SONOMA COUNTY -- St. Joseph Health System, the second largest private employer in Sonoma County with over 2,400 employees, offers wellness options for employees through its Choose Well program, which has a 40 percent employee participation rate -- meaning more than 900 employees are embracing the wellness concept.

"Choose Well is our multidimensional wellness program that is designed to provide resources that will help each employee reach his or her wellness potential," said Victoria Ashley, direct of human resources."Through the establishment of innovative programs and incentives designed to improve the health and welfare of employees, we will create a more satisfied and productive workforce."

St. Joseph's operates the region's largest hospital and only level II trauma center, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, as well as Petaluma Valley Hospital, urgent care clinics, hospice and home care and a two mobile health clinics that travel the county.

[caption id="attachment_44807" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Employees participated the 5K “Run for Your Life” held by Next Gen, which is affiliated with the Petaluma Valley Hospital Foundation."][/caption]

St. Joseph's said it  has seen enthusiastic response to its wellness initiatives -- at an on-site wellness fair in January, 800 employees participated in biometric screenings. And nearly just as many employees are participating in the company's Virgin Health Miles pedometer program, which incentivizes employees to track exercise using a pedometer, according to Ms. Ashley. Additionally, some 40 percent of employees at Memorial have taken Well Being Assessments, while about 34 percent at Petaluma Valley have taken such assessments.

The health care system said it has  made employee health an ongoing commitment, which is also part of its mission of providing a healthier communities through wellness. 

"This is being achieved by providing a work site wellness program that will improve the health of and quality of life of each employee through health risk assessments  health coaching, health education resources, annual biometric screenings and physical activity programs," Ms. Ashley said. "The St. Joseph Health System programs is designed to provide employee wellness services and activities to promote healthy lifestyles in support of the mission and values of dignity, stewardship and healthiest communities."