249652 Creating a competitive advantage with healthier workers in the Mississippi Delta

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Claude Courtney II, MHA , Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood, MS
Nancy Tharp, Health and Safety Risk Manager , Human Resources, Viking Range Corporation, Greenwood, MS
Larry Williams, CEO , Non-Profit Organization, Delta Citizens Alliance, Greenville, MS
Jackie Hawkins, MRPP , Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative/Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood, MS
Background: The death rate for heart disease in the MS Delta is 267.8 per 100,000, higher than national and state averages. African Americans (AA) account for the highest mortality rates of heart disease in the Delta, with AA men reporting the highest rates. More than 60% of adults work and many spend 2,000 or more hours a year at work. Worksite wellness makes the places they work healthier. An ideal healthy worksite has opportunities for employees to be physically active, eat healthful foods and live tobacco-free.

Objective: To prevent and control high blood pressure among AA in the workplace setting.

Methods: Viking Range Corporation in Greenwood, MS was selected to participate in a hypertension management project. Viking Range has total workforce of 850, of which approximately 53% is AA. Screenings were performed to identify employees at risk for or diagnosed with hypertension to participate in a hypertension behavior modification program, which included cooking classes in Viking's nationally recognized cooking school, one-on-one counseling, and increased monitoring and screening.

Results: 44 employees participated in the intervention. Pre-post assessments revealed an increase in self-management skills including knowledge and practice of proper nutrition, physical activity, and self-monitoring. A detailed evaluation report will be published March 2011.

Conclusion: Overall, employees who participated in the program demonstrated improvement in how to manage their hypertension and/or risk factors for hypertension. Onsite worksite wellness programs are an effective mechanism for targeting individuals with or at risk for hypertension. This project will be expanded to include diabetes management.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Design worksite wellness programs. Compare various evidenced based practices in designing a comprehensive worksite wellness program. Define the concepts of worksite wellness. Evaluate worksite wellness program strategies in order to identify specific programs that are in line with the vision of an organization.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Worksite

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee programs such as chromic disease prevention pertaining to worksite wellness.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.