On Nov. 14 MUSC was recognized as a Gold Star Hospital as part of Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and N.C. Prevention Partners (NCPP), for providing the highest standard of excellence in employee quit-tobacco systems for tobacco cessation.
MUSC is the first institution of higher learning in South Carolina to receive recognition. Jen Wright, Working Well manager, presented the MUSC leadership and wellness team with the award prior to the screening of the tobacco industry documentary Addiction Incorporated. The documentary, held Nov. 14, was held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.
"As a major health care provider and educator, MUSC has a responsibility to lead by example," said MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. "We have made considerable progress in the past year on our campus and look forward to working with other hospitals and universities to implement similar initiatives on their campuses."
Funded by The Duke Endowment, managed by SCHA, and informed by NCPP's success in developing infrastructure for effective worksite wellness programs in North Carolina, Working Well is an effort to improve the health of hospital employees across the state of South Carolina by establishing a culture of worksite wellness where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
MUSC addressed key components of an effective quit-tobacco system recommended by Working Well and showed a strong commitment to provide a tobacco-free environment and the best possible support for employees to lead a tobacco-free life.
"The commitment of MUSC to not just lead, but model healthy behaviors through a supportive culture is evident," said Wright. "They are change-makers and an impressive example to hospitals, businesses, and higher education of innovative and effective implementation strategies."
While MUSC had a strong desire to implement a tobacco-free campus policy, as a public institution, they required statutory authority to do so. MUSC led a coalition of colleges and universities in the state seeking the opportunity to set campus-specific policies concerning tobacco use.
The General Assembly passed this legislation, and MUSC implemented a comprehensive policy. MUSC has increased cessation assistance for staff and students including classes, nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medications. In addition, employee incentives are used to promote healthy behaviors among employees.