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UHS News Release
Release:  Immediately
Contact:  Jon Tooley, 762-2336 or community_relations@uhs.org

Published on March 12, 2014

UHS Awarded American Heart Association Fit Friendly Worksite Recognition

The American Heart Association (AHA) has recognized UHS as a “Fit-Friendly Worksite.” Gina Chapman, Director of Southern Tier American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, presented the gold level award to UHS as an employer which goes above and beyond when it comes to their employees’ health.

Ms. Chapman explained, “The Heart Association encourages worksites to adopt the ‘Fit-Friendly Worksite’ program to help lower the risk of heart disease.” Studies verify that wellness programs help increase worker productivity, reduce absenteeism, lower turnover rates and reduce healthcare costs. “I am delighted that the AHA has recognized UHS for their extensive worksite wellness program.”  As a top regional provider of cardiac care, UHS has been an early adopter of worksite wellness, embracing the concept for its own employees and their family members and helping other local employers to develop programs for their own workforce as well.  

To achieve the gold level status, UHS documented that it has a written policy banning the use of tobacco at the worksite, as well as on campus. Other qualifications include organizing and promoting walking and physical activity programs; maintaining walking trails, both inside and out; encouraging employees to take the stairs instead of elevators; and disseminating to employees heart health information. UHS also offers and promotes a variety of onsite physical activity classes throughout the year and works with local fitness facilities to obtain discounts for their employees.

Team UHS is part of the organization’s intranet specifically for UHS employees to get involved in upcoming community walks and runs in which UHS plays a role. The site also allows UHS to have an impact on health awareness in the community.  

The AHA gold level recognition acknowledges participation in healthy nutrition, too.  Cafeterias at UHS Wilson Medical Center and UHS Binghamton General Hospital display a series of health and wellness materials that change quarterly.  The cafeterias offer daily food items designated as a “healthy” option.  The nutritional value of foods served is posted along with labeling those which fall within the heart healthy parameters.  In addition, the organization’s intranet includes a Stay Healthy at Work page that offers health and wellness information to employees and includes an “Ask the Dietitian” option for employees to email questions directly to staff dietitians.  UHS Stay Healthy at Work Coordinator and Stay Healthy at Work Team design and promote employee wellness programs for physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation.

Celeste Pazzaglini-Mack, Stay Healthy at Work Coordinator, stated, “UHS is honored to receive the AHA’s Fit-Friendly recognition. Our Stay Healthy at Work Team continues to strive to encourage our employees to make healthy choices.”

For more information on American Heart Association’s Fit-Friendly Worksites, go to http://mystartonline.org/start_workplace_fit_friendly.jsp.

UHS is a locally owned, not-for-profit, 916-bed hospital and healthcare system serving Greater Binghamton and surrounding counties. Founded in 1981, UHS provides a full range of medical, surgical, rehabilitative and long-term care services from more than 60 locations around New York’s Southern Tier.

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