Worksite Wellness

 

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NEWS: 2018 

Wellness Garden at Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center has a second year of success.

The menus at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Health Care Center in Wabasha are bursting with flavor, brimming with color and teeming with freshness. A raised garden bed provides fresh herbs that go directly to patients and beyond.

The garden began early in the year with construction of two raised beds by a team of volunteers at the hospital. It produced an array of fresh herbs and vegetables, and increased access to fresh foods for the hospital patients, staff and visitors.

“We selected herbs as our first focus,” explained Paula Thompson, registered dietitian and director of Nutrition Services. “Our goal was to reduce sodium in many of our dishes and replace salt with healthier options. Basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage, dill, and tarragon all offer interesting and tasty alternatives.”

They also grew cherry tomatoes, radishes, lettuce and peppers to be used in soups, hot dishes and other dinner favorites.

In 2017, there were more than 20,000 meals served using fresh garden produce and herbs, benefiting patients to nursing home residents to visitors to staff eating from the hospital café menu. The reach for such a project was fantastic - as was the feedback.

“Our staff picked garden goodies in the morning and we served these items at lunch or dinner time. The taste of garden-fresh produce cannot be beat,” said Paula.

In March of 2018 an application was submitted to SHIP from  Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Garden to expand from an herb garden. The project was described as follows:  "Planning and implementation of an on-site vegetable garden that produces a variety of vegetables to be used in our food services departments. We will use SHIP funding to purchase initial plants for the garden. We will also cover the garden in order to extend the growing season. Education and training will be provided to associates on the use of the vegetables in our food service department and the skills needed to grow vegetables at their own homes. Finally we will work with a landscape consultant to determine a plan for having irrigation access to the garden." - Paula Thompson

Follow Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center's Wellness Garden progress on their Facebook page here.


Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace: The Journey

Wabasha County has received MDH designation as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace. 

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Wabasha County values good health in its community members, including its youngest. That’s why in the fall of 2017, the Wabasha County Wellness Committee, in collaboration with Wabasha County SHIP and Maternal Child Health, decided it was important to support its breastfeeding mothers. One way to do this was to apply for a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace designation through the Minnesota Department of Health.

First step: A committee was formed to identify current and future breastfeeding areas, and it was determined there should be breastfeeding rooms available in the county courthouse, criminal justice building and the service building. Space was found in each building and the group received the necessary funds to provide the rooms with the furniture and supplies needed.  The rooms are available to all county staff who are breastfeeding, and several have been using the rooms and comment on how clean and comfortable they are. They also appreciate the willingness of the county to go this extra mile so they can continue breastfeeding after they return to work.

Next step: The committee reviewed the breast feeding policies used by Goodhue County and used that as a template to guide creation of a Breastfeeding Friendly policy.  It took six months, but the county board of commissioners approved the policy and the changes and then the rooms were open for business.

Final step: The committee worked as a group to fill out the State Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Recognition form, sent it on January 12, 2018, and we are now pleased to announce...

 Wabasha County has received MDH designation as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace.  

The Minnesota Department of Health and Wabasha County understand the importance of breastfeeding babies for the first year, if possible. Studies show breastfeeding is important to the health of babies and their moms, with lower rates of ear infections, colds and other ailments for babies. You can read more about the benefits of breastfeeding at the Minnesota Department of Health website here.


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Healthy eating on-the-go.

During the summer of 2017, Fernbrook Family Center saw a need to provide its employees with healthy snack options, especially for those who travelled for work quite a bit. These staff members often travel with clients or to client homes resulting in eating schedules that are varied, limiting their options for snacks and lunch. Before, staff members would buy snacks from local gas stations that were familiar but not very healthy.

Shaylma Salinas, Fernbook’s Community and Marketing Specialist, decided to apply for a multi-county SHIP grant to launch a Workplace Wellness initiative that included providing healthier food options and a dietician to provide a demonstration filled with tips and recipes. She hoped this presentation and sampling would help staff understand the benefits of healthier options, learn about new foods, and try some healthy snack options. The presentation was a success and staff appreciated the continuing education on healthy food options. Staff members also left with an incentive to continue making healthy choices. Partnering with the Owatonna Hy-Vee gas station as a pilot, Fernbrook employees now receive a 10-percent discount on snack purchases.

“I really like how you offer flexibility to our worksite wellness program. Having this opportunity helps with the sustainability of healthy change. Wellness can be seen as a low priority but through SHIP implementation, it’s helped spark change and new concepts are being practiced making it an easier sell for items which aren’t funded by SHIP. This work has helped to alleviate tension and improve workplace culture,” said Salinas.

If you’d like to learn more about partnering with Wabasha County SHIP, contact Tina Moen, SHIP Coordinator, at tmoen@co.wabasha.mn.us or at 651-565-5200.


New grant cycle for Wabasha County Worksite Wellness Collaborative. 

Our first quarterly meeting of this grant cycle was held on December 11, 2017.  Our topic was healthy eating.  Our guest speaker was Sara George, Wabasha Farmers Market Manager, who spoke to the group about Farmer's Market Shares or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and about a food aggregation pilot being trialed in Wabasha, Lake City, and Cannon Falls.  CSA boxes were tested last year in Wabasha.  Participating employers signed up in February of 2017.  Wabasha County participated, said Tina Moen, SHIP Coordinator, and there was a nice assortment of product in the boxes which gave us the opportunity to eat healthy and many of us tried new foods.   

