ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals



In 2010, a decision was made by Summit Medical Group to create a wellness program for their employees. As the largest primary care organization in East Tennessee, we were taking great care of our patients but it was time to do the same for our 1300 + employees. A name was selected from employee submissions, Summit L.I.F.E. L.I.F.E. is an acronym for Lifestyle Improvement for Employees.
I was selected as the Worksite Wellness Program Coordinator and as Coordinator my ultimate goal is to help build Summit Medical Group into one of the healthiest organizations in East Tennessee.


Having an interest in health, I started my healthcare career by completing courses required to obtain an Associate’s degree in Health Information Management. After working in healthcare claims for a few years, I found that my interests were more centered on a healthy lifestyle, something I feel I inherited from my maternal grandmother and my mother.

After researching training programs for Wellness Program Coordinators, I chose to become a member of WELCOA and enrolled in their Well Workplace University.  I have achieved certifications in the Beginner and Advanced Levels of Building a Results-Oriented Workplace Wellness Program using WELCOA’s Seven Benchmarks: Eat Right for Life, Walking 4 Wellness and Empowering Your Employees To Take Charge of Their Health and Manage Their Own Healthcare. Last month, I became a Certified WELCOA Faculty member.

In May of this year, our organization was awarded the American Heart Association's Gold Level Fit Friendly Worksite Wellness Award.

I have also completed the Well Workplace Awards checklist, which has helped assess our program and has provided vital information to make sure our program is going in the right direction to be successful.



Our top risk categories are body fat, weight, and exercise activity. In an effort to help our employees in these areas, a healthy vending and catering policy was implemented for our corporate office where an average of 150 + meetings are held each year with representation from all of our 56 sites. This policy consists of caterers providing healthy meals and displaying the nutritional content with no desserts or sweet tea allowed. Our staff has adjusted to eating healthier food and look forward to it.

Healthy Vending has also been offered in our break room.

Requirements for enrollment in Summit L.I.F.E. for 2015 will consist of 90 minutes of physical activity per week or participation in 2 challenges per quarter.

Health Risk Assessment scores have improved from 64.7 in 2010 to 71.3 in


A Tobacco Cessation and Nicotine free policy was also implemented with health coaching offered as an alternative standard. Our percentage of nontobacco users has increased from 88% in 2010 to 92% in 2013.

Our Health Risk Assessment scores have gone from 64.7 in 2010 to 71.3 in 2013.

Each month we feature one of our employee’s success stories about their healthy lifestyle. These stories have consisted of our CEO sharing his story about his workout schedule and healthy eating.  Other stories have consisted of our COO who participates in triathlons, our Compliance Manager who participates in bike races, employees who have lost weight, quit smoking, , and some who are hikers.

Summit L.I.F.E. also has a cohesive wellness team consisting of 19 Summit L.I.F.E. enrollees called the “Bod Squad”.  This team meets on a monthly basis to discuss and plan our quarterly activities and challenges.

Some of the departments represented are: the HR Dept., IT Dept., the Executive team, our sites, our health coach and an AR manager.


‘Walking the Talk’ comes natural for me because I feel that I inherited the desire to eat healthy and include physical activity in my daily schedule. I frequently walk on my lunchtime at work often walking with an employee who wants to start exercising.  I enjoy helping someone starting to make healthy eating choices or exercising…encouraging them and believing that they can do what they set their mind to do. I also set an example by eating healthy lunches and snacks…. avoiding the unhealthy foods that are sometimes shared.


I have worked with our Decision Support Team to create a database of all Summit L.I.F.E. data starting in 2010. This has proved to be very beneficial in reporting enrollment, biometric data, lab results and participation in our quarterly challenges over the last 4 years.


I think the biggest challenge that the industry faces over the next five years is eliminating the inactivity and obesity within our organizations.

We all have very busy lives but seldom take time for ourselves.

It is very important that we create ways in our wellness programs to help our employees in these areas. Inactivity and unhealthy eating not only affects our employees but their spouses and children which impacts our healthcare claims.

Starting January 1, 2015, Summit L.I.FE. Enrollees will be required to provide an online or paper log of 90 minutes of physical activity attestation per week or complete 2 challenges per quarter in order to further improve outcomes. This is in addition to completing the HRA, biometrics and lab draw to receive the current $75 per month premium discount on their health insurance.  Minimum healthy lifestyle targets in four separate categories: Healthy (LDL of <160, Healthy BP level of <140/90, Healthy Weight with BMI less than 30 (but not less than 18.5) or waist circumference of 35 for a woman and 40 for a man (or less), and Healthy A1C level of less than 5.7will be communicated to employees through education, but not a requirement for 2015.

In 2016, participants will be required to meet all of these targets to qualify for the premium discount. The alternative standard for participants unable to meet these targets will be quarterly face to face health coaching with our Summit L.I.F.E. health coac

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