Category Archives: Live Well Workplace

Health Department Announces Five New Live Well Allegheny Designations

June 14, 2018

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced five new members to the Live Well Allegheny campaign, including one community, two restaurants and two workplaces. Now participating in the campaign are 59 communities, 44 restaurants, 18 workplaces and 14 school districts that are making health a priority in Allegheny County.

“When this program was first introduced, we hoped that it would quickly gather steam and that we would see more and more organizations involved in these efforts,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “I’m thrilled to see that there are five more entities that are partnering with us to improve the health of our community and am grateful for this shared vision.”

Live Well Allegheny Community

The Borough of Aspinwall has resolved to promote and encourage involvement with community volunteer activities, including the utilization of web sites and social medial to provide information on physical activity, nutrition, stress management, tobacco cessation, and other health and wellness related initiatives.

“I’m very pleased that an additional community in my district, the borough of Aspinwall, has earned the Live Well Allegheny status,” said Anita Prizio, the County Council Member representing District 3. “I look forward to seeing the borough implement its plans and how the community members respond to these great initiatives.”

Live Well Allegheny Restaurants

Eggs N’at Diner will offer vegetarian fare options, healthy side dishes, and half portions on select menu items. They have also resolved to use plant based oils for cooking and baking.

Parkhurst Dining on the campus of Chatham University will provide low-calorie salad dressings and healthy side dishes, and will use plant based oils for cooking and baking. Additionally, they will offer vegetarian and vegan fare options, brown rice and other whole grains, and low-fat milk as an alternate to cream for hot beverages.

Live Well Allegheny Workplaces

Vanadium Woods Village will provide healthy cafeteria and vending options, a private area for employees to breastfeed, and access to water fountains, water dispensers, and water coolers. Vanadium Woods Village will also ensure well-lit, safe stairwells, and access to an on-site space for physical activity. In addition, the workplace will locate safe and accessible outdoor walking or running paths and trails for its employees, provide access to a secure bicycle storage area, provide standing/walking desks, and provide a space for a workplace garden that employees can build and maintain.

Heritage Valley Health System (Sewickley) will provide healthy options in the cafeteria, vending machines, and during work meetings, and will issue health and wellness educational resources to employees. To encourage physical activity, Heritage Valley will promote weight-loss competitions or events, provide access to an on-site area for physical activity, and locate safe and accessible outdoor walking or running paths. Additionally, Heritage Valley will promote tobacco cessation through support groups, resources, and services, and will highlight success stories of employees who have successfully quit smoking, lost weight, or achieved personal health goals.

“It’s exciting to welcome five more members to the Live Well family,” said ACHD Director, Dr. Karen Hacker. “This new group is committed to making health a top priority and will implement great plans for its citizens, employees and patrons. If you haven’t yet earned the Live Well Allegheny designation, we urge you to apply now.”

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as a comprehensive and innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Allegheny County Board of Health and Dr. Hacker.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with the Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

One Community and One Workplace Earn Live Well Allegheny Status

January 25, 2018

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that one community and one workplace have earned the Live Well Allegheny designation. This brings the total to 50 communities, 41 restaurants, 14 workplaces and 13 school districts that are making health a priority in Allegheny County.

“We are very pleased to announce that the Borough of Dravosburg and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank have committed to the Live Well Allegheny program,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, ACHD Director. “To reach our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county in the nation, we want to ensure that residents have access to healthy options where we live, learn, work and eat. We encourage all community partners to join the Live Well Alleghenycampaign if they haven’t already done so.”

Live Well Allegheny Community
The Borough of Dravosburg is committed to accomplishing the goals of Live Well Allegheny, and will take actions that will impact both employees and residents. For employees, they will promote the participation in a voluntary wellness campaign and offer incentives for employees who walk or bike to work. For residents, the borough will focus on increasing physical activity by promoting walking trails, developing walking maps, encouraging multi-modal transportation by providing policies and facilities that encourage walking and biking, and promote wellness events. Dravosburg will also promote local farmers markets and ask for healthier options in their vending machines, and promote smoke-free buildings and perimeters.

