Employees Set Example for LivingWell

February 15, 2015 | C.J. Anderson

The mission of Adventist Health is to share God’s love by providing physical, mental and spiritual healing, which influences the way team members care for their communities as well as themselves.

LivingWell is Adventist Health’s whole-person wellness program. The program embraces the Adventist Health’s wellness heritage, founded on the belief that taking an active role in one's own wellbeing helps people get healthy, stay healthy and enjoy their lives to the fullest. An emphasis on healthy living built on a culture of support and encouragement leads to a healthier employee family and higher quality of care for patients.

Wellness becomes a team effort throughout the Northwest Region of Adventist Health as departments, co-workers and friends team up for various diet and exercise challenges throughout the year. From team-based exercise contests throughout the summer and weight management challenges through the holidays to lunch-hour and evening education events, there’s something for every health goal and fitness level. The supportive and encouraging team of co-workers contributes to an increasing culture of wellness throughout the region.

The culture helped transform Debra Achziger, mail clerk at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., and her family. “My husband and I joined the Holiday Hold’em Challenge in 2013,” says Achziger. “The goal was to maintain or improve our weight between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. The extra incentive and accountability from the challenge helped us each improve our weight and helped us incorporate long-term diet and exercise changes into our lifestyle. Over the last 14 months, I’ve lost more than 80 pounds and feel better than I have in years.” 

Community Outreach

Promoting wellness also provides an opportunity for ministering to local communities. Education events, lectures and support groups help team members, as well as patients and community members, make positive changes in diet, exercise and stress management. Through partnerships with local churches, Adventist Health can provide access to the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) and Financial Peace University.

CHIP is thriving at Tillamook Regional Medical Center in Tillamook, Ore., where more than 500 community members have graduated from the program. This represents more than 10 percent of the population of Tillamook, a city of 4,900 residents. CHIP is making significant inroads in improving the health of community members where dairy farming is the primary industry. Physicians are actively referring their patients to CHIP for treatment of chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, with great results. Large employers including Tillamook County, the City of Tillamook and the Tillamook County Creamery Association are referring their employees to CHIP and covering the cost of the program.

Through hospital and community-based programs, Adventist Health is helping individuals meet and maintain their wellness goals. Beyond treating diseases, these efforts empower employees, patients and local communities to experience life more abundantly.