About the Wellness Center
The Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University is West Virginia’s state medical institution, located in Morgantown, with more than 8,000 employees. Three employers comprise the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University, University Health Associates (UHA), WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals, and the Health Sciences Center at WVU (HSC at WVU). The nature of business is healthcare. UHA and WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals are separate, nonprofit companies serving the people of West Virginia, western Maryland, and southwestern Pennsylvania.
The mission of the Wellness Center is to provide opportunities for all Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University employees and their families to create and maintain healthy and active lifestyles. By improving employees’ health, the Wellness Center’s mission supports the organization’s mission to provide a quality healthcare system to the citizens of West Virginia and the surrounding region.
Currently, the Wellness Center operates as its own department, funded by each of the three entities comprising the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University. The mergers and subsequent expansions of the Wellness Center serve to build a strong foundation for the achievement of wellness goals.
The Wellness Center functions to provide opportunities for employees to improve their cardiovascular health, decrease stress levels, improve nutrition, and enhance their quality of life by participating in regular physical activity as well as stress management and nutrition programs. Employees and their families have numerous fitness and recreation programs in which to participate. The Wellness Center serves to educate individuals and help them to identify and reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and other preventable diseases. The Wellness Center also strives to provide information to employees so that they make informed choices about their health and lifestyle habits. In addition, The Wellness Center provides ergonomic assessments to work areas and is involved in several collaborative efforts with various departments to decrease stress levels, absenteeism, and on-the-job injuries, as well as increase employee morale.
Each entity (UHA, WVUM, and HSC at WVU) of the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University initially provided separate wellness programs and therefore applied for Well Workplace designations individually. In 1995, a merger of both the UHA and WVU Medicine wellness programs created The Wellness Program serving two of the three entities that comprise the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University. In 1997, HSC at WVU merged with The Wellness Program creating one program that served all employees at the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University. In 1998, as one entity serving three organizations, the Health Sciences Campus of West Virginia University received the Gold Well Workplace award (renewal occurred in 2001 and again in 2004). In 2016, The Wellness Program changed its name to the Wellness Center and began offering programs and services to all WVU employees and their immediate family members.
Senior Level Support
Senior level support includes meetings with the Wellness Center Manager, directors, and vice presidents of each entity to discuss employee issues and areas of concern. Numerous directors and managers participate in wellness programs themselves as well as encourage employees to participate.
The Wellness Team includes staff members from a variety of disciplines including Exercise Physiology, Health Education and Promotion, Physical Education and Stress Management. The Wellness Center, functioning as its own unit, is an established department within the institution and partners/collaborates as a resource throughout the campus of WVU.
The Wellness Center tracks employee participation in all wellness programs though a database dating back to 1997 with 26,050 participants. This database also tracks an employee benefit called Wellness Points which rewards healthy behaviors such as engaging in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week and avoidance of tobacco. Annually, a program evaluation survey is conducted among all employees.
The Wellness Center strives to achieve maximum participation involvement by offering large-scale team programs with promotional campaigns and educational material. Individualized programs are also offered with one-on-one interaction for those who desire. Working to help shape and support policies that represent the welfare of all employees while rewarding those who take active responsibility to lead healthier and safer lives is an important goal of the Wellness Center.
Programs and Interventions
Various programs targeting exercise, stress management, nutrition and screenings are offered at one of the following levels; awareness, exercise, education, or behavior change. An example of some programming is: free health screenings, yoga, wellbeing coaching, personal fitness coaching, on site fitness center, and ergonomic assessments.
Numerous policies and benefits exist to protect the health and well-being of employees. Examples include health, liability, and life insurance; sick leave; paid time off; leaves of absence for medical, personal or family reasons; retirement plans; and access to the Employee Health and Wellness department. These benefits give employees access to quality, affordable healthcare.
General evaluation efforts include a needs assessment, a database to track wellness program participation, evaluations of clinical outcomes, an annual online survey conducted among all employees, and handwritten and online evaluation forms that provide feedback on programs in which employees have participated.