Live Well Allegheny Workplace
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has a Workplace Culture Committee that provides its employees with opportunities to improve physical health, mental health, and personal and community safety. Employees have access to: healthy food options in vending machines, filtered water stations, secure bicycle storage and safe outdoor walking paths. The Food Bank has integrated workplace policies, such as a tobacco-free policy, a breast-feeding policy that includes isolated areas and flexibility for employees to pump at work, and two Employee Assistance Programs. Health education, screenings and prevention are also offered, which includes a free annual flu shot clinic for employees.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Allegheny County Board of Health and ACHD Director, Dr. Karen Hacker.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with the Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Named a Live Well Allegheny Workplace

October 12, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) designated Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC as its newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace, it was announced today.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been a fixture in our community for more than 120 years and has always focused upon the health and well-being of our region’s children, so it’s no surprise that they’ve joined the Live Well Allegheny effort,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Having a partner that is so substantial – more than one million outpatient visits, 12,000 inpatient stays, 9,600 observation stays, 147,000 emergency and Express Care visits, and 23,300 surgical procedures – is no small accomplishment and I commend ACHD and Children’s for working together to make us the healthiest county in the country.”

Children’s Hospital takes pride in focusing on employee health and culture. At the main hospital, all employees have access to the Children’s Fitness Center. A Wellness Committee, comprised of employees, offers educational sessions on a variety of health-related topics and event. The committee also encourages all employees to take regular walks around the campus daily. In addition, Children’s is a tobacco-free campus, and the hospital provides healthy food choices in its cafeteria and in vending machines.

“I am very pleased to bring Children’s Hospital on board as the newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Health Department Director. “Children’s Hospital is striving to improve the health of their employees through a variety of exciting efforts. We look forward to working together to help improve the health of all Allegheny County residents.”

Children’s moved to a new campus in May 2009, and developed a “green” campus with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the main hospital and John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center. The buildings incorporate natural light and employ energy, water, materials and land as efficiently as possible.

“Our physicians, nurses and support staff who are among leaders in their fields make Children’s a world-class pediatric facility, and we are proud to have a hospital that is healthy, innovative and environmentally sustainable for patients, families, and all staff,” said Christopher Gessner, President, Children’s Hospital. “We strive to create a work environment that enables and fosters healthy living behaviors for everyone.”

Children’s also has used more than 30 measures to design one of the quietest hospitals in the world, which includes acoustic ceiling tile in lieu of hard ceilings; special use of carpeting and door seals; silent notification for nurse call through integration of wireless communication devices; and use of personal communication devices in lieu of overhead paging.

“As committed as Children’s Hospital is to the healthy lifestyles of our employees, we also are very proud of our continued and valued partnership with area schools and out-of-school time providers to advance healthful lifestyle choices for students, including adding physical activity and healthful eating into their daily routine,” said Anne Marie Kuchera, Director, Children’s Community Health. “We have helped over 60 schools and 70 after school programs throughout the region create healthier environments for students.”

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with the Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to “Live Well.”

Live Well Allegheny was launched by County Executive Fitzgerald in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Dr. Hacker.

Several New Live Well Allegheny Designations

August 17, 2017

PITTSBURGH –  The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that one municipality, one school district, two workplaces and four restaurants have been designated as part of the Live Well Allegheny campaign during the past month. This brings the total to 49 communities, 13 school districts, 13 workplaces and 41 restaurants that are making health a priority in Allegheny County.

“In order to reach our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county for all residents it takes all of us doing our part to make healthy choices where we live, learn, work and eat,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director. “I am so pleased to be able that these organizations are joining with us in our efforts, and thank them for each contributing to Live Well Allegheny.”

Live Well Allegheny Community

Mount Oliver Borough is committed to sharing information on wellness campaign events with the broader community to encourage the voluntary participation of residents, encourage multi-modal transportation of residents by providing facilities or policies that encourage walking and bike riding with a specific focus on making good connections to municipal parks and promoting and their farmer’s market.

Live Well Allegheny School District

The Elizabeth Forward School District’s commitment began with a community garden that is farmed by elementary students at Greenock Elementary School and a summer enrichment class called, “Little Sprouts.” The class teaches children about growing and cultivating a garden as well as how to prepare the food that they grow. They also participate in “Cooking Matters” classes with parents sponsored by 412 Food Rescue, conduct several food drives and have a “Food Cupboard” at the school that provide food items for the neediest families. Additionally, the district provides healthy lunches and snacks for students. In the future, the district plans to conduct community surveys and to expand gardens to other schools in the district.

