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AHA recognizes UHS for workplace health commitment

October 22, 2019

Redy to Mix

The results of the American Heart Association's 2019 Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced Tuesday and UHS achieved silver-level recognition for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace.

The American Heart Association created the Index with its CEO Roundtable. This is a leadership collaborative of more than 40 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health.

The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of workplace health programs.

Studies show that work sites with a culture of health that includes comprehensive, evidence-based policies and programs, plus senior leadership support, are more likely to have engaged employees and a healthier, more productive work force.

“We are constantly striving to create a culture that encourages healthy lifestyle behaviors," said John M. Carrigg, president and chief executive officer of UHS. "We are committed to continuing this trend in the years to come, and are honored to receive this recognition."

A unique feature of the Index is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data.

Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition, according to the American Heart Association.

UHS Awards and Recognition

UHS Employee Wellness Committee 

As part of the UHS Strategic Plan, the Employee Wellness Committee strives to improve the health and well-being of its employee population by focusing on engaging employees in activity based challenges to reduce stress, increase physical activity, encourage healthy food choices, and promote other ways to live healthily. Additionally, the Committee works with the organization to identify environmental and cultural opportunities to create a healthy work environment for the employees.

The Wellness Committee is a system-wide, multidisciplinary team with members from Rehabilitation, Population Health, Total Rewards, Stay Healthy, Clinical Nutrition, Nursing, Specialty Care, Employee Health, Home Care, CMH, and DVH. The Committee welcomes all employees in the organization that have a desire to make a difference in creating a healthy work environment. This year the Wellness Committee evaluated its existing workplace wellness programs and completed the Workplace Health Achievement Index (WHAI) through the American Heart Association. The WHAI consists of three sections: Organization and Demographic Information, Structure and Process Measures, and Performance Measures. The Structure and Process Measures section contains 55 questions regarding leadership, organizational policies and environment, communications, programs, engagement, partnerships, and reporting outcomes. The “Performance Measures” are based on the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 which measures ideal cardiovascular health.

Recently, UHS was awarded the Silver Recognition for Workplace Health by the AHA. This recognition highlights the great work the UHS Employee Wellness Committee has accomplished and the positive impact the work is having within the employee population. Some of the highlights in 2019 include completion of four HealthierU Wellness Challenges, roll-out of UHS HealthierU Swag Program, onsite Farmer’s Markets and onsite yoga classes at two locations, which is a partnership with the Employee Engagement Committee. The Wellness Committee continues to evaluate best practices for employee health and wellness and will use these results as a guide for future initiatives. The committee will continue to offer activity-based challenges to promote healthier lifestyles, work with leadership to create a healthy work environment, and utilize the resources available through the American Heart Association to go for Gold for Workplace Health in 2020.

List of Members


Co-Chair: Linda Wasser – Director of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Co-Chair: Kayla Velie – Employee Health and Wellness Coordinator Population Health

Melissa Seward – Total Rewards Benefits Specialist

Celeste Pazzaglini-Mack, RN – Stay Healthy Center

Karen Bayer, RN – Director Community Health Services Stay Healthy Center

Megan Farmer, RN – Stay Healthy Kids Coordinator

Jaclyn Zindell – Clinical Nutrition Coordinator

Jennifer B. Smith – Community Relations DVH

Jamie Hagenbuch – Provider Relations and Outreach Coordinator CMH

Dawn James – Human Resources Twin Tier Home Health

Robert Mack – Manager Business Development EAP and Employee Health

Elizabeth Tondeur, RN – Wilson ER

Brent Jones – Perioperative Project Specialist

Christopher Masconi – Exercise Physiologist Cardiac Rehab

Laura Sienkiewicz – Nutrition and Health Education Coordinator

Ad Hoc:

Gina Kittek – Risk Management

Kathy Jaros, RN – Director of Nursing BGH