Petaluma Health Care District wins Healthiest Companies Award

Staff members take a walking break near the Petaluma Healthcare District office. (photo courtesy of Petaluma Healthcare District)


At Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD), employees and families take advantage of no cost health care and mental health benefits, such as counseling services, health assessments and flu shots.

PHCD has an active Wellness Committee and this year its Employee Committee bought Fitbits for all interested employees while instituting step and fitness challenges using these devices.

Approximately 60% of staff members participate in office step challenges by signing up to do at least 50,000 steps/week for four weeks.

To attract more people and provide greater variety, rowing, gardening, swimming and Pilates have been added that also count toward earning equivalent “steps”.

District employees and their families also take part in community health events, such as the American Heart Association’s annual Sonoma County Heart Walk, the Alzheimer’s Walk and the Petaluma Kids Grand Fondo race.

A majority of staff participation in these events is on paid time. CEO Ramona Faith believes it is important for all employees to join in activities that raise awareness of community needs and to support programs that promote health and wellbeing.

You won’t find vending machines in PHCD’s kitchen. Instead, the refrigerator and shelves are stocked with healthy snacks including carrots, hummus, nuts and fruit. The Employee Club allocates $75 per month to ensure healthy snacks are available.

PHCD hosts monthly staff breakfasts or lunch potlucks featuring healthy, nutritious dishes. Occasionally, complimentary lunchtime educational opportunities are provided, including a presentation on the merits of Pilates and Yoga, or a “check in” to share recipes and ideas on fitness and proper eating habits. Team members often eat together outside to enjoy the fresh air and mental benefits of nature.

PHCD proactively schedules “stretch breaks,” posted on daily schedules, to remind employees to get moving.

In 2013, PHCD launched the HeartSafe Community Program to increase cardiac arrest survival rates and strengthen Southern Sonoma County’s response to cardiac emergencies through CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training.

In 2015, PHCD also started a HeartSafe business program to equip companies with life-saving AEDs. This effort involved some 35 firms -- including nine Exchange Bank branches -- along with churches, public buildings, and sports groups as well as in all 35 Petaluma schools.

PHCD offers its employees and families the option to utilize its Employee Assistance Program for counseling related to work or personal problems. To maintain a strong work-life balance, flexible scheduling allows staff members to adjust their work time to care for a sick child, or so a parent can attend a child/grandchild activity.