Help for Your Health Grants
BJC Help for Your Health assists BJC hospitals and service organizations in creating new programs or expanding existing programs that encourage employee health and wellness.
Grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to programs deemed the most innovative or effective by a Help for Your Health grant panel.
Grant Success Story: Stairway to Health Heaven
Pressing the buttons on the employee elevators may seem easier than taking the stairs. But the SLCH Help for Your Health employee wellness committee encourages staff to rest their index fingers and work their legs.
On October 11, 2012, Lee Fetter, St. Louis Children's Hospital president, cut the ribbon for the Snerdlihc’s Stair Climb Project. The program is named after the Hospital’s playful mascot, Snerdlihc, which is “Childrens” spelled backwards. The newly decorated Hospital stairwell, behind the employee service elevators, features inspirational graphics and messages for those volunteering to take the 312-step trip down or to the top. One of the phrases, “Burn calories not kilowatts,” reminds staff of the benefits of participating in the healthy practice.
“We hope the messages will inspire people to take the stairs and encourage them to keep coming back,” says Tammy Graves, program supervisor. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback so far.”
Parkland Health Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital Awarded Grants for 2012
While brainstorming possible projects to benefit all Parkland Health Center employees late last year, the Parkland Health Literacy Team came up with an ambitious idea -- to develop an employee fitness room within the Hospital.
Employee use of the equipment at the Parkland Wellness Center had grown significantly in recent months, says Jack Hand, PHC Health Literacy Team member. But the Wellness Center was actually designed for patient use, so employees could only squeeze in their workouts when patients weren’t using the equipment.
“The increased use of the equipment at the Wellness Center indicated there was a need for an exercise area dedicated to employee use,” says Hand.
A Need at St. Louis Children’s Hospital
As a way to increase physical activity among St. Louis Children’s Hospital employees, the SLCH Help for Your Health committee had been working on a plan to improve the appearance of stairwells and increase employee awareness of the health benefits of stair use.
Committee members wanted to make the stairwells more appealing, with bright paint colors, good lighting, nice flooring and clear signage. But the committee didn’t have the funding to complete such a project.
Encouraging Employee Health and Wellness
To help BJC hospitals and service organizations create new programs or expand existing programs that encourage employee health and wellness, the BJC Help for Your Health team offered grants to be awarded to programs deemed the most innovative or effective by a Help for Your Health grant panel.
“We were very excited with the response and impressed by the caliber of all the grant applications,” says June Fowler, BJC vice president of corporate and public communications and acting executive director of BJC health literacy. “The selection committee considered a number of factors, including project innovation, how well the proposal was researched and presented, whether it was sustainable, its potential impact on employee health, and whether the program could be implemented at other BJC locations.”
Jack Hand, who was instrumental in submitting the PHC grant, and Tammy Graves, who participated in creating the SLCH grant submission, were awarded the grants during the January 5, 2012, BJC Help for Your Health meeting.
Making It Happen at Parkland Health Center
Hand says the most difficult aspect of implementing the grant will be finding appropriate space. “Space is at a premium at Parkland Health Center,” he says. “However, we may have identified a couple of good areas within the Hospital.”
The team has already starting looking for equipment, and has even obtained some used equipment from other BJC facilities. “This grant will help us supplement that equipment,” says Hand.
Will it be a lot of hard work? “Perhaps initially, but the ultimate benefit to the Parkland employees will be worth it,” say Hand, adding that the PHC Health Literacy Team was instrumental in developing the plan to improve Parkland health Center's biometrics. A multidisciplinary team, members include employees from food service, human resources, administration, mental health, occupational health, education, the diabetic clinic, Huckstep cardiac and pulmonary rehab, the adult wellness center, clerical services, patient access, health information management, a registered dietitian, the chaplain, and Parkland Health Center's Health Hall of Fame recipients. Hand adds that Sheri Graham, PHC Human Resources director and a member of the Health Literacy Team, has been extremely supportive of the project.
Taking Action at St. Louis Children's Hospital
Graves says the St. Louis Children's Hospital committee also has begun its preliminary planning and hopes to have a finished product -- the stairwell near the employee elevators -- within a year. An important part of the project, which will take some time initially, is a pre- and post-assessment of stair use to be performed by the Saint Louis University School of Public Health.
“Facilities will be involved from the beginning to help select paint colors, signs and flooring and to ensure all codes are being followed,” says Graves. “And the Health Literacy committee will conduct project committee meetings every other month to implement the project.
“Greta Todd Moorhead, child health advocacy and outreach director; Larry Vancil and Susan Ebrecht of facilities; Gary LaBlance, vice president of quality; and Rick Majzun, vice president of strategic operations and planning, have been our champions to help support this committee and the efforts and planning for this project,” says Graves.
Graves adds that the SLCH Health Literacy committee is made up of frontline staff, middle managers and directors from across SLCH in occupational health, child health advocacy and outreach, community education, communications and marketing, Human Resources, food and nutrition, WellAware, radiology, AnswerLine, and behavioral health.
“We will also be working with the Morrison’s team to teach employees how many steps they would need to take to burn the food consumed in the cafe,” Graves says. “This is such a simple way to encourage physical activity at work that only takes a few minutes at a time but can make a big impact in the long run. We are super excited about this project and hope employees will be, too.”