UC Berkeley Awarded American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index Award
UC Berkeley is no stranger to receiving awards for workplace wellness and this year is no exception. Since 2009, the Be Well at Work Faculty/Staff Health Programs have been nationally recognized for outstanding achievements in the workplace and in 2020 received the Gold level American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index Award - the highest recognition for creating a culture of health and investing in the health of their staff and faculty.
“The staff of UC Berkeley are like the engine that keeps us going, and they are crucial to the success of our educational, research, and public mission. Like our students, I want to see our employees not merely survive, but thrive. Prioritizing your health can benefit your emotional and physical well-being, as well as the health and operations of the campus overall.”
Chancellor Carol Christ
The American Heart Association’s Health Achievement Index is a web-based scorecard that looks at organizational best practices and aggregates employee health data to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of workplace health programs. UC Berkeley is one of 271 organizations and four UC campuses to be recognized at the Gold level for their commitment to creating a work environment built on science-based policies and programs.
This recognition demonstrates Be Well at Work’s commitment to prioritize the health of our campus community and through organizational policy, environmental initiatives and leadership such as: the Food and Beverages Choices Policy, the Healthy Department Certification and UHS’ Strategic Plan Pillar: Bold Health Leadership.
“The programs within Be Well at Work have always taken a comprehensive approach to provide services from prevention to intervention for both the individual and the organization, in an effort to best support the physical, mental, and occupational health and wellbeing of our faculty and staff.”
Craig Mielcarski, Director of Be Well at Work Program
In 2021, Be Well at Work will remain focused and dedicated to serving as a leader and an integral campus partner, helping to create and institutionalize a culture of health and well-being.
2015 - Platinum Fit-Friendly Award & Worksite Innovation Award from the American Heart Association
On Wednesday, April 6, 2016, UC Berkeley was recognized for two prestigious American Heart Association (AHA) awards: the 2015 Platinum Fit-Friendly recognition for worksite wellness and 2015 Worksite Innovation Award for the Water Bottle Refill Stations and I Heart Tap Water campaign. The platinum level recognition is the highest level awarded by the AHA, and Berkeley is one of three UC’s to receive the Platinum recognition. Associate Vice Chancellor Rosemarie Rae accepted the award at a Tang Center celebration.
“I want to thank all of you,” Rae said to the crowd from University Health Services, Recreational Sports, Human Resources, Environment, Health & Safety and various campus departments. “Berkeley is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association. The health and wellness of our faculty and staff are important priorities at Berkeley.”
“We are thrilled to have moved up from the 2014 Gold level to this year’s Platinum level,” said Trish Ratto, Manager of Be Well at Work Wellness Program (formerly known as Health*Matters). The Wellness Program strives to provide tools and skills to help faculty and staff lead healthy lifestyles with Know Your Numbers Health Screening and healthy lifestyle programs. The Wellness Program also prioritizes building a healthy culture with the Wellness Ambassador Program, Eat Well Berkeley, I Heart Tap Water and Berkeley Walks.
To achieve Platinum, the workplace must have a tobacco-free policy (Berkeley became a tobacco-free campus in 2014) and demonstrate measurable outcomes related to workplace wellness. “The measurable outcome this year was fulfilling the program participation requirement, which requires a minimum of 50% participation with a 10% increase from the previous year,” said Ratto.
“It is not easy to achieve these awards,” said Lisa Bellini, Community Health Director with AHA. Berkeley demonstrated an 11% increase in employee program participation. “You can have the best program offerings but if the participation is low then the benefits are minimal. The programs at Berkeley are definitely popular and being well utilized.”
There are specific criteria in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and wellness culture. While the culture category required meeting only one of seven criteria, Berkeley met six criteria. “I am particularly proud of the campus accomplishments addressing a healthier culture,” said Ratto. “The higher participation could not have been accomplished without the Wellness Ambassadors, our conduit to garnering engagement.” Wellness Ambassadors are staff or faculty in departments that volunteer to serve in a communication role. Additional culture criteria requirements included the AED Program, emergency management, and incentives for alternative transportation.
