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New Year, New Chances to Be Healthy

January 21, 2014

The beginning of a new year has many people hoping to make a fresh, healthy start. The Office of Worksite Wellness at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) aims to help public health employees do just that. PHWEEK asked Susanne Koch, DPH’s worksite wellness coordinator, to fill us in on all that the program has in store for the next 12 months.

PHWEEK: It's a new year at DPH! What can employees expect from Worksite Wellness in 2014?

Koch: Worksite wellness continues to grow in 2014, and we are looking forward to many great programs. We are expanding offerings at the Capitol Hill Fitness Center to include personal training for individuals and groups, My Miles Matter incentive programs, encouragement to log 214 workouts in 2014 and more. We are also working on a new healthy eating policy for DPH, expansion of the Lactation Support Initiative and a stairwell challenge featuring our new chalk paint boards in the stairwells!

PHWEEK: How are you using employee feedback to improve the program?

Koch: We have partnered with University of Georgia to administer a survey to all DPH employees to get feedback on health care utilization, leadership support and overall individual wellness. If you haven’t filled it out already, we hope you’ll take 15 minutes to complete it before Jan. 22. We hope to use this data to demonstrate the importance of worksite wellness programs. We’re also constantly asking for feedback on ongoing programs and employee satisfaction.

PHWEEK: The State Health Benefits Plan is also offering a new wellness program. What are the highlights? How can this program help our employees be well?

Koch: We are excited about the new wellness initiative through SHBP Healthways! Similar to the previous wellness initiatives from Cigna and United Healthcare, employees are rewarded for completing wellness actions. The new wellness program, at, gives members and their spouses, up to $480 each in health reimbursement account (HRA) dollars. That's a total of $920 for eligible members and their spouses in 2014. There are four simple steps to complete:

1)    Log on to and sign up. You can then complete an online assessment.

2)    Complete a biometric screening from your doctor or on the second floor of 2 Peachtree on March 19 or April 29 from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. On Jan. 27, you can start signing up for a screening appointment at 2 Peachtree on the Be Well SHBP website.

3)    Set up a well-being plan online.

4)    Take action and participate in telephonic coaching sessions or online requirements such as recording well-being activities for four consecutive weeks.

The money is available for use the following month after it is earned, so no long waiting periods.

PHWEEK: What are you most excited about for this year?

Koch: One of the most exciting things we are offering this year is a new social networking platform, cMEcompete, which we’ll use for event registrations and fitness participation tracking. We’ll use this platform for our upcoming Healthy Buddy Competition, when pairs of employees can encourage each other to be active, log their workouts and ultimately win awards for physical activity. We will also be using the website to encourage a statewide DPH challenge this May, ultimately getting all districts involved in the fun!

To take the UGA survey about worksite wellness, visit the online survey page. To learn more about Be Well SHBP, visit