University of Colorado Hospital getting 'Healthy for Good'

By Staff

If the line of tables and the crowd in a conference room in the AIP late last month was any indication, the hospital and its staff seem to have gotten serious about this get-healthy kick. The occasion was the second annual "Healthy for Good" event, staged Jan. 20. The program launched more than a year ago to give employees more opportunities to maintain or improve their physical and emotional health.

The idea is that healthy employees are more satisfied, engaged and productive. And a healthier work force also could mean lower health care costs for the hospital, which is responsible for paying employees' medical claims.

Departments from around the hospital – including Employee Health and Wellness; the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR); Neurosurgery; Oncology; the Center for Integrative Medicine; Rehabilitation Medicine and many more – provided information and answered questions about a variety of health- and wellness-oriented topics.

The day also featured a talk from James O. Hill, Ph.D., executive director of the University of Colorado's new Health and Wellness Center, which broke ground on the corner of Quentin and Montview last September. The center, devoted to preventing disease through research, clinical programs, education and community outreach, is scheduled to open early in 2012.

"It's not just a building; it's a program," Hill told the audience. He sketched his broad vision for the center, which he described as helping people take control of their own health through a variety of weight-management, exercise and nutrition programs. Hill, who also heads the University of Colorado's Center for Human Nutrition, said it's an idea he's been talking about for 15 or 20 years.

"There is a huge need for something like this at a major medical school," he said. "We want to be the first one to really get serious about lifestyle and keeping people out of the doctor's office."
He noted the importance of emphasizing wellness in the workplace.
"We need to start with our own employees," he said. "Otherwise, what credibility do we have to talk to others nationally (about the importance of wellness)?"

The center, which will include the Center for Integrative Medicine, is a work in progress, Hill said. But he said the four-story building will likely include a therapy pool, fitness center, nutrition labs and clinical space.

 "But we're open to all good ideas," he added. "We want health and wellness to be the heart and the soul of this campus."

Meanwhile, Employee Health and Wellness quietly unveiled new equipment in the employee exercise room on the first floor of the Critical Care Wing the same day as the Healthy for Good gathering. The refurbished room, which is free to employees and open around the clock, now has two new treadmills and weight-lifting equipment.