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Upstate employees take advantage of the beautiful fall weather to participate in the Pathways to Wellness program's Monday Mile lunchtime walk.

Upstate Medical University recognized by American Heart Association for workplace health achievement

Upstate Medical University has achieved Bronze Level recognition by the American Heart Association for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace.  This recognition, based on the results of association’s 2019 Workplace Health Achievement Index, were announced today.

“We appreciate this recognition from the American Heart Association of our university commitment and action to support workplace wellness,” said Jarrod Bagatell, MD, medical director of Upstate Employee and Student. “Creating a culture of health in the workplace is a direct reflection of our university’s mission to improve the health of the communities we serve.”

Under the direction of Wellness Coordinator Suzanne Brisk, Upstate offers a range of health and wellness programming, such as Wellness Walkers, Monday Mile, Healthy Salad Bowl Luncheon, Take the Stairs, Monthly Wellness Challenges, Diabetes Education Series, Weight Management Series as well as a website full of self-care tips. A major wellness offering is Upstate’s smoking cessation program for employees, students and volunteers. The free programming includes smoking cessation classes and nicotine replacement products. In 2005, Upstate became the first SUNY campus to become smoke-free, banning all smoking and tobacco use. Since the ban was put in place and Upsate began offering smoking cessation products and classes, the rate of smoking among Upstate employees has declined.

Upstate’s health and wellness programming has been honored before. Past accolades include the American Heart Association’s Gold-Fit Friendly Award, Central New York Business Journal’s Workplace Wellness Award, Cancer CEO Gold Standard Award from the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and the Elite Corporate Health Champion from the American Diabetes Association. 

The American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Workplace Index was with its CEO Roundtable, a leadership collaborative of more than 40 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health. The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs.  Studies show that worksites with a culture of health with comprehensive, evidence-based policies and programs, and senior leadership support are more likely to have engaged employees and a healthier, more productive workforce.  A unique feature of the Index

is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data. Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition.


Caption: Upstate employees participate in Upstate's Monday Mile walk, which is part of Upstate's health and wellness programming.