Live Well Allegheny Workplace

PITT OHIO has a robust workplace wellness program that includes offering healthy food and snacks for purchase in its cafeteria and in vending machines, and makes those same options available during company meetings and events. Employees have access to comprehensive health insurance including dental and eye care and preventative care without copays. The business has also established a tobacco-free workplace policy which includes cessation services, and is creating and sponsoring employee athletic teams and activities. To underscore PITT OHIO’s focus on health and wellness, a health and wellness coordinator has been in place since October 2015. In addition to providing resources, the workplace also provides annual Health Risk Assessments, a before-work stretching program, weight-loss competitions, group challenges and walking events.

TCV Community Services offers its employees healthy food options in vending machines, a private area for breastfeeding employees, well-lit and safe stairwells, and access to water fountains dispensers and coolers on site. Moving forward, the workplace will be considering consider a tobacco and smoke-free work campus. The organization is also exploring the integration of health and wellness policies into its organizational structure through the adoption of a healthy food policy, a policy to support breastfeeding employees, the use of financial incentives to encourage participation in health improvement activities, potential health-club discounts for employees, and will provide or ensure that employees have access to comprehensive health insurance including dental and eye care in addition to preventive care without co-pays. Employees have access to health education information and are encouraged to participate in screenings including those for body mass index, obesity, and blood pressure.

Live Well Allegheny Restaurant

The leadership of each of these restaurants has committed to providing healthy options for customers, information on which can be found on the Live Well Allegheny Restaurants page.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Wellbridge Health and Spectrum Charter School Commit to Live Well Allegheny

May 13, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced Wellbridge Health is the newest company to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace. Also, announced was Spectrum Charter School, the latest to receive designation as a Live Well Allegheny School. That announcement was celebrated at the BEE Well Family Expo at the Gateway # 4 Fire Hall in Monroeville.

“With each new Live Well Allegheny commitment we are closer to our goal of surrounding Allegheny County residents with healthy choices where they live, work and learn,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “Employers and schools have an important role in encouraging healthy behaviors and I commend the newest members to join the campaign.”

Spectrum Charter Schools has committed to the following action steps to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny School. First, the school district will provide body mass index (BMI) data with the Allegheny County Health Department. In addition, Spectrum Charter will host Touch a Truck—Bee Well EXPO, which is a family event to encourage active living and nutrition. They are committed to increasing fresh fruit and vegetable intake among students by offering fresh organic fruits on Mondays and Taste It Tuesdays as an opportunity for students to try new foods. In addition, the school is pursuing a Healthy Relationship curriculum. During the 2017-2018 school year, they will have a garden on-site and implement lesson plans in conjunction with the garden.

Wellbridge Health, a care management solutions company, prioritizes preventative healthcare for their clients and employees. As a Live Well Allegheny Workplace, Wellbridge Health is committed to creating a healthy, mindful, and active environment for employees. The organization will establish an Employee Wellness Committee to facilitate wellness in-services and host healthy pot-luck lunches periodically. In addition, they will encourage employees to incorporate more whole foods in their diets, consume 64oz/day water and avoid junk foods. Wellbridge Health will also increase activity by initiating a walking club, encouraging workplace exercise and implementing wellness challenges. With a focus on preventative care, Wellbridge Health encourages all employees to have regular primary care and dental visits, as well as offering regular blood pressure screenings. The organization promotes mindfulness by promoting activities such as yoga practice, meditation, and stress management.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

University of Pittsburgh Designated as Live Well Allegheny Workplace

April 19, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the University of Pittsburgh has committed to Live Well Allegheny by becoming a Live Well Allegheny Workplace. The announcement was made at the University of Pittsburgh’s MyHealth@Work Health and Wellness Center in celebration of the facility’s one-year anniversary.

“I’m thrilled to have the University of Pittsburgh join us in our effort to make our county healthier,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “It’s not surprising that the university is a good fit as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace with its focus on health, athletics, nutrition and so many other things that are the foundation to healthy living. I congratulate Chancellor Gallagher and all of the administration, faculty, staff and students on this designation and thank them for their involvement in the program.”

The University of Pittsburgh has committed to several action steps as part of its faculty and staff wellness program to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace.

