Roslyn Jefferson, LCSW-R, is a Licensed Clinical Social Work in Albany, New York, and the Employee Assistance and Wellness Program Coordinator at Albany Medical Center. Albany Med is a Level one trauma facility, with approximately 691 beds founded in 1849, that provides cutting edge medicine and surgical procedures regionally, to upstate New York, and surrounding states.
Since beginning her employ at Albany Medical Center in 2008 she has been a leader in bringing wellness to this workplace. First through a small and dedicated group of employees who, without any budget allocations implemented “Lunch and Learn” lectures on various health and holistic health topics. Then in 2011, an executive and manager level Wellness Steering Committee was developed, with Roslyn as the facilitator. For the past three years they have worked diligently to create a Strategic Plan, institute quarterly wellness challenges, and brand all the pre-existing and new wellness activities, for advertising, within their organization. Additionally, with a lot of experience as a psychotherapist, she values emotional wellness as a vital part of total wellness.
Roslyn graduated from Syracuse University with Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She obtained her M.S.S.W. from Columbia University, which has been the defining degree of her long career.
She served as Secretary and then President of the local Employee Assistance Professionals Association from 2004 - 2007. Roslyn completed her Certified Yoga Instructor training in 1984. She is the Personnel Committee Chair on the NY Council of Problem Gambling Board, and been an active member since 2007. She completed a Mediation Training from Mediation Matters in 2009. Roslyn received a Community Action Award from the Albany Common Council in 2014.
Albany Medical Center created a wellness Steering Committee, which is comprised of Vice Presidents and Executives. This has added depth and vision to the pre-existing Wellness Committee, which now implements the strategies driven by the Steering Committee. This has been an effective strategy. The Steering Committee has created a vision which includes gathering metrics through the creation of a wellness database, a Tobacco Cessation incentive plan, implementing quarterly wellness challenges to engage staff across shifts and multi-site locations, a branding initiative to increase visibility of our Wellness programs,
Our CEO, born from his own passion for wellness and fitness, and the desire to share this with Albany Med’s employees, had a state-of-the-art Fitness Center constructed on campus, staffed with highly qualified professionals, who aid members in setting, and working up to, individualized fitness plans and goals.
Under the initiative from the Steering Committee, Albany Med has started a Tobacco Cessation incentive plan, in which employees 5290 are participating and receiving a monthly $50.00 insurance premium differential as declared non-smokers. We have Tobacco Cessation services, as well, to assist employees to achieve a tobacco-free lifestyle.
In the last 2 years we held annual Employee Wellness Fairs. Of those who attend 85% have stated that they rated it highly and plan to change a health behavior as a result of the knowledge they obtained by attending. Our specialty medical practices have engaging, educational vendor displays, and we take over 400 blood pressure readings for employees. We provide Healing Touch and Massage chairs, to help reduce stress.
One of our most successful programs has been “No Gain, Maintain!,” a workplace weight management challenge over the holidays. It encourages participants to pledge to not gain over 3 lbs. during the holiday season. On an average, people gain 8-9 lbs. Successfully completing this can help people lower blood pressure, reduce their blood sugar, exercise more and avoid heart attacks. Of the participants, 90% stated that reducing caloric intake will help them achieve a better health outcome, that they value taking care of their health, receiving wellness activities and education from their job is important to maintaining a positive health outcome, will help them perform better in their jobs, and that this is encouraging to them to take small daily steps to maintain and improve their health status. We implemented this event because our Wellness Committee can go to each satellite office and weigh people in before Thanksgiving, and then weigh them back in during early January. Additionally we keep in touch with the participating employees by sending them weekly healthy holiday recipes. These actions help to create a supportive community that is committed to their health. They receive a pre-test and a post-test on their health attitudes, to help us collect data and learn more about what wellness assistance our employees want. We have a wonderful and visually captivating, digital mounted display that lists the caloric content of our cafeteria menu, to enable staff to create and choose healthy meal choices for themselves.
Roslyn leads the way in the Human Resources department by tackling positive morale head on! She sends out positive quotes and provides supportive listening and coaching to her co-workers when everyone is stressed out.
Roslyn brings the newly designed eye-catching Wellness posters to departments, on campus and off, to be displayed to publicize Albany Med’s many wellness opportunities. She coordinates, and regularly leads, a weekly guided meditation class.
She is an active member on the Health and Safety Committee, the Workplace Violence Committee, and the Work Force Development Committee. Roslyn always looks for opportunities to enrich her co-worker’s lives and contribute to a positive workplace culture.
She has designed and taught several workshops to enhance workplace morale and communication and is in high-demand!
She coordinates exercise classes that teach staff Yoga, Zumba, Tai chi and Pilates, and takes a few of these herself! She walks at lunchtime, belongs to the gym, and shares her love of hobbies for stress relief.
Roslyn has recently joined WELCOA and desires to become a Faculty member, to enrich her knowledge of workplace wellness, with the intention of creating and expanding the wellness activities and knowledge at Albany Med. With the spread of social media, and millennials entering the workforce, the future of wellness can change dramatically. Everyone can track their own activity and choose their health path, from an array of options, at work and at home. Roslyn wants to create an atmosphere where wellness is naturally part of the workplace, in which wellness guidance is easy to access by smartphone or computers, and there is encouragement and organizational support to do so! Where wellness challenges unite co-workers, there are healthy competitions, and incentives to pursue increased health and vitality. Everyone becomes responsible for their health status, and wants to seek healthy behaviors at work and home. And that holistic wellness encompasses good emotional coping mechanisms, having a friend and family support system, make sound financial decisions and pursue a grounded, vital life with purpose.
The next endeavor she wants to tackle is how to provide wellness services and interventions for nurses and nurses’ aides that never leave their floors to eat lunch or take walks. She wants to design, in collaboration with medical co-workers, an exercise flyer that will help them strengthen their core abdominal muscles and backs, to reduce workplace injuries and strains. She would like to seek “wellness champion” volunteers from different hospital floors and have them trained in simple, stretching exercises, that can take 5 minutes, and then those volunteers would go back to their floors and engage and train their co-workers. Gradually, every floor and off-site medical office, could become trained and organize 5 minute stretch-breaks, thereby “spreading wellness” through-out this 8000+ employee organization.