YSU Earns Silver Award for Healthy Work Environment

Youngstown State University has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Health for an outstanding healthy work environment for the third year in a row. For 2013, the university has been awarded the Silver Award, improving from Bronze Awards in 2011 and 2012.

Of the 96 applicants overall, YSU was one of the few universities to be given an award, along with Ohio State University who received a Bronze Award. The award recognizes YSU’s commitment to employee health, the promotion of worksite health and wellness programs.

Carrie Clyde, wellness coordinator for YSU’s Human Resources Department, said she feels this is a great accomplishment for the university and one it can take pride in.

“I believe that going from the Bronze Healthy Worksite Award to the Silver is quite an accomplishment for our Living Well Program,” Clyde said. “It showcases YSU’s commitment to employee health by continuing to incorporate comprehensive worksite health promotion initiatives.”

Ron Cole, YSU’s Public Information Officer, said the accomplishment is “yet another feather in the university’s cap.”

“It’s indicative of the continued success of the university’s wellness program,” Cole said.

Clyde said the award also indicates the culture of the campus in regard to its attitude toward wellness.

“I feel that it demonstrates our thoughtful action in providing employees with education, tools, and resources to empower them to make healthy choices. To add, I feel that it shows that we are making positive changes that are shifting the culture to wellness by providing a healthier work environment,” Clyde said.

Clyde said the application process for the award program is quite extensive. There is a questionnaire that must be completed, as well as accurate documentation providing evidence to support the validity of the program. Examples of information that must accompany the application includes an operating plan, an interest survey and aggregated health screening data.

“Applications are judged on efforts to facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity, and ensure a healthy work environment. Applications are scored to see which organizations are eligible for an award and if so, at what award level,” Clyde said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, wellness programs are essential for keeping the workplace healthy and happy.

“Many of our health problems can be attributed to poor diets, inactive and sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, and alcohol and drug consumption, which means preventive health and wellness programs are an essential part of improving health outcomes for all Ohioans,” Ted Wymyslo, Ohio Department of Health director, said in a press release.

Clyde added that a successful wellness program encourages healthy behavior.

“A healthy worksite attempts to educate, inspire, and engage employees to adopt healthier habits. For those employees who already manage their health, it is about keeping them healthy,” she said.

As for this year, Clyde said the university is continuing to improve its wellness program, wellness activities and overall worksite health, striving for the Health Department’s Gold Award.

“Absolutely, we will continue to strive for the highest award level,” Clyde said.