Santa Rosa Community Health wins Healthiest Companies Award

Santa Rosa Community Health's Helen Frater, fourth from left, presents the Human Race walking trophy to Oliver's Market employees, from left, Romiro Ramierez, Jean Forer, Susan Walling, Vicky Kenny and Michele Morris. Santa Rosa Community Health lost its challenge to Oliver's 'by a lot,' according to health system CEO Naomi Fuchs. 'We had a great time while losing.' (COURTESY OF SANTA ROSA COMMUNITY HEALTH)

GARY QUACKENBUSH, FOR NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL

With an active wellness committee that includes representatives from each of its nine clinical and two administrative sites, Santa Rosa Community Health continues to infuse wellness into the daily lives of its 500 employees.

During 2016, they instituted a fun walking challenge in conjunction with the Human Race.

“Our entire staff challenged employees at Oliver’s Markets to this competition,” said Chief Executive Officer Naomi Fuchs. “We lost – by a lot – but had a great time while losing.”

She said the organization did research on the causes of stress among staff members and issues related to money matters topped the list of concerns. As a result, SRCHC began partnering with the Redwood Credit Union to provide financial wellness workshops for its employees. Topics include how to create a budget, how to manage debt and when to access credit.

Fuchs said the challenges and the workshops have been well attended, and feedback shows that employees are becoming engaged who have not previously participated in other aspects of its overall wellness activities. Today 30% of the staff from all locations is participating.”

Every quarter “wellness champions” are identified by a nominating committee and awarded gift certificates or park passes so they can enjoy the great outdoors. Online health training modules are also available and employees are encouraged to take advantage of cancer screening and other prevention exams.

According to Laurie Lynn Hogan, community and donor relations director and chair of the wellness program, “As a provider of healthcare in our community, Santa Rosa Community Health is focused on improving the lives of some 50,000 patients who depend on us. After the fires, we’re seeing more patients with respiratory issues, those suffering from severe anxiety and problems with sleeping in addition to other concerns. In order to improve their health, we need to make sure all of our employees are healthy and well.”

Hogan met with her 20-member wellness committee in mid-November to talk about new program elements for staff, including ways to help them deal with their own stress and trauma related to the wildfires.

She observed that a number of noteworthy outcomes can be attributed to this program, including increased participation in wellness activities, including step challenges, and among those attending special guest speaker presentations addressing stress management. There has also been evidence of increased teamwork among staff members and improved cross-site interactions between and among those staffing its 11 worksites have enhanced overall employee engagement.

According to organization, other positive results seen include improved productivity, reduced employee health risks, such as those related to cardiovascular conditions, as well as a reduction in absenteeism.