IBJNews

2013 Healthiest Employers: Indiana University Health

Tom Harton
August 16, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

winner OR finalist 5,000+ EMPLOYEES

Indiana University Health champions healthy lives in body, mind and soul

iuhealth-bed-race-15col.jpg IU Health employees get exercise—and raise money—in the Bed Race & Boogie. (Photo provided)

Indiana University Health’s wellness program is so robust that it has an entire division whose purpose is to bring healthy habits to the broader community, and it’s been recognized nationally for its success.

IU Health’s Garden on the Go program, which brings healthy food to high-poverty neighborhoods, was represented when the White House convened various groups from around the country to share best practices in solving community problems.

Garden on the Go, which started in the summer of 2011 as a mobile produce truck visiting various neighborhoods around the city, has morphed into a year-round effort that every week sets up what amounts to a mini farmers’ market at 22 locations around the city.

logo-iuhealth-258.gifLisa Cole, manager of community outreach for IU Health, said the program recently recorded its 40,000th transaction. Garden on the Go partners with 22 organizations, such as public housing facilities and senior centers, that host the program inside their facilities.

Abandoning the produce truck model and moving the sales inside has been the key to Garden on the Go’s success, Cole said. It removes barriers such as access to the truck and inclement weather. Last summer’s heat “probably would have killed the program,” said Cole. Instead, it’s still winning awards, including this year’s State Health Commissioner’s Award for Public Health.

Of course the heart of IU Health’s wellness program remains focused on the hospital system’s 26,000 statewide employees.

Marcella Cooper, IU Health’s manager of employee wellness, notes that a hospital wellness program has to serve more than the needs of doctors and nurses; it has to serve those working in food service, housekeeping, information technology and other fields.

That diverse workforce, along with its round-the-clock schedule and various locations around the state, means IU Health has to communicate with employees in a variety of ways, from home mailings, to videos to emails. And at almost any meeting an employee goes to there is a “wellness moment” to discuss something that needs to be focused on from a wellness standpoint or to provide some kind of program update, Cooper said.

IU Health’s Wellness Champions program recruits willing employee participants to champion the wellness program among their coworkers. Then there’s the weekly “Sanctuary Moment,” an email that goes out every Monday that is “designed to give you a moment to reflect, feel, and restore your soul in these busy times.” A recent example discussed the benefits of drinking water and asked how spiritual needs could also be quenched.

The hospital’s wellness program includes more traditional elements, including a new wellness portal, which provides employees with access to their personal health information and tools, tips and resources to monitor and improve their health. It also features an emotional and spiritual well-being toolkit developed internally at IU Health.

There’s an employee health clinic, free health coaching and disease education and employee assistance counselors to help with stress management, personal crisis situations, conflict resolution and financial issues. Employees also have access to low-cost, onsite fitness centers and classes, walking maps and bike racks. A “Use the Stairs” campaign encourages people to forego elevator rides to build physical activity into their daily work routine. IU Health’s free Quit for Life program helps employees beat their smoking habits.

iuhealth-employees-at-salad-bar-15col.jpg IU Health is getting rid of junk food and fried food options. (Photo provided)

Food options at IU Health facilities are being upgraded as part of an effort undertaken with the national organization Partnership for a Healthier America.

IU Health is working to hit various benchmarks set out by the partnership, including eliminating junk food within five feet of the cash register and getting rid of fried food. One goal is to provide nutrition labeling for all cafeteria food options by next July.

More than 5,500 employees representing more than 20 IU Health entities participated in this year’s Employee Weight Loss Challenge, a source of camaraderie and friendly competition for employees statewide. Sometimes other competitions are extended to outside organizations. In Bloomington, for example, hospital employees are challenging Bloomington’s city employees in a variety of competitions, Cooper said.

“People spend so much of their lives at work, so if we can help them live their best lives it can trickle down to their family and community,” Cooper said.•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

ADVERTISEMENT