While most would expect healthcare industry employees to be the “examples” of living healthy, the fact is that the healthcare work environment is one of the most challenging in which to make lasting lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, due to the long hours and high-stress atmosphere, most of the individuals working in the hospital and healthcare industry do the opposite of leading by example. That is where Western Reserve Hospital stands out as different due to its dedicated commitment to wellness. And this commitment is embodied by the hospital’s Wellness Coordinator, Johanna Tanno. Johanna started in the health and wellness field in 1998 and brought her passion to Western Reserve in 2012. She not only initiated the wellness program for the 900+ employee organization, she takes her passion on the road and is involved with community wellness and awareness. Johanna’s commitment and dedication to the hospital and community make her a prime candidate for Top 100 professional status.
After many years in the fitness industry, Johanna received her physical therapist assistant degree in 2002. She managed an outpatient facility with the top orthopeadic surgeons. Johanna found that her passion was to treat the “whole” person and not just the injury. She wanted out of the disease care world and back into healthcare. So she furthered her education with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) where she received her health coach certificate and board certification with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Johanna also received her certification in wellness coaching. Johanna feels her certificate from IIN has given her a solid foundation to build on as she continue to explore the wellness industry and education.
After a very extensive health risk assessment and biometric screening process, which 72% of hospital employees participated in, she noticed a major concern was obesity. In fact, 35% of the employees screened obese on the BMI scale. Knowing obesity leads to dramatic increases in the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer Johanna decided to focus on weight reduction, lifestyle changes, and food choices. Keeping in mind the challenging population she decided to start slow with education opportunities for life style change that addressed heart disease, cholesterol, healthy eating, reading food labels, and diabetes. She also added free on-site exercise programs that included yoga, Zumba, and strengthening classes. With time class participation started to grow and changes were being made. Employees were getting excited about what was coming next, a chance to win $10,000! Johanna partnered with HealthyWage to bring a weight loss competition to Western Reserve. After much planning and strategizing, 75 employees stepped up to the challenge to be the number one team to lose the most weight. Across 13 different companies, more than 380 teams participated in the national competition. Western Reserve Hospital came in second, with employees shedding a collective 828 pounds. One 5 person team shed 167 pounds, finishing first at the hospital and 16th out of all the competing teams in the nation. This competition proved to be the turning point. We found more people thinking about living a healthier lifestyle. More employees were asking for healthier items served in the cafeteria. In answer to these requests, Johanna rolled out the Doctor’s Order program in Western Reserve’s cafeteria. The Doctor’s Order combines the hospital’s commitment to healthy eating and heart health with each delicious, nutritious menu entrees. She added more gluten free and whole food offerings as well as healthy grab-and-go items such as the protein pack, which combines a serving of meat, cheese and almonds at a great low price.
Being a physician owned hospital the leadership support is phenomenal! Our CEO and President, Dr. Kent, is not only supportive of the wellness initiatives but leads the decision making and champions the efforts. Through our extensive health risk assessment and biometric screening we are able to gather data to mold the wellness programming to best fit the needs of our employees. Working with a diverse group of people, who work a variety of schedules, a main focus of the program is to reach everyone. Wellness initiatives are planned around these factors so all have the opportunity to participate and support. Western Reserve’s culture has evolved to focus on health and wellbeing of our patients, our employees, and the community.
Many people have what we call “pet-peeves,” I am no different. One of my strongest aversions is a double standard. Therefore, I feel very strongly about leading by example. Some people might say I have an addiction to fitness and healthy eating. I say its dedication. Since my work schedule is very busy, I am up at 4:30am hitting the road running or the gym to get my 2 hour cardio and weight training workout in. If you walk in my office at 7:30am you will find me eating, or should I say drinking, my healthy breakfast, a green smoothie. Throughout the day you will find me participating in the wellness initiatives, coaching the employees of Western Reserve, or out reaching to the community to make healthy lifestyle changes. My advice to others practitioners would be that leadership is not only about making others better as a result of your presence, but making sure your impact lasts after your departure.
For most Americans, eating out with family or friends is one of the hardest times to eat healthy. I wanted to find a way to reach out to the community and change this. So I created the “Doctor’s Order.” Western Reserve Hospital has partnered with restaurants in the area to launch “Doctor’s Order,” a community health initiative that combines the hospital’s commitment to healthy eating and heart health with each restaurant’s most delicious, nutritious menu entrees. This partnership results in delicious, unforgettable meals at your favorite restaurants that you can feel great about choosing. There is no greater feeling then when employees, patients, and colleagues walk in my office and tell me they just had the “Doctor’s Order.” I know I’m making a difference one person at a time.
As technology continues to expound and social media leaps ahead, the biggest threats to health promotions will be to wade through all the lies, tall tales, and theories to find the truth. Consumers will always want the quick fix, the easy way; the challenge will be to show that nothing of great success comes easily. This is where all health professionals need to stand up as one, with one goal, one mission, and one vision; to get out of disease care and step back into healthcare! The truth needs to prevail!