Sara is interested in sitting down with any member of the collaborative to talk about  individual programs related to bringing in farm-fresh produce.  Please contact her at wabashafm@gmail.com or 715-651-5046.

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Future topics for this grant cycle include Tobacco-Free Environments, Breastfeeding Support, and Physical Activity.  

Mini grant applications were due February 23, 2018. A second round will take place with a deadline to be announced. If you would like learn how to become a part of our collaborative and/or how to become eligible to apply for a grant, please email Tina Moen or call her at 651-565-5200.

Coalition Members Include:
Tina Moen (SHIP Coordinator/Facilitator)
Nicole La Chapelle (Technical Assistant Provider)
Johanna Majerus (Lake City Public Schools)
Marcia Schultz (Plainview-Elgin-Millville Schools District)
Lyn Wolf and Christina Stark (Wabasha County)
Paula Thompson (Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center)
Ramona Redig (Workforce Development)
Mary Dawn Umsted (Great River Homes)
Karen Pernu (Lakeside Foods)
Michael Harvey (Zumbrota-Mazeppa School District)
Sarah Venz (Fernbrook)
Heidi Nelson and Jacob Suckow (Mayo Care Center (Goodhue)
Jill Hayes (Immanuel Lutheran Churchand School-Plainview)


Healthy Eating at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

The menus at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Health Care Center in Wabasha are bursting with flavor, brimming with color and teeming with freshness. A raised garden bed provides fresh herbs that go directly to patients, and beyond.

It began early in the year with construction of two raised beds by a team of volunteers at the hospital. It produced an array of fresh herbs and vegetables, and increased access to fresh foods for the hospital patients, staff and visitors.

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“We selected herbs as our first focus,” explained Paula Thompson, registered dietitian and director of Nutrition Services. “Our goal was to reduce sodium in many of our dishes and replace salt with healthier options. Basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage, dill, and tarragon which offer interesting and tasty alternatives.” They also grew cherry tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, peppers to be used in soups, hot dishes and other dinner favorites.

In 2017, there were more than 20,000 meals served using fresh produce and herbs from the garden, from patients to nursing home residents to visitors and staff ordering from the hospital café.  The reach for such a project was fantastic, as was the feedback. “Our staff picked garden goodies in the morning and we served these items at lunch or dinner time. The taste of garden- fresh produce cannot be beat,” said Paula.

Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Garden was so successful that committee members are looking to apply for SHIP funds next year to expand the gardens and its bounty for all to enjoy.

In 2017, there were more than 20,000 meals served using fresh produce and herbs from the garden, from patients to nursing home residents to visitors and staff ordering from the hospital café.  The reach for such a project was fantastic, as was the feedback. “Our staff picked garden goodies in the morning and we served these items at lunch or dinner time. The taste of garden- fresh produce cannot be beat,” said Paula.

Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Garden was so successful that committee members applied for SHIP funds in 2018; read more about this success in the Minnesota Newspaper Associations 2018 Daily Newspaper by following the link here.

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NEWS: 2017

Raised garden beds now at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center.

Raised gardens have now been constructed and are on campus for growing herbs to be used in Saint Elizabeth’s dietary kitchens. Raised garden beds will also contain potted plants and be placed at various campus locations. Efforts to promote healthy eating among associates, patients, residents, tenants and guests will continue to be a priority of the Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Committee. Staff training will include growing, harvesting and cooking. Fresh, savory herbs grown onsite will substitute sodium used in many menu items. This project has been funded by Wabasha County SHIP.


Lactation suites open at Saint Elizabeth’s.

In April, Saint Elizabeth Medical Center held a grand opening tour featuring for their lactation suites in the Medical Center and Health Care Center. With funding support from Wabasha County SHIP, the suites provide nursing mothers a convenient, private, sanitary and comfortable space to express, collect and store breast milk.

 Lactation suites are now open at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center.

Worksite Wellness Coalition Members
Nicole La Chapelle  (Technical Assistant Provider)
Tina Moen  (SHIP Coordinator/Facilitator)
Johanna Majerus  (Lake City Public Schools)
Marcia Schultz  (Plainview-Elgin-Millville Schools District)
Lyn Wolf and Christina Stark  (Wabasha County)
Paula Thompson  (Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center)
Cheryl Brindle  (Great River Homes)
Ramona Redig  (Workforce Development)
Andrea Chapman  (Lake City Chamber Executive Director)
Mary Amsted  (Great River Homes)
Karen Pernu  (Lakeside Foods)

Quarterly meetings topics to be covered during in this grant cycle include:

  • Breastfeeding Support

  • Physical Activity

  • Policies, Systems, Environmental Change and  Social Support

  • Stress Management

 
 
 

Worksite wellness continues.

Six partners from the previous round of SHIP have resumed with SHIP Worksite Wellness efforts, and one new recruit has joined with a total of 22 sites and a potential to reach 1,022 employees. A survey was conducted to determine the order of coalition priorities and the topic of the quarterly meetings. Topics include policy, systems, environment (PSE); stress management; physical activity, healthy eating; tobacco-free environments; and breast-feeding support. 

“Prior to the county joining the SHIP Wellness Coalition, we did not have a vision statement, a logo or any organized plan. We now have all of these and our plan has PSE goals and objectives that have helped give us positive direction. Thank you SHIP for helping us improve our wellness committee!”
- Judy Barton, Wabasha County Wellness Committee Chair