Engaging and supporting worksites in developing results oriented wellness programs to create a "Climate of Wellness" is a step in the path of improving the lives of Woodbury County residents. Siouxland District Health Department has been the recipient of past Harkin Wellness Grants and Iowa Healthy Communities Initative Grant Programs. It is with these grants that we have been able to support businesses in worksite wellness program development, enhancement, and policy development. Below is a brief story of a couple of the successes from this years grant.
Live Healthy Siouxland (LHS), a local project supported by Iowa Healthy Communities Initiative Grant Program, is creating a “Climate of Wellness” in Woodbury County, IA. This local group is making an impact on the health of residents by encouraging the development and use of worksite wellness programs. This venue, a highly effective way to reach residents with wellness messaging, is slightly unique. No other community wellness project in the state of Iowa is approaching community wellness in this manner.
Over the course of the last year, LHS has provided educational opportunities for local worksite wellness professionals through the continued development of the Worksite Wellness Coordinating Council. This group, consisting of over 90 individuals from over 60 businesses in the Siouxland area, meets monthly at Siouxland District Health Department to learn more about implementing results-oriented wellness programs, share resources, and exchange program ideas.
“As a member of the Worksite Wellness Coordinating Council, I have been able to take advantage of local resources that I was not aware of prior to joining. It has become a place for wellness leaders to come together and share ideas, accomplishments, failures, and everything in between. I have been able to use this opportunity over the past year to build our program at Siouxland Mental Health into one that offers education, awareness, environment change programs, behavior change programs, and assessment programs. In many ways, the Council provides a one-stop-shop for business leaders wanting to start or grow their worksite wellness programs in the Siouxland area, as it did for me.” --Michelle Coury, H.R. Manager, Siouxland Mental Health Center
The council has continued to evolve over the last year. A survey was conducted to determine the best time of day to hold meetings, identify leadership for the council, and outline next steps for educational components. With information from the survey we were able to choose educational topics and develop a year-long meeting schedule. We were also able to select 5 individuals to facilitate the meetings, with Siouxland District Health Department providing support for communication.
It is through use of this network that LHS was able to find success with implementation of two major initiatives: The 100 Day Wellness Challenge for Siouxland Businesses and Well Workplace University.
In November 2010, LHS began planning for implementation of the second year of the 100 Day Wellness Challenge for Siouxland Businesses which included several new components. A kick-off event for the challenge was held at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center and nearly 100 individuals attended the event. One Siouxland business was awarded a traveling trophy for the highest percentage of employee participation and four other businesses were awarded a one hour educational program provided by project partners (Mercy Hospital, St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, the June E Nylen Cancer Center, and Iowa State University Extension, Woodbury County). The educational programs awarded were based on a random drawing for either participation, winning the weight loss or minutes of activity division, or having the greatest percentage of reporting over the course of the program. This year participation in the business challenge nearly tripled. In 2010 428 people on 58 teams from 8 businesses participated in the challenge. This year 1024 individuals on 155 teams from 21 businesses participated. Overall, participants lost nearly 4,000 pounds and logged over 53,000 hours of activity. “This year’s numbers far exceed the last year’s results”, said Angela Drent, Siouxland District Health Department Health Planner. “Much of this year’s success was due to the commitment of the 21 Siouxland businesses who took part in the challenge. It is fantastic to see area businesses getting involved and providing their employees with an opportunity to improve their health through worksite wellness.” Live Healthy Siouxland was recognized by Live Healthy Iowa as this year’s Program of the Year. Much of the success can be attributed to both the new program components and the marketing of the program through the worksite wellness coordinating council as nearly all participating businesses are members of the Worksite Wellness Coordinating Council.
In February, a Well Workplace University training was held in conjunction with the Wellness Council of Iowa. This was the first time such an event has been held in Northwest Iowa. The Worksite Wellness Coordinating Council played a vital role in the promotion of the event. A total of forty individuals from a variety of Siouxlands most influential businesses attended the event. Thirty-one of them were members of the Worksite Wellness Coordinating Council. The purpose of the event was to help local businesses either start a results-oriented wellness program or further enhance their existing program by providing quality information and tools. The event did just that. 100% of attendees who completed the evaluation stated that the training did influence them to seriously consider expanding or starting a worksite wellness program. In the evaluations one attendee commented, “I was very impressed with the seminar – it was worth (my time) being out of the office for. The speaker was good and the networking opportunities were wonderful. I came away with great information to help guide me with changes to enhance our wellness program.” Another attendee wrote, “The information that was provided will really assist me in making improvements to our wellness programs. Going through each benchmark helped me identify our weak area.” According to Craig Hanken, Executive Director of the Wellness Council of Iowa “Learning and planning opportunities such as this will definitely help change the culture of Sioux City and leave a legacy where wellness is nurtured and valued for years to come.”
With Live Healthy Siouxland, residents are improving their health, businesses are starting or enhancing their worksite wellness programs and people are being connected. Live Healthy Siouxland is truly “Creating a Climate of Wellness” in Woodbury County, IA.