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
UPlan Wellness Assessment
StayWell Health Management
Health coaching by phone
Harris HealthTrends Resource Center
Ask Mayo Clinic 24-hour nurse line
319 15th Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Health Connections by the numbers
- 45 percent of the nearly 17,000 eligible UPlan members have or will receive a $65 wellness reward after visiting www.healthconnections.umn.edu and completing the confidential, online UPlan Wellness Assessment by the April 30, 2006 deadline.
- Of the employees who completed the wellness assessment, to date, 46% are connecting to one or more follow-up health improvement opportunities:
- 2,554 are enrolled in online, self-paced Healthy Living programs
- 3,191 are voluntarily working with a health coach by phone to improve health habits or better manage disease or a chronic condition
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.