Becky Sullivan, M.A is the Manager of the Wellness Department at Mary Lanning HealthCare in Hastings, Nebraska. Becky has been promoting wellness for almost 20 years, starting out at the YMCA and now, for 12 years, promoting employee and community wellness from the platform of a health care facility. Mary Lanning HealthCare is a medical center of approximately 1,000 employees and through her involvement within the community and local businesses, Becky’s impact can be felt throughout the city of Hastings. Becky’s strategic thinking and innovative programing should propel her to be one of the Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals in the country.
Becky and The Wellness Department created this video to market the Healthy Me program when it first launched company wide. The video was shown at staff meetings to bring humor while promoting the program.
Becky holds a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion. She has been recognized at the local and state level for her employee wellness program “Healthy Me.” Becky received the Governor’s Award of Excellence in Wellness: Grower Level in 2013. The Hastings Chamber of Commerce also recognized Healthy Me as a “5 Star WellE Award” winner. Becky was given the Wellworkplace Nebraska’s Spirit of Wellness Award in 2011. Awards are not what drive Becky; it is her desire to promote wellbeing. Her Master’s program gave her the tools and her passion for the field is what has made her so successful.
Healthy Me is the employee wellness program that Becky implemented at Mary Lanning HealthCare in 2011. The goal of Healthy Me is to improve the wellbeing status of employees and drive a culture of engagement. Employees and spouses receive a discount on health insurance premiums for participating in a Health Risk Assessment (HRA), biometric screening and also a coaching visit with a member of the Wellness Department. The coaching visit focuses on challenging employees to set one goal for themselves in each of the five areas of Wellbeing (Rath & Harter, 2010). If employees participate in Healthy Me, they are also eligible to earn points through the Cash C.O.W (Choices of Wellbeing) program. Choosing from a list of 18 wellness options/activities, employees can earn points to receive $250 at the end of the year.
By pushing the emphasis beyond biometric data, and more towards overall wellbeing and engagement, Mary Lanning’s employees have shown positive changes in many areas. Participation in the Healthy Me program has grown from 637 employees in 2011 to 745 employees and 286 spouses in 2014. In 2013 Gallup looked at scores from Mary Lanning’s employee engagement survey and compared numbers from employees who participated in Healthy Me and those who did not. Across the board, employees who participated in Healthy Me had higher engagement scores across all areas with the most notable difference falling in the area of “mission.” Additionally, over the last 4 years, the percentage of employees who exercise 3-7 days rose from 35% in 2011 to 55% in 2014. Consumption of 2 or more servings of fruits and vegetables also rose from 48% in 2011 to 63% in 2014. Employees with cholesterol readings in the “healthy” range were up from 56% in 2011 to 64% in 2014. The changes in biometric data and lifestyle are believed to be a result of employees learning better habits from the program, working one-on-one with a wellness coach and also a cultural shift in the organization toward health and wellness.
Becky has applied the 7 Benchmarks throughout the development and implementation of Healthy Me. Mary Lanning’s CEO, Eric Barber, is a great supporter of wellness and actively participates in programs the Wellness Department promotes. Becky has built a cohesive wellness team consisting of a registered nurse, a dietitian and a mental health professional. HRA data for Healthy Me is currently collected by Wellsteps and then provided to Becky in aggregate form. In addition to the biometric and HRA data, employees are surveyed annually to understand the needs of the population. When data is collected from the previous year, a budget is formed and an operating plan for the year ahead is crafted. Becky’s Wellness Department has been advancing interventions for employees each year and care is made to carefully evaluate outcomes to address the specific concerns of the employee population.
Becky is a leader through several avenues, which demonstrates how she “walks the talk” about wellness. She is physically active even though she suffers with muscle pain daily. Tired of teachers using candy to reward kids for academic success, Becky started a Glow Run to raise money for teachers to buy other incentives. She developed The Wellforce Committee which is a group of community leaders through the Chamber who are committed to promoting wellness in Hastings. She also sits on Wellness Committees for several area businesses including, Hastings Utilities, Five Points Bank, The City of Hastings and Adams County. Networking with other professionals and using resources from WELCOA has allowed Becky to be seen as a wellness leader in Hastings. To other wellness practitioners she stresses the importance of clear communication, strategic thinking and having the willingness to work with others who might initially have different views on wellness.
Becky’s main innovation has been the idea to incorporate wellbeing into the worksite wellness paradigm. By challenging employees to write one goal for themselves in each of the five areas of wellbeing and then developing programs throughout the year that help employees improve on these areas, has been a tremendous, strategic success for Becky. This year, Becky and the Wellness Department offered over 100 workshops on topics ranging from financial wellbeing to nutrition survival and stress management to improving sleep hygiene. By incorporating a philosophy of “it is about people, not just the numbers” Becky strives to impact lifestyles, not just bottom lines. However, in doing so, healthy bottom lines are being created and Mary Lanning has seen the impact over the past 4 years.
Health promotion has an exciting future! Becky can see many opportunities on the horizon. With the emphasis on prevention in health care reform and more businesses seeking methods to cut costs, the health promotion industry is posed to be a leader. With continued research to back the field’s validity and the commitment of those in the field, the hope is that any threats that come along can be met with resistance! Partnerships with physicians, schools and government are just a few of the areas Becky plans to reach out to within the next five years. With the Healthy Me program, future goals include adding a focus on purpose while continuing to educate employees on their health status and promote their wellbeing.
Becky is an amazing leader whose ideas and energy will continue to grow the innovation of wellness not only in our community, but hopefully nationwide!