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8/7/2018 - Jackson, Miss.

The Institutions of Higher Learning was recognized recently as one of the state's healthiest workplaces for its efforts to provide information and programs to help its employees and their families lead healthier lives, while also creating a healthy environment in which to work.

The 2018 Mississippi's Healthiest Workplace Awards recognize the top employers across the state who show excellence in providing health and wellness programs and healthy workplace environments for its employees. IHL received the third-place award in the public category.

A collaboration of the Mississippi Business Journal, the Mississippi Business Group on Health, and the Mississippi State Department of Health, the awards recognize employers who practice evidence-based comprehensive health management programs. These employers use best practices to improve health outcomes and improve the quality of life for their staff members.

In 2011, the Institutions of Higher Learning established a Worksite Wellness Committee (WWC), comprised of employee volunteers, that leads the wellness activities, guided by an annual strategic plan developed by the committee. The WWC is comprised of eight members who represent various universities, organizations, and agencies housed within the Education Research Center Complex.

The strategic plan focuses on goals, objectives, and strategies to provide a safe and healthy environment to promote lifelong wellness of employees. Some of the activities include maintaining a Worksite Wellness webpage, hosting lunch and learn sessions, holding monthly blood pressure screenings, and holding an annual health fair for employees.

Another strategic partnership was developed with the Mississippi Community College Foundation and the Mississippi Community College Board regarding their “Community Challenge for Change” (C3) initiative. This initiative, which was funded through a grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, was established to promote health education to participants and engage employees in a variety of physical activities. As part of the initiative, the C3 Wellness Center was established to allow more than 500 employees located within the Education Research Center Complex access to a fitness facility to improve overall health.

Director of Nursing Programs Janette McCrory, Co-Chair of the Worksite Wellness Committee, accepted the plaque on behalf of IHL at the awards luncheon held recently in Jackson.

Worksite Wellness Committee members (front row, l-r) Janette McCrory, Co-Chair; Bridget Breithaupt, Chair; Clotee Lewis (back row, l-r) Gloria Miller, Christina Rushing, Holly Johnson and Sharon Scott; plan health and wellness activities throughout the year, earning the agency third place in the public category of the 2018 Mississippi's Healthiest Workplace Awards.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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