Worksite Wellness programs make up a significant part of the VegOut! effort. Peer support, influence and collaboration make a big difference in developing healthier habits. We are proud to highlight the VegOut! spirit of Harris Health System, one of our collaborators, in a Worksite Wellness spotlight. As of March 11, Harris Health System had 79 of its employees participating in the 2015 VegOut! Challenge, and this year marks the second year the health system has taken the challenge as a team.
“I first heard about the VegOut! Challenge in 2014 from one of our employees who had participated previously,” says Mary Eckhardt, Employee Wellness Health Educator for Harris Health System. “After that employee brought it to my attention, the Employee Wellness Department decided to form a team that year for Harris Health System employees.”
Their experience in 2014 encouraged the Employee Wellness Department to re-up for VegOut! 2015. With an entire department dedicated to employee wellness year-round, VegOut! is a natural fit. “The goal of the Employee Wellness Program at Harris Health System is to offer health promoting programs to our employees,” says Eckhardt. “By helping to keep our employees healthy, it ultimately helps our organization provide better services and care to our patients.”
To encourage employees to VegOut!, Eckhardt says she and her staff have promoted the healthful challenge in a variety of ways. “We provided flyers to all of the Harris Health System locations,” she says. “We also included information about VegOut! in a biweekly email blast that goes out to all employees.” Eckhardt further explains that Harris Health’s Corporate Communications office wrote an article the VegOut! Challenge and posted it on the company intranet site, and the VegOut! “Veggie of the Day” is also being posted on the Harris Health System Facebook page throughout the month.
The Harris Health Employee Wellness staff has also organized a recipe exchange for employees. “In the email blasts, we invite employees to share a vegetable recipe, and at the end of the month, we will combine all of the recipes we receive and post them on our Employee Wellness intranet website as a resource,” says Eckhardt.
We salute the wellness staff and the whole VegOut! crew at Harris Health System for taking the challenge to expand their veggie horizons. “We hope that our staff members are encouraged to eat more vegetables and try new ones,” says Exkhardt. “Even if some of our employees are already eating vegetables, they may often stick to the same ones. We hope that this challenge inspires them to try new vegetables that they may not be as familiar with, and possibly find a new favorite!”