“We are so excited to have the University of Pittsburgh join our Live Well Allegheny efforts” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director Allegheny County Health Department. “Our Live Well Allegheny Campaign continues to grow and we know that employers play a significant role in promoting the health of their employees. It is organizations like the University of Pittsburgh that can make a real difference in the health of our county’s population by providing opportunities, incentives, and support for employee health improving activities.”

In the spirit of the University of Pittsburgh’s initiatives, the MyHealth@Work for the University of Pittsburgh Health and Wellness Center was created to provide free medical services, treating both acute and chronic conditions, for University faculty and staff regardless of insurance coverage. In addition to opening the MyHealth@Work Health and Wellness Center, the leadership has committed to faculty and staff wellness by hiring two staff positions, including a Wellness Specialist and part-time onsite Health Coach. The Wellness Specialist assists with the development of a wellness committee and creates recommendations for wellness initiatives appropriate to University faculty and staff. Currently, the University offers free health coaching in five lifestyle programs (weight management, nutrition, tobacco cessation, physical activity, and stress management). Learn more about the programs offered by visiting www.hr.pitt.edu/wellness.

“The University has top-down support for its wellness efforts. We have a responsibility to take advantage of the world-class expertise on campus, UPMC Health Plan’s experience, and the University community’s enthusiasm for the programs,” said John Kozar, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Cheryl Johnson added, “At the University, we are cultivating a wellness culture, which will provide additional incentives for all of us to become more involved in making healthy lifestyle choices.”

The University of Pittsburgh has been long committed to free preventative services and offers incentives to faculty and staff for participation in health improvement activities, including biometric screenings and preventative physical exams as well as completing an online health risk assessment.

The University also developed the Healthy Lifestyle Institute under the direction of Dr. John Jakicic, Distinguished Professor of Health and Physical Activity, which aims to improve community health by examining how biological factors like genetics can influence lifestyle behaviors, and how those factors impact chronic diseases and negative health outcomes, and translating evidence-based initiatives to programs focused on healthy lifestyle practices that target the University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and students are a key component of this initiative.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Live Well Allegheny Welcomes Four Municipalities, Phipps Conservatory

April 11, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the Borough of Bellevue, Borough of Sharpsburg, Borough of East McKeesport, and the City of Duquesne were designated as Live Well Allegheny Communities and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace.

“I’m thrilled to see the Live Well Allegheny program continue to grow and expand,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “With today’s announcement, we now have 41 municipalities, 10 school districts, 35 restaurants – some having multiple locations, and 10 workplaces all committed to working together to improve the health and wellness of county residents. What’s even more excited is that we have room to welcome even more and encourage residents to learn more about the initiative.”

The Borough of Bellevue committed to action steps intended to improve the health of residents including promotion of wellness campaign events to employees and residents, developing indoor and outdoor wellness trails that are accessible to residents of all abilities and to offer incentives for employees who walk or bike to work. In addition, Bellevue will promote healthier options in vending machines with nutrient content listed and promote smoke-free building and perimeters.

“It is so exciting to see more and more communities and workplaces join our Live Well Allegheny effort,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “We are committed to engaging all 130 municipalities in this effort and we are well on our way. With this announcement, we have 41 Live Well Allegheny Communities. These efforts to surround citizens with healthy options can make a big difference in the health of our County.”

The Borough of Sharpsburg committed to several action steps in order to become designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community. The municipality will promote participation of employees and residents in wellness campaign events and activities. Sharpsburg is committed to multi-modal transportation for residents by providing facilities or adopting policies that encourage walking and bicycling. In addition, the community will disseminate health information about physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation using websites and social media and support local farmers’ markets and smoke-free spaces.

The Borough of East McKeesport has been designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community for committing to the health of residents. The community will utilize social media tools as a way of communicating health messages and promote participation in wellness events. East McKeesport intends in developing walking maps as well as indoor and outdoor wellness trails, which are accessible to residents of all abilities. The borough will provide employees incentives to walk or bike to work as a way to promote multimodal transportation and also host an OpenStreets event on June 3rd, 11am-2pm. The community will support farmers’ markets and work with vending machine companies to add healthy food options. Smoke-free environments are a priority for the borough as well.

