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MUSC recognized as Gold Apple hospital

The South Carolina Hospital Association and North Carolina Prevention Partners recognized MUSC for providing the highest standard of excellence for the healthy food environments offered to employees, patients and visitors.

Hospitals receiving this acknowledgment are considered Gold Apple Hospitals as a part of the Working Well initiative. MUSC joins three other South Carolina hospitals in receiving this award. Working Well is an effort to improve the health of hospital employees across the state of South Carolina by creating worksite wellness environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice. It is funded by The Duke Endowment, based on NC Prevention Partners' success in developing infrastructure for effective worksite wellness programs in North Carolina, and is managed by the S.C. Hospital Association.

Healthy vending
                                          machineDr. Susan Johnson stands next to the healthy vending machine at the Wellness Center. A healthy vending machine also is in the lobby of the Colbert Education Center & Library. Jen Wright, Working Well manager, will be presenting MUSC executive leadership and members of the wellness team with the Gold Apple recognition at noon March 1 during a celebration event in the Horseshoe.

Susan Johnson, Ph.D., wellness program coordinator, said the award is important recognition that MUSC sets access to healthy food as a priority. "As a center of excellence and Gold Apple recipient, we are held accountable for not only meeting the highest standards set forth by the Working Well project, but also sharing our successes and experiences with others."

In order to receive this recognition, MUSC addressed several aspects of how it provides, prices and markets healthy food options, as recommended by NC Prevention Partners. MUSC worked with its food management company, Sodexo, to provide healthy options at every station and to post nutrition information for all items in the cafeteria.

Fresh, local produce is available through weekly farmers markets held on campus as well as delivery service of locally sourced food and produce through Community Supported Agriculture programs. Healthy vending machines serving only all-natural, organic and preservative-free items have been installed in several buildings on campus and existing vending machines feature a "traffic lite" system to identify healthy choices. A 5 cent surcharge has been added to unhealthy items, with proceeds benefiting the MUSC Heart Health pediatric weight management program, part of the Boeing Center for Children's Wellness.

MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., said MUSC appreciates the recognition and looks forward to the expansion of wellness and health promotion beyond the campus. "As a leader in health education in South Carolina, we feel a responsibility to create an environment in which people can learn about and pursue healthy eating."

In addition to changing food environments, MUSC also is using education and benefits to support healthy behaviors. Newsletters, weekly columns in MUSC's newspaper The Catalyst, daily broadcast message tips and Facebook provide information on healthy eating and special events. These special events include live cooking demonstrations and "eat this, learn that" lunch and learn sessions.

Coming this spring, a new MUSC Community Garden will be made available as a living classroom where a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown in South Carolina will be harvested for use by staff, faculty and the community. MUSC's Nutrition Services website also offers educational resources and teaching opportunities to faculty and staff.
Jen Wright, Working Well manager, praised MUSC's efforts.

"Already recognized as a Working Well Center of Excellence, MUSC is once again proving their leadership in employee wellness. This initiative and the Gold Apple recognition aren't about taking away options; they're about eliminating excuses and making it easier to choose health. MUSC has done this by providing increased access to healthy food while taking away the economic burden by making the healthy choice the less expensive one."

Johnson said the award represents an important shift in attitude.

"I believe that what will sustain this effort is the cultural change that we are creating throughout the organization. My hope is that as this shift continues, making healthy choices and eating fresh, local food will become the norn, not the exception."

National Nutrition Month
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 1, Library portico

  • Live cooking demonstration
  • Free samples available
  • Recipes, nutritional information
  • Farmers market
  • Local food vendors
  • Gold Apple presentation


Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.