A recent survey of
Children's Hospital employees found that
76 percent thought it highly important to
talk to patients and their families about
health behaviors. However, just 37 percent
of that number reported that they do this
type of wellness counseling.
That disconnect is part
of the reason for rolling out an
innovative new program called the
Children's Hospital Wellness Initiative
that recently launched at a luncheon
sponsored by the Boeing Center for
Children's Wellness. "The initiative will
focus on getting more employees involved
with wellness, nutrition and fitness
activities so they can encourage patients
to adopt healthier lifestyles," said
Janice D. Key, M.D., co-director of the
center's Lean Team.
"You can't be preaching
wellness without practicing it."
nurses Ryan Curry, left, and Jill Evans
are offering up office space for one of
the mini-gyms. Both love the idea of
making health and fitness more
convenient. Evans said employees can
push each other by working out together.
That message played out
with the Lean Team's efforts to create
healthier school environments. The Lean
Team was created in July 2007 as a
partnership between MUSC's Division of
Adolescent Medicine and the Charleston
County School District with the goal of
preventing and treating childhood obesity
through family-centered clinical programs
paired with policy and environmental
changes in schools and communities.
Research revealed that
the healthiest schools were ones that had
a robust staff wellness program.
Similarly, research suggests that health
care providers who engage in healthy
behaviors are more likely to counsel their
patients on these issues.
The initiative, led by
Key, director of adolescent medicine, and
Susan Johnson, Ph.D., director of the
Office of Health Promotion, will be a
collaborative project involving different
groups to target Children's Hospital
employees, including Employee Wellness,
Weight Management, Sodexo, Boeing Center
and dietetic interns. There will be
preventative services, including worksite
screenings, mobile mammograms and sleep
screenings. The program will be managed
through the Boeing Center for Children's
Wellness by registered dietitian Lucie
Kramer interprets the
survey results and works collaboratively
to implement programs. "I am enthusiastic
about working with Children's Hospital
staff to bring them the programs they want
to facilitate an environment of wellness.
This is a very unique endeavor for a
children's hospital, which makes it even
Weight Management will
be providing a 10-week program, Healthy
Happy Hour that will start Oct. 8. The
interactive class-based program teaches
healthy behavior changes. There is a 50
percent refund for successful completion
of the $98 program, an incentive paid by
the Boeing Center. To register, email
In the arena of
physical activity, there will be fitness
testing, a walking program, a desk workout
program, signage for indoor and outdoor
walking and biking trails, a stairwell
program, development of a physical
activity and break policy as well as the
creation of break room mini-gyms. As far
as nutrition goals, employees will receive
incentives for purchasing wellness items
in the cafeteria and various educational
opportunities, including cooking classes,
will be provided. There also will be a
seminar series on topics from stress
management to sleep hygiene.
Key said she's amazed
at the scope and depth of the project and
how it pulls together so many of MUSC's
resources to support Children's Hospital
employees in adopting healthier
Johnson added that
there's a big push nationwide for
hospitals to be leaders of change in
creating a culture of health. They will be
providing assessments and evaluations to
see what parts of the program do well or
may need to be revamped. What they learn
will help shape expanding this program to
other areas of the hospital.
Through work with the
S.C. Hospital Association and the Working
Well program, her office has access to
nationally recognized, evidence-based
assessment tools that allow comparisons
against industry standards for
hospital-based employee wellness.
"This pilot is an
excellent opportunity for us to move
beyond the initial criteria for healthy
hospitals and provide evidence that could
support the expansion of prevention
efforts on a national level," said
Part of the initiative
is getting good employee feedback. A
Wellness Program Needs and Interest Survey
was completed by 312 participants in the
Children's Hospital. It was administered
to Children's Hospital faculty, nurses,
food and environmental services, child
life specialists, volunteer services,
faculty and residents between February and
August to assess current health status and
behaviors, to generate baseline data and
guide program development.
Among its findings were
that 26 percent of employees reported
being 20 pounds or more overweight and 36
percent, up to 20 pounds overweight.
Eighteen percent said they rarely
exercised and 45 percent reported lower
back pain in the past six months.
Twenty-eight percent reported that they
regularly practice stress management with
47 percent reporting that they allow
themselves a five to 10 minute break.
"With more than 12,000
employees, individualized programming is
virtually impossible, so the pilot was
designed with the creation of target
groups based on job responsibilities as
well as current health levels and
interests," said Johnson. The survey
highlighted health issues specific to work
groups, which gave insight into program
development and in particular, scheduling.
However, baseline data
and needs assessments aren't enough to
"We could have the best
program in the world but if people don't
know about it, we won't be successful,"
said Johnson, adding that's why they
created a wellness committee and are
recruiting individual wellness champions.
Kramer said Wellness Champions are an
integral part of the team, serving as the
primary contact for their area.
"Serving as a wellness champion will not
take a lot of extra time but is essential
to the success of the overall wellness
program and can be rewarding."
For information about
the program or being a champion, visit www.musc.edu/lean_team/chwellness/index.htm
or contact Kramer at email@example.com or
Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.