From Steps to Surveys, OHS Needs You to Join in Workplace Wellness

By Mia Bjelogrlic, nurse I, Occupational Health Services
Image of legs walking

Occupational Health Services (OHS) is making strides in creating a comprehensive workplace health program at NCI at Frederick and the Frederick National Laboratory—literally and figuratively. In recent months, the group held two walks, started a weekly walking group, and distributed health-related educational information.

Its most recent achievement is establishing the Wellness Committee, a team of 15 employees who represent the many groups at NCI at Frederick and the Frederick National Laboratory. OHS values employee diversity, so it sought to promote equal representation and inclusivity. Committee members help OHS form relationships with employees and identify and overcome participation barriers—but it needs your help.

The committee is currently distributing a survey to assess employee wellness needs and participation barriers. The responses will help OHS develop programs that meet employees’ needs, so OHS is asking all employees to complete the survey by June 14. A link to the survey has been emailed to all employees and posted on the Poster homepage. Paper surveys are also available at OHS in Building 426.

The survey is OHS’ first step in aligning with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Workplace Health Model, which provides guidelines for establishing evidence-based processes to develop and sustain workplace wellness programs.

Every year, Maryland Healthiest Business, an awards program developed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, scores companies on their ability to use these guidelines. In June, the group presents awards to businesses that show the most employee dedication and support for their wellness programs.

NCI at Frederick applied for the award in March. OHS was in close contact with the Frederick County Health Department during the application process, and it will continue that relationship throughout the year for help in planning the wellness program.

What Other Wellness Activities is OHS Doing?

In February, OHS launched Couch to 5k, a 12-week training program specifically designed for people who weren’t active runners, though it welcomed everyone. Participants formed an impromptu running team that trained at work twice each week, either during lunch or after work. Paul Marshall, program manager in the Environment, Health, and Safety Directorate, coached the lunch group, and OHS staff coached the after-work group. OHS sent participants weekly emails containing educational information about running, along with the running schedule. The program concluded at the Frederick Running Festival on May 4 and 5.

OHS is also preparing to restart the Fitness Challenge, an annual health and exercise program that previously existed at NCI at Frederick and the Frederick National Laboratory. Details will soon be available via the Events Listserv and the OHS website, which is being redesigned in partnership with Data Management Services. To receive wellness-related information and updates, please subscribe to the Events Listserv by emailing and typing “Subscribe EVENTS-INFO [Your name]” in the message body.

Worksite wellness programs have been proven to provide many benefits to both employers and employees. OHS hopes to maintain its momentum so that it can give employees a comprehensive program that positively influences workplace wellness.