The City of Duquesne joins the Live Well Allegheny campaign by committing to partner with the Steel Valley Trail Council to promote the use of the trail by city residents as well as apply for funding to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access to the trail system. Duquesne will also promote and support farmers’ markets by partnering with the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and promote smoke-free buildings, playgrounds and perimeters.

The newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens (Pittsburgh, PA) has already implemented many of the goals of the campaign as part of a workplace wellness program that started in 2013. Its mission is to provide opportunities for employees to engage in physical activity, attend educational classes on health and wellness and to access information on health and wellness during the work day. As part of its commitment, Phipps will expand their employee wellness program including the addition of on-site yoga and employee fitness center, expand programs which work within local communities such as Homegrown and Let’s Move Pittsburgh, Map a safe walking route starting and ending from the workplace or in vicinity and set up a walking group mid-day.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

How Two Local Organizations Are Reshaping Pittsburgh’s Employee Health

PITTSBURGH — The last time you went to one of the many YMCA locations in Allegheny County, you may have seen something in the window indicating that they are a Live Well Allegheny Workplace. It’s a simple window cling, but it symbolizes the YMCA’s dedication to the health and well-being of both its employees and community. In partnership with Live Well Allegheny, the YMCA has improved employee health and even saved a person’s life.

The Associate Vice President of Healthy Living, Gretchen North, and Shannon Vargesko, the Y’s HR Coordinator and Healthy Living Assistant Project Coordinator reflected on their long-time partnership with Live Well Allegheny. “It just made sense…the YMCA is known for healthy living and social responsibility,” said North when asked about the partnership with Live Well Allegheny. This inspired the Y to put their mission first and “walk the walk” for their employees and community at large. On September 6, 2016, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh became the fourth worksite to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace.

The YMCA has been making the health and well-being of its employees and the community a priority for a long time. It’s their mission. The message the organization sends to its employees is that they are invested in them as well as our community. This is what brought them to partner with the Live Well Allegheny campaign.

According to Vargesko, the YMCA has made several changes, big and small, to its approach to employee health. From healthier choices in vending machines to full campaigns encouraging healthier living, our county’s Y has made real changes worthy of replicating. Vargesko mentioned several healthy campaigns for employees, including the “Renew, Restore, Re-You” campaign. The program asked employees to pick a relaxing activity they normally do not participate in and do it once a week. One employee reported having reuniting with a friend she had not spoken to in over ten years because she chose to reconnect with former friends as her activity. Vargesko said it “increased [employee] morale, but also their joy in this hustle and bustle society.”

While the Y’s employee health campaigns are working, it’s reasonable to ask how an organization with fewer resources could weave Live Well Allegheny’s values into their workplace. North had a possible idea. “We’re fortunate to already have exercise equipment and trainers and dieticians,” North said, “but being an employer who wants to invest in its employees’ health can be much simpler.” The YMCA offers bi-annual health screenings and CO2 monitoring for free. North reported that through these routine procedures an employee and lifetime non-smoker found she had dangerously low levels of carbon dioxide. She was then able to get medical help, which led to open heart surgery. That simple, free screening, offered by her employer, saved her life.

Allegheny County’s YMCA and their partnership with Live Well Allegheny shows how a workplace can care and invest in their employees’ health. Ultimately, improving employee health aids in improving community health. Employees are people with families and friends, who may notice how much less stressed they are. Vargesko reports, “less stress, clarity,” are many of the terms used by employees in post-campaign surveys.

Live Well Allegheny’s main goal is to improve the overall health of its citizens and, ultimately, become the healthiest county in the United States. This is a lofty goal, and only possible with collaboration, including communities, workplaces, restaurants and schools. Live Well Allegheny hopes to provide support for these partnerships. Something as simple as having that window cling has “helped our reputation…and serves as a reminder to employees and community members that health is a priority,” said North. The YMCA is a great example of how a Live Well Allegheny Workplace can invest in employee health in simple, but effective ways.

Supporting Wellness in the Workplace

March 9, 2017

PITTSBURGH – Live Well Allegheny Workplace, Virtual OfficeWare Healthcare Solutions (VOWHS/VRS), is dedicated to helping physician practices be more successful, improve patient care and build healthy communities. According to Nicole Milojevic, Vice President of Human Resources, putting wellness in the forefront of what they do is a natural fit.

