Employers Connect to Create Healthy Workplaces
Finding fresh, nutritious food in the workplace can sometimes be a challenge, especially with the lure of sugary snacks or vending machine fare close by. A number of area employers are trying to change that and are working together in the Buffalo Healthy Workplace Initiative, led by the BNMC, to make their workplaces healthier.
Funded through a five-year Creating Healthy Schools & Communities (CHSC) grant from the NYS Department of Health that the BNMC is a lead partner on, the goal of the public health initiative is to reduce major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in 85 high-need school districts and associated communities statewide. As part of the grant, the Buffalo Healthy Workplace Initiative brings together diverse employers to learn from each other, develop best practices, and improve their focus on creating a healthier workplace for their employees.
Local employers including New Era Cap Company, GObike Buffalo, Walsh Duffield, the BNMC, Harmac Medical Products, Independent Health and others are working together and within their own organizations to make the healthy choice the easy choice for their employees. For many company health champions, sharing ideas and celebrating successes with others helps to keep motivation high.
There are currently 21 employers in the program with a goal of reaching 50 within three years. The BNMC’s healthy communities catalyst, Beth Machnica, leads participating companies through an initial assessment of their current health and wellness programs, helps identify areas for improvement, and facilitates connections to local community programs and resources that can help make healthy improvements in their workplace. A post-assessment is also planned to quantify results. The group meets monthly to learn from each other.