Online Exclusive: YSU Wellness Program Receives Gold Award

By Melissa Turosik

The Youngstown State University Wellness (Living Well) program received the 2017 Healthy Business Council of Ohio Gold Worksite Award on Jan. 25.

Carrie Clyde, wellness coordinator, traveled to Columbus to accept the award on YSU’s behalf.

Clyde said she feels the recognition validates the efforts of the program.

“It is a testament that we are following best practices, industry trends and standards for worksite wellness,” Clyde said.

Clyde said it showcases that as an employer, YSU invests in the program and finds value in the fact that it is assisting employees to manage and improve their health, well-being and work-life balance.

“It is also exciting to be ranked with other prestigious organizations that are doing great things in the field, “Clyde said.

This isn’t the first time the wellness program has been recognized, Clyde said.

“Living Well has earned the bronze award in 2011 and 2012, the silver award in 2013 and 2014, and the gold award in 2015, 2016 and 2017,” Clyde said.

Clyde said they have also have been recognized by the Wellness Council of America with the Gold Well Workplace Award in 2016.

“We [have] received recognition from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association over the years,” Clyde said.

Living Well was established in 2009 as a wellness program for YSU employees.

It proposes health promotion programs and education to talk and encourage at-risk populations in their pursuit of healthier lives, according to a Living Wellness brochure.

The mission of the wellness program is to advance the health status of employees by contributing        opportunities, resources and support to praise healthy lifestyle choices, according to the brochure.

Brandy Schumaker, assistant director for fitness and facility operations at campus recreation, is on the wellness steering committee.

Schumaker said exercise has been shown to improve not only fitness but overall health status.

“[Exercise] decreases rates, even improves some chronic diseases, reduces stress and improves test scores,” Schumaker said.

Jeanine Mincher, associate professor in food and nutrition, said she is involved in Living Well as a collaborator and on the advisory committee.

Mincher said Clyde is doing a great job with the program and YSU offers a variety of programs to help employees be healthier.

“Some of the things we’ve done over the years that Carrie has led the way in providing is education nutrition for one,” Mincher said. “I think my department was the first one to collaborate with her.”

She said the program started offering healthy eating by presentations on practical nutrition information people could use, how to read labels, how to make healthier decisions when they shop and healthier food preparations and techniques.

Mincher said there are healthy food cooking classes all employees can attend.

She said during board meetings they walk around the room to practice what they preach.

“Instead of sitting at a table, we walk while we talk,” Mincher said.

Mincher said teamwork makes achievements like the gold award happen.

“When we work together everybody wins, and I don’t care what field you’re in. Collaboration is the name of the game,” Mincher said.