Berkeley was among an elite group of employers to also be recognized with the AHA Worksite Innovation Award for the Water Bottle Refill Stations initiative and I Heart Tap Water campaign. “Several campus partners collaborated on a comprehensive public health initiative to establish a community social norm for drinking tap water and making tap water accessible,” explained Ratto.
The campus now has Building Design Guidelines for Water Bottle Refill Stations for existing and new buildings, and more than 40 Water Bottle Refill Stations in high traffic locations on campus. The I Heart Tap Water Campaign included education on tap water as the preferred beverage of choice to reduce sugar sweetened beverages and promotion of using a refillable water container.
Ratto wrapped up the event by concluding, “we are always evaluating ourselves against standards such as the AHA Award Program and this recognition serves as validation that we are successfully implementing evidence-based, best practices in our field of worksite wellness.”
2014 - Gold Fit Friendly Award from the American Heart Association
Be Well at Work Wellness Program Planning Committee with the American Heart Association's 2014 Gold Fit Friendly Worksite Wellness Award
- Standing: Greg Ryan, Anita Liboff, Kim Guess, Laurie Yamamoto, Cori Evans, Trish Ratto, Tim Bean
- Sitting: Janet Suko, Lindy West, Tiffany Lui, Erika Schwilk
- Missing from photo: Devin Wicks, Sue Johannessen
University of California Berkeley was recognized as a Gold Level Recipient of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Fit-Friendly Worksite Award, for meeting criteria for employee wellness. The Fit-Friendly program recognizes employers that champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of wellness in the workplace. We believe there is no better benefit to offer faculty and staff than supporting them to lead healthier, longer lives. Berkeley offers a wealth of programs and services for faculty and staff in support of a healthy work environment in the key areas of nutrition and healthy foods, physical activity, smoking cessation and a culture of health.
The University’s commitment to Be Well at Work's Wellness Program, founded 25 years ago and still grounded in a collaborative partnership model, is a key requirement to be recognized by the AHA. The Be Well at Work Wellness Program initiatives such as Eat Well Berkeley and Wellness Ambassadors in over 80 campus departments, are examples of promoting a culture of health in campus departments. Programs and initiatives managed by campus partners that also contribute to a healthy workplace culture include:
Recreational Sports – WorkFit and WorkFitU programs, discounted membership rates for faculty and staff, and shower-only memberships supporting those biking and walking to work are just a few example of how Rec Sports supports faculty/staff wellness.
The AED program managed by Occupational Health and EH&S
Parking & Transportation’s alternative transportation program
Office of Emergency Management’s preparedness strategic plan
This award is a credit to the campus partnerships and programs that create a healthier work environment for Berkeley faculty and staff.
2010 Gold California Fit Business Award
Accepting the 2010 Fit Business Gold Award Devin Wicks, Director of Fitness Operations, Recreational Sports Lindy West, Worksite Wellness Specialist, Be Well at Work Wellness Program Trish Ratto, Manager of Be Well at Work Wellness Program.
UC Berkeley has received a 2010 California Fit Business Gold Award, given by the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness, in recognition of the University’s commitment to employee health and a healthier workplace. Be Well at Work Wellness Program, Berkeley's worksite wellness program, accepted the award on behalf of the University for programs and services in four key areas: eating better, moving more, promoting healthy lifestyles and creating a healthy culture.
"We are extremely honored to receive a gold award," says Trish Ratto, manager of Be Well at Work Wellness Program. “After previously receiving silver and bronze awards, the gold award acknowledges the hard work and dedication of all involved in developing health and wellness programs.” Be Well at Work Wellness Program is coordinated by University Health Services and works collaboratively with Environment Health and Safety, Human Resources, the Physical Education Program, Recreational Sports and the rest of the programs from Be Well at Work. With the support of these partners, campus leadership, and UCOP’s Be Smart About Safety initiative, recent worksite wellness initiatives on the Berkeley campus have focused on providing health risk reduction programs to underserved work groups, creating a healthy workplace culture, and serving all faculty and staff with health assessments and screenings, education and skill building workshops, behavior change programs and onsite fitness programs.
