As a new year approaches, many Oklahomans will be resolving to lead a healthier lifestyle. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is offering a free training program to employers interested in creating or improving a worksite wellness program to improve the health of their employees.
The OSDH now has two facilitators trained in the Work@Health® program, an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recruits employers nationwide to participate in the comprehensive training offering evidence-based worksite wellness programs. The goal of the training is to provide employers with the knowledge and skills to help address common and costly employee chronic illnesses and related conditions such as cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, stress and arthritis.
Studies show having a healthy workforce increases productivity and reduces health care expenses. OSDH facilitators Julie Dearing and Emily Hua are providing technical assistance, tools and resources to businesses across the state who wish to implement or improve a worksite wellness program.
“Creating a culture of health in the workplace takes leadership across all levels of an organization,” said facilitator Julie Dearing. “Small changes to organizational practice can have big ripple effects. Work@Health® brings employers through a comprehensive assessment and planning process to ensure employee wellness programs are being implemented to their fullest capacity, to work to bend the cost curve and make the healthy choice, the easier choice.”
The CDC reports the United States spends $1.219 trillion each year on medical costs, with 86 percent of that stemming from chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes and obesity. In addition to improving employee health knowledge and skills, worksite wellness programs can promote healthy behaviors such as regular screenings, follow-up care, immunizations, and also create a culture at work which can expand into other areas of life.
To be eligible to participate in the program, employers must have at least 20 employees, offer health insurance to employees, have internet connectivity, and have been in operation for at least a year.
Businesses will receive a variety of benefits including:
• A health and safety assessment of the organization to define existing needs and the capacity of the worksite to implement health and safety interventions to address those needs.
• Professional training via a blended delivery model to learn how to develop a worksite health intervention plan to meet individual employer needs.
• Technical assistance and community-support resources aimed at giving employers what they need to sustain their worksite health promotion interventions beyond the program.
• Recognition by the CDC as a healthy worksite.
For more information about worksite wellness or enrolling in the Work@Health® program, contact the OSDH Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at (405) 271-3619 or visit https://go.usa.gov/xpyrx .