University of Michigan Receives C. Everett Koop National Health Award for Efforts to Promote a Culture of Health

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on workplace health and safety issues and demonstrated the critical role worker wellbeing plays in our nation's ability to be resilient in the face of crisis. The importance of protecting and promoting employee health, however, is not unique to our current circumstances. Some employers have long realized that investing in workplace health promotion and wellbeing programs can help organizations achieve sustainable business results even in the best of times.

For more than a quarter century, a non-profit known as The Health Project has been awarding annual prizes to organizations with proven health improvement programs through its prestigious C. Everett Koop National Health Award. Today, The Health Project announced the University of Michigan (U-M) as its 2021 award winner.

The University's MHealthy program supports the health and wellbeing of U-M faculty and staff, as well as their families, U-M patients, retirees, community members, and K-12 students. MHealthy delivers effective, evidence-based health and wellbeing programs and services that improve people's lives and support a culture of health at the University. Broadly, programs address the following health behavior areas: physical activity/movement, tobacco cessation, alcohol use, nutrition and weight concerns, mental and emotional wellbeing, and sleep, as well as services for occupational health and ergonomics.

In examining data between 2016 and 2019, program participants were found to have lower medical and pharmaceutical claims costs, illness-related absenteeism, and turnover rates compared to non-participants. Moreover, U-M performed better than several national benchmarks on various measures, including illness-related absenteeism, turnover, and organizational health scores.

Since its inception in 2016, the program has remained nimble to meet the varying challenges faced by its employees, including those arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, MHealthy introduced new initiatives to address unique pandemic-related issues such as caregiving, social isolation, and financial wellbeing.

"The C. Everett Koop Award recognizes organizations with comprehensive, evidence-based programs designed to improve health and wellbeing," said Ron Goetzel, PhD, President and CEO of The Health Project. "The Health Project is honored to add the University of Michigan to its list of award-winning organizations and hope U-M's exemplary workplace health promotion program encourages others to strengthen their efforts at a time when employee health and wellbeing is critical to the health of the nation."

Because of the rigorous standards required for documenting health improvements and cost savings, fewer than 70 organizations have been honored with this prestigious award since The Health Project was established, with the late Dr. C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General of the United States, as its honorary chairperson.

In addition to the 2021 award winner, Union Bank & Trust (UBT) received honorable mention recognition, earning this designation for the second time in a row. UBT offers numerous programs, educational opportunities, and support services to engage in its mission of fostering an organizational culture that encourages healthy behavior and empowers healthy decision making. The awards will be presented on October 14, 2021 at the annual Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Forum, which is taking place virtually this year, due to the pandemic. More information about the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and award-winning health promotion programs is available at http://thehealthproject.com.

The Health Project, Inc. (The Health Project, "THP"), is a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation formed to bring about critical attitudinal and behavioral changes in addressing the health and well-being of Americans. THP's mission is to seek out, evaluate, promote and disseminate the lessons learned from exemplary health promotion and disease prevention programs with demonstrated effectiveness in improving employee population health and related business outcomes. The C. Everett Koop National Health Awards are given each year to worksite, community or provider programs that are well-integrated into the organization's infrastructure and have yielded significant improvement in population health and noteworthy business results.

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SOURCE The Health Project

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