The city of Mesa was recognized recently by the Healthy Arizona Worksites Program as achieving the Platinum level of excellence in worksite wellness, the highest level of achievement issued by the program.
The Healthy Arizona Worksite Award recognizes employers that are making efforts to positively affect the health and well-being of their employees, their families and their community by implementing comprehensive worksite wellness strategies. The minimum qualifications to be considered for this award include attending the Healthy Arizona Worksite Program training and developing a plan to improve employee health and safety. To qualify for the Silver and Gold levels of the award, employers need to support employee health through policy and systems changes. To qualify for Platinum level, employers must support wellness initiatives within the community.
Mesa received this recognition by supporting employee health in the following ways:
- Health Living Workshops focused on nutrition, stress management, fitness and safety.
- Diabetes Education and Tobacco Cessation Programs.
- Monthly newsletters, weekly tips, recipes and ongoing communications.
- On-site fitness and yoga classes.
- Annual events, including a Wellness and Benefits Fair, challenges and flu shot campaign.
“Since employees spend nearly half of their waking hours at work, the workplace represents an important setting for promoting healthy behaviors,” Employee Health and Wellness Manager Nicole Stec said. “Efficient, effective and sustainable worksite wellness initiatives have been shown to reduce health care costs and ultimately, improve the health and well-being of employees. The city looks to continue developing new offerings and activities that meet the needs of city of Mesa employees.”
To achieve Platinum level, two of Mesa’s community projects and departments were also recognized:
- The Aspire Academy, coordinated by the Mesa Fire and Medical Department. This is designed to become a regional academy for high school girls to become exposed to careers in public safety. It has been in Mesa in 2016 and 2017 and involves challenging physical and mental training. Aspire’s post-survey boasts improvement in many areas including self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and healthy living behaviors.
- Positive Play Project, coordinated by Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. The program is embedded within all city of Mesa youth sports program and highlights healthy living, youth development and positive sportsmanship. Since its launch in fall 2013, more than 8,000 youth participants, 500 volunteer coaches and 15,000 parents and community members have directly benefitted from the programs, training and resources.
The Healthy Arizona Worksites Program is a public health initiative offered by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Its mission is to help employers learn how to successfully implement worksite wellness initiatives to improve the health of their employees and businesses. For more information, visit: www.healthyazworksites.org.