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Worksite Wellness Program Is Making Strides

Feb 7, 2017 | Press Releases

Healthier workers is one of the goals of the worksite wellness program being promoted by the Garrett County Health Department. Employers are encouraged to participate in the Worksite Wellness Program, providing benefits for their staff, and increasing the health of their workers.

“We are very excited about the participation we have had in the last several years,” said Amy Ritchie, grant coordinator and Dietitian at the health department. “The grant is a chronic disease prevention grant, and the more we can promote positive, healthy behaviors, such as physical activity and healthy eating, the more we can prevent chronic disease, or reduce its impact.”

The program has helped make many positive changes at workplaces around the county. Walking trails, both indoor and outdoor, have been measured at many locations, and employees are encouraged to walk before work, during breaks, and after work. Friendly walking and weight loss competitions are organized within a worksite, or against other worksites.  Employees receive incentives, such as pedometers, water bottles, and stretchy exercise bands, and employers receive grant money to help make improvements in creating a health promoting environment.

“Employees spend a lot of time in their work environment,” Ritchie said. “If we develop strategies that promote health and support and reinforce healthy behaviors at those locations, it’s a win-win situation.”

Other positive changes at worksites include adding water coolers, and replacing some unhealthy food options with healthier choices in employee vending machines.  Monitoring blood pressures allows education to be provided to those with high blood pressure. Employees are encouraged to take the CDC risk assessment test to see if they are at risk for prediabetes. Those showing a high risk are encouraged to enroll in Garrett Regional Medical Center’s free Diabetes Prevention Program.

“Although there are a few things the employer needs to do to participate in the program, the benefits greatly outweigh the requirements,” Ritchie said. Requirements include forming a wellness committee at the worksite if one does not already exist, completing the CDC Worksite Scorecard, and creating an activity plan with the help of health department staff.

Worksites that complete and submit the CDC Worksite Scorecard are then recognized as a “Healthiest Maryland Business.”

“Healthiest Maryland is a statewide movement to create a culture of wellness – an environment that makes the healthiest choice the easiest choice,” said Ritchie. “A wellness program ensures that everyone wins – companies save on healthcare costs and absenteeism while benefiting from improved productivity and performance, while employees and their families get healthier.”

One community wide benefit from the program is a collection of walking trails that have been measured off in various communities. A brochure of their locations, including maps showing mileage with start and finish locations is available from the health department. Visit the new Go Nuts With Amy! blog at to download the brochure.

For more information on the Worksite Wellness Program, contact Amy Ritchie at the Health Department by calling 301-334-7730, or 301-895-3111.

For Immediate Release:  February 7, 2017

Contact Person: Diane Lee, PIO, 301-334-7689

2017 Garrett County Flu Clinics

Flu Clinic Banner 2017 Community Vaccination Schedule:
We will bill Medicare Part B and private insurance companies. Be sure to bring your Medicare card and/or insurance card so we can bill your insurance carrier. There will be NO out-of-pocket costs for influenza vaccine.

Where When Time
Garrett County Health Department (Oakland) October 12, 2017 (Thursday) 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friendsville Senior Center October 18, 2017 (Wednesday) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Garrett County Health Department (Grantsville) October 20, 2017 (Friday) 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Kitzmiller Senior Center October 25, 2017 (Wednesday) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Garrett County Health Department (Oakland) October 27, 2017 (Friday) 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Swanton Senior Center October 30 2017 (Monday) 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Bloomington Fire Hall October 30, 2017 (Monday) 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Garrett County Health Department (Oakland) November 9, 2017 (Thursday) 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Garrett County Health Department (Grantsville)  November 17, 2017 (Friday) 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Pneumonia vaccines will be available at these clinics for only those with Medicare Part B. Other persons who want pneumonia vaccine should call 301 334-7770 or 301 895-5355 to schedule an appointment at the health department.

Download “Garrett-County-Public-Schools-2017-Flu-Vaccination-Letter-Schedule-and-Form.pdf” Garrett-County-Public-Schools-2017-Flu-Vaccination-Letter-Schedule-and-Form.pdf – Downloaded 6 times – 2 MB

Download “2017-Flu-Vaccine-Clinics.pdf” 2017-Flu-Vaccine-Clinics.pdf – Downloaded 5 times – 152 KB

Can't make it to any of these clinics? Try the CDC flu vaccine finder below!

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