Vermilion Schools Wellness program recognized by state
July 19, 2010
The Vermilion Local Schools were honored by the School Employees Health Care Board as one of only 57 school districts to offer a work place wellness program that met best practice standards. This program was facilitated by the District’s Insurance Committee that is made up of staff, administrators and a representative from the Board of Education.
In addition to meeting to review trends in health care and share ideas, the group has become increasingly focused on encouraging employees and their families to take care of themselves through preventative care and living healthier. One of the new activities was a Wellness Fair where employees were able to come to review the results of blood tests that had been provided in the school buildings. With results in hand, employees completed a Health Risk Assessment that was administered by Medical Mutual. The fair also gave employees the opportunity to meet with local financial advisors, a message therapist and other health related vendors as well as educational information about estate and living will planning. This event and screening was sponsored by the Lake Erie Regional Council consortium that provides group benefits to member school districts.
Once the results of the assessments were compiled, Medical Mutual was able to provide the Insurance Committee with helpful information on the district participants as a whole, as well as individual tips for those who completed the process. The committee was interested in the link between the most common risk factors of our staff: body weight, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure and stress. The staff was challenged to participate in a fun “Let’s Get Physical” campaign that let them enter chances to win donated prizes by meeting the activity goals. In April 2010, the goal was 30 minutes of activity three times per week and increased to 4 times per week for the month of May. Bonus chances to win could also be earned by getting involved in community events such as Relay for Life, Pride Day and building the Community Garden. Other bonus activities included working out with a friend, visiting an area park for activity, etc.
Each year, the School Employees Health Care Board collaborates with Sarah Favinger at the State Employment Relations Board to conduct the Cost of Health Care survey. This year, 57 school districts and educational service centers in the state of Ohio reported having all five components of a worksite wellness program as defined by Healthy People 2010. The five components include the following:
- Health education (e.g., education or counseling opportunities relative to physical activity, nutrition, workplace injury prevention, etc.)
- Supportive social and physical work environment (e.g., policies against tobacco and alcohol use, classes or counseling on nutrition, fitness, etc.)
- Integration of worksite program into the organization’s structure (e.g., dedicated staff, office or budget)
- Related programs (e.g., employee assistance, work/family, occupational safety and health programs, etc.)
- Screening programs (e.g., blood pressure, blood cholesterol screening programs).
The Vermilion Local Schools Insurance Committee was developed in 2004 with leadership from Doug Brown, who was serving on the Board of Education. The Committee is coordinated by the district’s Treasurer, Amy Hendricks.