—What do you get when you remove deep fryers from the kitchen and replace
them with ovens, decrease the price of healthy foods and increase the
price of unhealthy options and introduce yoga classes, guided walks and
stress management workshops for employees?
You get healthier.
Recognized for the aforementioned and its mission to be a leader in promoting
individual health and vibrant communities, the second place 2013 Healthiest
Employer Award for large business this year goes to CaroMont Health.
Friday, a crowd of about 300 gathered uptown to celebrate recent accomplishments
at the Charlotte’s Business Journal’s Healthiest Employer
Awards Luncheon and health expo. Among those present to receive the award
on behalf of CaroMont Health was Jerry Levine, Chief Medical Officer,
Andrea Serra, Vice President of Health and Wellness and Debbie Bellenger,
Health and Wellness Director.
“This achievement is the result of our incredible team of employees,”
said Andrea Serra, VP. “And, it’s because of our employees’
persistence, dedication and inspiration that we are on the road to achieving
our goal of a healthier lifestyle.”
In 2010, CaroMont’s nearly 4,000 employees began their journey to
health and wellness. By taking employee goals and weaving them into corporate
health strategies, the motivation for change started happening. These
included incentives for healthy behaviors, offering clinical health risk
appraisals (CHRAs) to employees and changing the philosophy of food service
management from a retail-focus to a health focus all of which set the
culture shift in motion.
Today, when you walk into CaroMont’s cafeteria, employees and visitors
really have no excuse when it comes to choosing healthy meal options.
The color-coded food program easily signifies the healthiest meals and
the Weight Watchers point system serves as a guide for patrons following
this nutrition program. Healthy foods are now less expensive, more accessible
and more bountiful. Calorie and fat content prompt customers to pause
before splurging on that chocolate chip cookie and opting for a succulent,
red apple fresh from the local farmer’s market. And, for those who
prefer international cuisine, sushi is made fresh daily.
The healthy food selection goes beyond just the cafeteria. All vending
machines throughout the hospital are stocked with 60 percent healthy snacks
and a Registered Dietitian oversees the creation of hospital catered meals
for meetings and events.
Since the health revolution began, there are more employees at a healthy
weight and less obese now than two years ago.
Health and fitness is also significant to employees’ wellness. Formerly
Cardiac Rehab, the enhanced CaroMont Health and Fitness Center offers
over 40 cardio and strength training classes each week all the while under
the clinical surveillance. The center is free to employees and is offered
for a nominal fee to families, and is also open to the community. Some
employees have taken their health goals to an all new high and are now
certified instructors in Zumba and cycling, made possible through on-site
training at the fitness center.
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever increasing
demands of life, and over time, can lead to serious health problems. This
is why stress management is so important to a person’s overall health.
CaroMont gets this and now provides on-site stress management workshops
and exercises for employees throughout the work week. Instead of allowing
stress to take over, CaroMont employees can take advantage of yoga classes,
guided walks during lunch and breaks and other stress reduction techniques
led by the Wellness Team.
Other wellness incentives include metabolic and circulatory self-management
programs, exercise consultations, personal training, fitness testing and
new fitness center member orientation and health screens and tobacco cessation
classes. CaroMont is a smoke-free facility.
“The journey to health and wellness is just that, a journey,”
said Serra. “It’s a marathon—not a sprint—to the
finish line, and our eye is on the prize—to make CaroMont Health
and Gaston County a healthier place to live.”