Rowan business leaders learn about wellness, incentives at prevention academy

  • Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 12:08 a.m.
Community leaders listen during the recent prevention academy.
Community leaders listen during the recent prevention academy.

SALISBURY — Community leaders are helping Rowan County businesses build healthier workplaces and reduce health-care costs from preventable disease.

Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce on June 20 brought WorkHealthy America to Salisbury for the second of three annual prevention academies.

The academy, which was presented with support from Novo Nordisk and the Rowan County Health Department, was held at the Country Club of Salisbury and brought together wellness leaders from dozens of North Carolina and South Carolina organizations using WorkHealthy America — N.C. Prevention Partners’ signature workplace wellness program.

The prevention academy gives leaders the opportunity to learn from each other, said Hannah Prentice-Dunn, health promotion coordinator at N.C. Prevention Partners.

“They’ll bring back what they have learned to their workplaces and make their wellness programs stronger, which will reduce their healthcare costs and improve their employees’ lives,” she said.

Participants networked with other organizations and received suggestions for strengthening their wellness programs. Several wellness leaders from Rowan participated in a leadership panel and spoke about their experiences creating a culture of wellness in the workplace.

“We used a lot of the information from last year’s prevention academy to get things organized,” said Nekita Eubanks, human resources relationship manager for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “We tried to incorporate something for everyone, and we’re continuing to make those baby steps.”

Kelly Withers, principal of Jesse Carson High School in China Grove, said the academy focused on simple incentives for employees.

“We’re going to do water Wednesdays. We’re going to put a bottle of water in the teachers’ boxes,” Withers said. “The other thing we did was fresh fruit Fridays, and we even did smoothies. Wellness really became a culture in our school.”

WorkHealthy America helps businesses promote wellness by making system and environmental changes.

The program assesses a business’ current wellness benefits, policies and practices and delivers tailored information on improving these practices.

“I am so pleased that our local businesses continue to embrace the role of employee wellness in creating healthier workplaces and communities,” said Dari Caldwell, president of Rowan Medical Center. “By continuing to work together, we strengthen our efforts to make Rowan County the best place to work and live.”

The chamber helped sponsor the event.

“Our business leaders are very interested in workplace wellness programs,” Elaine Spalding, chamber president. “It helps them retain their best and brightest employees. It just makes good business sense.”

The academy will reconvene for a third time in summer 2014.

Members of the Rowan Prevention Academy planning committee include Rowan Medical Center, Novo Nordisk, N.C. Prevention Partners, the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, the Rowan County Health Department and Rowan County government.

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