DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System earned the American Heart Association's (AHA) Gold Certification as a Start! Fit-Friendly Company, which is granted to companies that aim to improve the health and wellness of employees.
"We are honored to receive this acknowledgement by the AHA, which recognizes Geisinger nationally as a champion for the health of our employees and honors the work we do to create a culture of physical activity and wellness in the workplace," said Diane Harlow, manager, Wellness Program, Geisinger Health System.
Companies earn Gold-level recognition when they fulfill criteria such as offering opportunities for physical activity, enhancing healthy eating options in the workplace and promoting a culture of wellness. The certification is valid for one year.
"Geisinger has implemented many programs that resulted in our eligibility for Gold status," Harlow said. "We are proud of our current accomplishments and look forward to taking our programs to the next level; next year we are aiming for the Platinum Certification."
Geisinger employees have access to free pedometers, yoga sessions and on-site recreation or fitness facilities. The Wellness Department also launched the Take the Stairs poster campaign, which encourages employees to use the stairs rather than elevators. Maps of indoor and outdoor walking paths are also available for employees at all locations throughout the health system.
Additionally, strong relationships exist between the Foodservices, Clinical Nutrition and the Wellness departments. The Back to Basics program provides monthly information on basic nutrition topics such as the food pyramid and reading food labels. Also, Foodservices' Healthy Selections is overseen by a dedicated coordinator who works to develop and offer the best food choices for patients, staff and visitors.
Finally, Geisinger offers employees yearly opportunities to participate in wellness checks for blood pressure, body fat/BMI, and biometrics lipid panels and glucose, among others. Awareness campaigns are planned monthly, including women's heart screenings and smoking cessation programs. The Wellness Department also offered a Maintain, No Gain Program to support employees' healthy eating efforts during the holiday season, and throughout the year employees take part in departmental weight-loss challenges.
"We've worked very diligently over the past several years to increase wellness offerings at Geisinger, and the Gold Certification is indicative of that," Harlow said. "We look at this recognition as an acknowledgement that we are on the right track, and as a call to action to continue the work we are doing."