Well City Fox Cities Off to a Healthy Start

April 16, 2012

Six “Well Workplaces” Recognized in Community-Wide Wellness Initiative

Six employers honored with Well Workplace Awards on Thurs., April 12, at Lawrence University have put the Fox Cities region well on its way to being named a Well City by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). ThedaCare, Affinity Health System and Network Health are platinum sponsors of the initiative, which aims by May 31, 2013, to have at least 20 percent of Fox Cities’ employees — some 32,000 people — working for businesses that have received the Well Workplace designation.

Businesses netting Well Workplace Awards include Affinity Health System, Appleton, Aurora Health Care, J.J. Keller, Kimberly-Clark Corp., and Network Health. These firms, which together employ well over 10,000 people, each have met WELCOA’s seven benchmarks of results-oriented workplace wellness programs: capturing CEO support, creating cohesive wellness teams, collecting data to drive health efforts, carefully crafting an operating plan, choosing appropriate interventions, creating a supportive environment, and carefully evaluating outcomes.

Thus far, more than 50 employers representing some 34,000 employees in 17 communities have registered as Well City Fox Cities participants.

“Improving the health of our communities is at the heart of ThedaCare’s mission, which is why we’re fully behind Well City Fox Cities,” says ThedaCare senior vice president Bill Mann. “When employers make a meaningful effort to help employees to live healthier, happier lives, our community becomes a better place for all of us.”

Deb Anderson, director of Health Promotion at Network Health, agrees: “Making healthy lifestyle changes has a profound effect on an individual. This in turn has a ripple effect on that person’s family, friends and community. If we can motivate employees one by one to live healthier lives, we can change the culture of the Fox Cities.”

“Well Cities Fox Cities is a fantastic example of our community coming together to make this an even better place to live and work,” said Lisa Kogan-Praska, director of Occupational Health & Customer Experience with Affinity Medical Group. “We have seen employers really embrace the wellness culture and we are starting to see the impact right here in our communities.”

Regional employers can help the Fox Cities become a Well City by joining the movement. To do so, employers must send a CEO letter of commitment, available at www.wellcityfoxcities.com, to WELCOA. Participating businesses also must join WELCOA at a cost of $495. Membership offers access to wellness training, resources and communication tools that employers can use to develop workplace wellness programs, plus guidance from experts at the Wisconsin Council on Wellness.

“It’s been exciting to see so many employers in so many different industries take a serious interest in the health of their employees,” says Larry Sobal, CEO spokesperson for Well City Fox Cities. “More and more businesses are joining this effort each month, which means more and more people are getting healthier.”

Well City USA is a concept created in 1991 by WELCOA. This national nonprofit organization is a leading resource for health and wellness promotion.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare at Work, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Those interested can follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.