By Susan Johnson, Ph.D.
Here we are, just a few days until Christmas, and it's my last column for 2011. As I reflect back on this past year, I am amazed at what we have accomplished.
The mission of MUSC Employee Wellness is to create a culture of wellness by integrating activities, resources and policies that support health and wellness at work. We attempt to fulfill this mission through strategies related to education, awareness, policy, environment and behavior in all areas of wellness. We have implemented many programs and initiatives in each area. The following features some of the highlights.
Physical Activity and Fitness — The fitness series offers employees the opportunity to visit the wellness center four times each month to take a variety of free classes. We also hosted several fitness related events, including a Fitness Fair, ZumbaFest, START! Walking Day and Bike to Work Day.
Nutrition — MUSC's farmers market and Community Supported Agriculture program provides employees with a convenient way to purchase fresh produce. We help employees with weight management through the promotion of MUSC programs such as the Healthy Charleston Challenge, Lunchtime Losers and Healthy Happy Hour. Special events include National Nutrition Month, START! Eating Healthy Day, MUSC Eats!, Healthy Holiday Live!, and a new project — the MUSC Community Garden.
Tobacco Cessation — MUSC Employee Wellness is focused on helping employees who use tobacco find ways to quit, on increasing knowledge of lung heath, and on raising awareness about the importance of establishing a tobacco-free workplace. To support employees who would like to quit smoking, we are planning many classes and clinics free of charge at MUSC.
Preventative Screenings and Assessments — We provide screenings to MUSC employees, many free of charge to help them identify health risks and take steps to prevent illness and disease. A new event, Holistic Wellness Fair, provided employees with the opportunity to interact with businesses and practitioners who offer natural approaches to health and specialize in a array of complementary health and wellness disciplines.
S.C. Working Well — Probably the most exciting project is our involvement in South Carolina Working Well. It is a three-year, $1.2 million grant funded by The Duke Endowment aimed at helping hospitals in S.C. reduce chronic disease associated with tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity. MUSC was among eight hospitals from across the state named as Centers of Excellence. These facilities were chosen as Centers of Excellence because of the innovative leadership and commitment to wellness.
Tobacco Free Tuesdays: One-session classes created to provide employees and students the opportunity to learn about cessation options during their lunch break. Classes are at noon every other Tuesday beginning Jan. 3. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Institute of Psychiatry is offering a free, one-hour Quit Smoking class from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs 4-North.
Smoking Cessation Clinics: Monthly three-session cessation clinics facilitated by rained staff that is free of charge for MUSC employees, students and family members. Classes begin Jan. 9. Email email@example.com to register.