Wake Forest Baptist Employee Wellness Program Receives Award

June 3, 2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has received the Prevention Award for a Healthcare Organization from the N.C. Prevention Partnership (NCPP) in recognition of the medical center's ongoing efforts to improve the health of all employees.

Since 1997, ActionHealth, Wake Forest Baptist's employee wellness program, has encouraged employees to quit the use of tobacco, eat healthy foods, increase physical activity, change nutritional habits and reduce stress through classes and programs available on site. Wake Forest Baptist has designated campus-wide walking routes, offers healthy food choices in cafeterias and vending machines and provides annual employee health risk assessments.

Melva Fager Okun, Dr.P.H., NCPP's senior program manager, said that "Wake Forest Baptist has shown great leadership in sharing its work and accomplishments with other hospitals across the state."As a result, Wake Forest Baptist has been designated one of NCPP's Centers of Excellence, and most recently, was the first hospital in North Carolina to earn the Gold Star standard for employee tobacco cessation programs.

"Employee health and wellness programs are not only essential for us, but are essential for every business," said John D. McConnell, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist. "We have a national epidemic - obesity - and rising health care costs. Health and wellness programs are winners all the way around for the employees, for the employers, and for the community. I would like to specifically single out Bob Parker, our vice president of Support Services, and his staff for their commitment to a corporate culture of wellness and their leadership in the health care industry."

Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) designated Wake Forest Baptist a Platinum-Level Start! Fit-Friendly Company - the only one in the Triad rated at the highest tier - for implementing programs to encourage physical activity and good nutrition.

Media Relations

Lisa Davanzo: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587