How is Virtual Office Healthcare Solutions creating a healthier environment for employees? They developed a wellness initiative that started with a step challenge and healthy potlucks. They now have an active Wellness Committee with “peer-to-peer” support to help everyone make positive changes. Employees have the opportunity to earn points toward reduced insurance premiums by participating in preventative care exams, screenings, tobacco cessation offerings, and other employer sponsored activities such as participation in CPR Certification classes, chair massages, and flu shots. Overall this initiative has encouraged a healthier work environment and greater satisfaction.

Ms. Milojevic explained that some employees “had misconceptions that such [health] activities were solely focused on exercising” rather than a more holistic approach to health. As a result of the employee wellness activities, VOW/VRS, has improved overall employee satisfaction from 87% to 94%, which is a significant human resources milestone. Ms. Milojevic encourages more employers in Allegheny County to join Live Well Allegheny and help to make Allegheny County the healthiest in the country.

Township of Pine and Four Employers Commit to Live Well Allegheny

January 19, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the Township of Pine is the latest community to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community and Adagio Health, Babb, Inc., No Crayon Left Behind, and the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania are the newest Live Well Allegheny Workplaces.

The Township of Pine committed to action steps intended to improve the health of residents. Information about wellness events and volunteer activities are shared with the community to encourage the voluntary participation of residents. The community also promotes smoke-free buildings and perimeters. The Township of Pine will encourage physical activity by developing wellness facilities and programs accessible to all residents of all abilities and creating walking maps that measure the distance and encourage residents to meet goals and will encourage multi-modal transportation of residents by providing facilities or policies that encourage walking and bike riding.

Adagio Health (Pittsburgh, PA) committed to the following action steps to be designated as a Live Well Workplace: providing healthy food options during company meetings and functions including fruits and vegetables as well as gluten-free options, offering vending machines with healthy food options and water coolers are accessible on every floor of the office. Adagio Health is a tobacco, smoke-free environment and offers smoking cessation programs through their employee benefits program. The organization is also a proponent of breast feeding and they allow employees to pump at work in designated, private areas. Employees are offered comprehensive and affordable health insurance, which includes free dental and eye coverage, and all preventative co-pays are free. They also encourage employees to use the well-lit stairwells instead of elevators.

Babb, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA) has been designated as a Live Well Workplace by committing the several action steps including strong leadership support, the company offers a robust wellness program for employees such as annual health risk assessments, weigh-ins, condition management programs, and biometric screenings. The office is equipped with a relaxation room with monthly chair massages, an on-site fitness center, and healthy snacks provided through the SnakWell Initiative. Babb, Inc. is developing a safe walking routes map for employees, encourages the use of stairs through visible prompts, and offers a membership to a local spinning/yoga studio. The company provides comprehensive health insurance with vision and dental care as well as employee flex hours for wellness activities. The organization also provides opportunities for financial wellness, tuition reimbursement for continuing education credits, and the Babb Gives Back program to support the Northside community.

No Crayon Left Behind (Sewickley, PA) has already implemented many of the goals of the campaign including provide a water dispenser for hot and cold water that is available to employees. The workplace also encourages the use standing desks, provides a communal fridge stocked with fresh vegetables, fruits, and cheeses that is for everyone at the office. In addition, the organization will bring in big batches of salad to keep in the fridge for employees to eat during the week. Walking meetings are used both as physical activity and stress relief. Employees are also encouraged to take breaks for stretching during the work day. Additionally, the workplace intends to begin yoga classes twice a month for all employees at a local yoga studio. The organization also aims to participate and sponsor fun-runs or team building physical activities hosted by the Borough of Sewickley. Lastly, No Crayon Left Behind intends on providing the office with a HappyLight to help employees that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA (Pittsburgh, PA) The organization promotes physical activity by hosting yoga once a week in the office, encouraging staff to walk campus during lunch breaks, and encouraging participation in active events such as the Crucible and 335 Miles for Veterans. The Maintain Not Gain program during the holidays provides an opportunity for weekly weigh-ins and trading healthy recipes on an office message board. Monthly seminars on health topics such as stress management are held after staff meetings. In addition, the workplace is equipped with a kitchen for staff to bring in healthy lunch options and often staff will share items from their garden. Healthy choices, including several vegetarian and vegan options, are provided at company functions. Lastly, the organization offers a comprehensive healthcare plan with dental and vision coverage at a low cost to employees.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.