Throughout this week I learned a lot of background information about UK Health & Wellness (UK H&W), including the programs they offer and the Wellness Specialists who execute them. Collectively, the UK H&W team offers over 68 YEARS of experience to the UK community served. UK H&W is a Human Resources benefit offered to employees, retirees, and spouses who are/have been employed by the UK.
There are three main platforms of UK H&W, including EatWell, MoveWell, and BeWell.
As you may have already guessed, this is the program I will primarily be working with during my time with UK H&W. There are two Registered Dietitians who offer their expertise and support for EatWell Weight Loss program participants.
The weight loss program is offered to participants a couple of different ways. There are two in-person group sessions offered in the afternoon and evening on a weekly basis. Additionally, the weekly in-person group is adapted into a Web-based session and offered once a week. EatWell Weight Loss is a 10 week program that offers a different discussion of health each week, in addition to weight loss support from expert dietitians. At the end of 10 weeks participants are encouraged to re-enroll, and they are promised an all new set of topics. There is a different topic for each week of the year, meaning participants can re-enroll as many times as they like without droning over the same old stuff.
Potential participants can become a member for a $50 lifetime fee, meaning they will only pay this once! This is an extremely good deal, considering they will have the opportunity to take advantage of free or low-cost services that are valued at nearly $100/hour.
As I had the chance to meet with each member of the staff last week, the most prominent topic of conversation was the FitBit initiative. From my perspective, this is the most well renowned project UK H&W has undertaken to date. I heard all viewpoints of the project from managers to wellness specialists, and honestly the impact has been quite remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that faculty are trying to get their hands on the data for research!! (I am truly intrigued by that notion.)
To make a long story short, UK reached out to different companies that manufacture fitness products, such as Garmin, FitBit, Jawbone, etc., and opened the floor for a bid. FitBit offered the best price, which is how the FitBit initiative began. UK then subsidized the price of FitBit so that employees could purchase them at a very low cost. For example, the most basic model was offered at only $19 versus nearly $100 wholesale price. Afterwards, the same process was repeated with software companies, and UK eventually established a contract with a platform that would allow employees to record their data all in one place. Nifty!
Nearly 11,000 FitBits were sold to UK employees, retirees and spouses. That is remarkable. UK H&W is now using this audience to conduct a series of "Challenges" which encourage users to be more active. There are three challenges in the year. The first is a personal challenge, the second is a team challenge, and the third is an inter-departmental challenge (i.e. College of Ag v. College of Business), if I am remembering correctly.
On top of all of that, there is also a "Check-In" system being offered by UK H&W. This is where participants can have their biometric measures analyzed as a reflection of their overall health status. The check-ins are done every 2 years, and this fall kicks off the third year. Therefore, this population will be able to compare their biometric markers to that of two years ago, which will give them a better representation of where their health is headed. So cool!!
The information provided above barely skims the surface of the conversations that were had with UK H&W employees about their work. I am still wrapping my head around the scale of this operation, and I am already amazed at how far their outreach travels. Literally to all 120 counties of the Commonwealth!
One thing that I fully understand after my first week with UK H&W is that this is without a doubt a fantastic program. Not only through the work they do, but through the work culture they have established. They are not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. They live, breathe, eat, and work Health & Wellness! Every single employee who works in this department absolutely, without a doubt, loves their position. Some employees have worked here for 14 years and plan to retire from their position. That is a sure sign that things are being done right! Additionally, it is a sign of fantastic management (although she is so humble you would never hear those words from her directly), great work relationships, and work that is fulfilling, satisfying, and effective. The next 6 weeks are going to bring great things, and I am excited to share!
CRD 2.1 Practice in compliance with current federal regulations and state statutes and rules, as applicable and in accordance with accreditation standards and the Scope of Dietetics Practice and Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics.
CRD 2.2 Demonstrate professional writing skills in preparing professional communications.
CRD 2.5 Demonstrate active participation, teamwork and contributions in group settings.
CRD 2.10 Establish collaborative relationships with other health professionals and support personnel to deliver effective nutrition services. (Tip: Other health professionals include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, diabetes educators, health educators, etc.)
CRD 2.12 Perform self-assessment, develop goals and objectives and prepare a draft portfolio for professional development as defined by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.