Greenville Health System (GHS) has recently been recognized by Working Well, a collaboration between the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and NC Prevention Partners (NCPP), for meeting the Gold Apple standard. This is accomplished by creating healthy food environments on all GHS campuses, supported by comprehensive policies and systems where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
GHS is self-managed and earned the Gold Apple by implementing five key components to a healthy food environment: pricing, access, marketing, benefits, and incentives. GHS also implemented a healthy food policy and nutrition criteria, known as “Smart Selection”, in all cafeterias throughout the hospital system. Lisa Kopera, GHS HealthTrack Supervisor, worked in collaboration with the hospital system’s Food Service staff and senior level management to develop, pass, and implement the comprehensive nutrition policy. This and other wellness related items are a system-wide priority and are tied to multiple managers’ annual performance goals.
Kopera states, “Achieving buy-in from leadership through annual performance goals keeps both the manager and the staff engaged with the organization’s wellness efforts.”
GHS revised its menus to ensure healthy options are being offered during all dining services and that many are offered at a reduced price compared to the unhealthy options. Once an employee purchases ten healthy meals, the next healthy meal is free. In displays, healthier items are also positioned at eye level to ensure clear visibility through product placement. The system also worked with franchise companies in the cafeterias, such as Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A, to offer healthy options and visible nutrition information. To denote healthy items in the vending machines, the HealthTrack icon is placed next to the items that meet the Smart Selection nutrition criteria. The vending goal is to have 60% of the offered items to be healthier alternatives. Candy bars are priced at $1.25 while granola bars are only .75 cents to encourage better choices. GHS also converted some of the old smoking areas to new healthy attractive dining areas.
GHS also offers educational sessions and nutrition coaching to all employees, even if they are not on GHS insurance. These educational sessions include online and in-person health seminars, bi-weekly farmers markets, access to vegetable gardens on campus, and nutrition challenges. These events and benefits are promoted through the GHS employee newsletter and magazine articles, leadership retreats, closed-circuit news programming, open enrollment, communications home, new employee orientation, and departmental meetings.
“GHS has been providing employees with a state of the art wellness program for a number of year and now they continue to go above and beyond in their implementation of policies and environments that solidify their culture of wellness,” Jen Wright, Working Well Manager said. “The executive leadership team at GHS, led by CEO Michael Riordan, leads by example and supports a culture where the healthy choice is the easier choice. It is no surprise that GHS continues to reach the highest standards of excellence in employer wellness efforts.”
Wright presented Kopera and GHS leadership with the Gold Apple award on July 17, 2013 during their Leadership Development Retreat.