Baylor offering more wellness opportunities in 2016

Last year, the wellness program at Baylor, BCM BeWell, increased its focus on employee health and wellbeing by introducing a steps-per-day challenge in which participants went on a virtual walk from Houston to Panama City – that’s 1,476,000 steps! Keep those walking shoes handy, because 2016 will feature another Getaway to Good Health challenge.

In 2015, there were 2,303 participants in the step challenge who, in aggregate, walked about 3.6 billion steps, and 759 participants completed all the tasks – including reaching the required number of steps and completing certain checkpoints on the Vitality wellness portal – and were eligible for one of two grand prizes. The winners were Lorie Gonzalez of molecular physiology and biophysics, who won a $2,000 vacation package from AAA, and Letisha Aideyan of molecular virology and microbiology, who won a voucher for a spa vacation in Austin.

“We were pleased with the participation last year, and we hope to exceed that in 2016,” said Jesse Gavin, wellness program coordinator. “Walking is a great way to get healthier. It’s something most people can do, and requires little cost or special equipment.”

Read what Baylor expert Dr. John Foreyt has to say about walking and other ways to improve health.

More information about the 2016 step challenge from Panama City to New York City as well as other wellness activities and programs will be coming in Newslink, by email, on the Intranet and in other internal communications.

In addition, BCM BeWell will again be offering biometric screening later this year and other programs, including an official BCM team in the MS 150 bike ride from Houston to Austin. Last year, the team had 26 riders and Gavin hopes to recruit more than 70 riders this year. One thing you can count on is a cool team jersey – Baylor’s 2015 jersey won the People’s Choice Jersey Contest. Join the team by registering online!

While these and other BCM BeWell activities are aimed at improving health, they also qualify participants to earn BCM BeWell Vitality points, redeemable for fitness devices, Amazon gift cards and more through the wellness portal. The portal has a new look for 2016 but still includes a dashboard that keeps track of points and bucks earned and offers plenty of educational resources.

The BCM BeWell program has made a big difference in some employees’ lives. Read here about how CNRC employees achieved their steps-per-day goals by keeping each other motivated. Additional success stories can be found on the BCM Intranet.

“Our goal with the launch of BCM BeWell was to develop a dominant culture of wellness at Baylor,” said Robin Vickers, director of benefits – health, welfare and compliance.. “We’ve adopted an ‘it takes a village’ approach by enlisting wellness champs throughout campus, using our Baylor doctors as great resources and delivering information through many venues, including in-person seminars, video, the wellness portal and more.”

The BCM BeWell wellness program was officially launched in 2014, and already has earned several accolades, including being recognized as a 2015 Houston’s Healthiest Employer for organizations with 5,000 or more employees by the Houston Business Journal, and a Healthiest 100 Workplace Award (ranking No. 29). The program also received the 2015 American Heart Association Fit Friendly Workplace – Gold Award.