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Three U employees walking on campus with trees in the background.

More U employees are using lunch time and breaks to walk on campus in response to UPlan Wellness initiatives, including Health Connections.

Health Connections is off to a strong start

Nearly 8,000 U employees take the assessment

By Susan Wiese

Brief, May 17, 2006

Four months after the launch of the University's first comprehensive wellness initiative, 7,928 faculty, staff, and family members are participating in Health Connections. It's a new approach to wellness for UPlan members, offering financial incentives to assess personal health, work with a health coach by phone, and enroll in online health improvement programs.

"This is a great start," says Karen Chapin, manager of health programs for the UPlan Medical and Dental Program. "What's encouraging is that so many University employees are also taking the next step--they're signing up for health coaching over the phone or enrolling in self-directed, online programs after receiving their wellness assessment results."

Connect to better health

UPlan Wellness Assessment
StayWell Health Management
800-926-5455

Health coaching by phone
Harris HealthTrends Resource Center
877-247-9204

Ask Mayo Clinic 24-hour nurse line
888-887-2593
www.mayoclinic.com

UPlan Wellness
E-mail: well@umn.edu
Phone:
612-626-WELL (-9355)
888-433-WELL (-9355)
Address:
UPlan Wellness
Employee Benefits
100 Donhowe
319 15th Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Web site:
www.healthconnections. umn.edu

Health Connections by the numbers

The number of Health Connections participants is expected to go up as health coaches from Harris HealthTrends, Inc.--the administrator for Health Connections--continue to reach out and invite employees to connect with a personal health adviser over the telephone. When asked, eight out ten employees are choosing to get help from a coach to lose weight, quit smoking, reduce stress, and more.

Many employees have written with positive feedback. One person, diagnosed with insulin resistance a few years ago and already on a path to health improvement, reported that StayWell has become a powerful tool. She's lost more than 50 pounds since last July.

"Today my way of eating has completely changed and I am much more active," she wrote. "The StayWell online program has been part of that and continues to be a source of motivation and positive support. When I recently had my blood work done, my doctor said that my body is no longer insulin resistance--that my blood glucose and insulin levels are well within the normal range.

"In addition to taking the actions that support health and well-being, I love to keep learning," she adds. "I can get all of that from StayWell and the other options offered through the U's wellness plan."

It's not too late to take the assessment

Even though the April 30 deadline has passed to receive the initial $65 reward for taking the wellness assessment, it's still possible to complete the 20-minute questionnaire and then go on to earn $65 by taking advantage of one or more health-improvement offerings from Health Connections.


Susan Wiese is the communications project manager for UPlan Wellness program.