Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MBGH Worksite Wellness Project with Health Department Gets National Recognition

Click here to see the article on this project in the Memphis Business Journal.

The Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) received one of seven national Community Health Partnerships (CHP) Population Health Seed Grants. The $12,911 grant was awarded by the National Business Coalition on Health through the Community Coalitions Health Institute (CCHI).

The grant will fund a joint program between the Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) and the Memphis Shelby County Health Department (MSCHD) to study the effectiveness of the Move More, Eat Better…It All Works Together Fitness Challenge in the workplace.

The MSCHD has been offering the Move More, Eat Better…It All Works Together Fitness Challenge through churches and community centers. The program is funded by the State of Tennessee Department of Health. Despite the fact that the program is free to employers, The MSCHD has had a difficult time getting employers to offer it at worksites.

Memphis Business Group on Health is a coalition of member employers sharing solutions and providing tools to manage the cost and quality of health benefits. As part of the grant, MBGH has secured participation of four member employers, including the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority and Merck. The employers will enroll approximately 120 employees in the challenge, which lasts six weeks.

Health department staff will record the employee’s blood pressure, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) at the beginning of the challenge and compare it to the employee’s final numbers six weeks later. During that period, MSCHD staff will provide weekly educational programs to employees on topics such as nutrition and exercise.
Incentives for participants include pedometers, waist circumference tape measure, hand sanitizer, jar grips, pens, notepads. The grand prize, a George Foreman grill, is awarded to the participant making the most significant progress toward better health.

The Memphis Business Group on Health will track the initiative from an employer’s perspective, measuring employee engagement, realized benefits, and employer satisfaction. As part of the grant, MBGH will recommend how the program may be modified to make it more successful in the workplace in the future. Results will be published in a white paper and made available to employers and other communities.

“In Memphis, employers have historically perceived the Health Department as an organization that helps the uninsured and the under-insured and not employers,” said Cristie Upshaw Travis, Chief Executive Officer of The Memphis Business Group on Health. “The department is an underutilized resource that we can tap to help deliver better value to our member organizations. For example, we worked with the MSCHD to help our employers implement H1N1 Flu shot programs.”

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