Living workshops. Topics include tobacco cessation and managing chronic pain, chronic disease and diabetes. Additional wellness classes and events are offered year-round.
CVMC’s Wellness Committee members are Patterson, Urquhart, Sara Pryce, Lauren Briere, Charity Pratt, Ginger Cloud, Anne Darrow, Kim Giroux, Kelley Kendall, Mike Kennedy, Terry Redmond, Elizabeth Mauntler, Jim Phinney, Rebecca Schubert and Kristin Sweet.