Behind the Scenes
The Be Well at Work Wellness Program and Recreational Sports have been working with the employees of the Residential and Student Services Program (RSSP) with goals of improving the health of the employees and reducing work-related injuries. Programs have included the Know Your Numbers health screening, WorkFit onsite fitness and conditioning program, nutrition and health education workshops, and behavior change programs such as Fall for Healthy Choices. “We are now finding improvements in health risks such as weight, blood pressure, and blood lipids, leading to overall improved health of the employees,” Ratto says. “This has been very beneficial for the employees in RSSP, as well as rewarding for the staff from Be Well at Work Wellness Program and Recreational Sports. We are looking forward to expanding our efforts with the staff in Physical Plant-Campus Services (PP-CS).”
Berkeley’s Fit Business Award application also included new initiatives such as Eat Well Berkeley to improve access to healthier food and beverages at meetings,catered events, local restaurants, and campus vending. The application acknowledges the comprehensiveness of campus wellness services including the fitness programs and recreational facilities offered by Recreational Sports, and the range of UHS Faculty/Staff Health Programs such as CARE Services employee assistance, the Breastfeeding Support Program and flu shots.
Accepting the Award
Recognizing the value of a fit and healthy workplace to organizations and workers alike, the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness honored more than 80 employers at ceremony held at the Disneyland Hotel on November 4. Each award winner received a plaque and a State of California Senate certificate of recognition from Assembly Member Ed Hernandez (see photo at right). Accepting the award on behalf of UCB were Trish Ratto, Manager of Be Well at Work Wellness Program; Lindy West, Worksite Wellness Specialist with Be Well at Work Wellness Program; and Devin Wicks, Director of Fitness Operations, Recreational Sports.
About the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness
The California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness is a public and private collaboration of educators, healthcare advocates, health providers and legislators, who create programs and promote policies that improve health and fitness while lowering rates of obesity and diabetes in schools and workplaces.
2009 Silver California Fit Business Award
UC Berkeley's Be Well at Work Wellness Program, has received a 2009 California Fit Business Award, given by the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness, for promoting employee health and a healthier workplace at UC Berkeley. The University was acknowledged with a Silver level award for programs and services in four key areas: eating better, moving more, promoting healthy lifestyles and creating a healthy culture.
"It is an honor to receive this award on behalf of the University," said Trish Ratto, manager of the Be Well at Work Wellness Program. "This is particularly special as 2009 is our 20th anniversary as Berkeley's wellness program for faculty and staff." Be Well at Work Wellness Program is coordinated by University Health Services and works collaboratively with Environment Health and Safety, Human Resources, the Physical Education Program, Recreational Sports and the rest of the programs from Be Well at Work.
The Be Well at Work Wellness Program strives to provide faculty and staff with skills for leading a healthy lifestyle and to foster a healthy workplace culture. Tapping into faculty expertise and partnering with multiple campus services, the Be Well at Work Wellness Program has recently launched the Eat Well Berkeley initiative leading to the UC Berkeley Guide to Healthy Meetings and Events, healthier vending snack choices and nutrition guidelines for catering vendors. Several other UC campuses are beginning to implement their own healthy meeting guidelines, using Berkeley's resources as a model.
Recognizing the value of a fit and healthy workplace to organizations and workers alike, the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness honored over 70 employers with the 2009 Fit Business Awards. Each award winner was presented with a trophy and certificate of recognition by State Senator Alex Padilla at a ceremony held in Sacramento. '
The California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness was launched by the state Legislature in 2002 to address the critical issues related to physical fitness and nutritional health in California’s schools and workplaces. The Fit Business Awards are a coordinated effort between the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness and the California Department of Health Services. The annual awards program was first launched in 2003, seeking to recognize private, public, and nonprofit business models across California that promote a healthier workplace.