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.