Staff and doctors at Red Deer Primary Care Network practise what they preach when it comes to promoting healthy living.
For the second year in a row, the Red Deer network is a recipient of the Premier’s Awards for Healthy Workplaces.
The network was one of three workplaces across the province to receive the 2012 Premier’s Award of Distinction, which is the highest award. In 2011, it took home the Premier’s Award of Merit.
“Back in 2009, we set a goal to become a leading wellness organization. We said we wanted to provide a supportive environment to empower staff to choose healthy living and resources to help staff cope with challenges,” said executive director Lorna Milkovich.
Awards of distinction were presented on Friday by Premier Alison Redford, in Calgary. Alberta Blue Cross and TransAlta also received the award.
“We were thrilled,” Milkovich said.
“This is an award for the entire workplace. This is not just about setting policies. This is about living those policies, the whole workplace taking them on. It’s got to be a living thing.”
Primary care networks operate around the province to increase Albertans’ access to primary care and promote healthy living.
Red Deer Primary Care Network has 40 staff and 78 family physicians who lead multi-professional health teams to provide comprehensive care and increased services for chronic disease, mental heath, weight loss and low-risk pregnancies.
The Red Deer network has become known for its virtual trek, in which people can convert their daily exercise into virtual steps through places like Hawaii. Outdoor gyms have been established in the community to promote exercise. A Let’s Try It campaign also challenges staff, patients and residents to engage in healthy activities such as disc golf, zumba, bike rides, the national commuter challenge and other fun activities.
“Our aim is to have a healthy, active community, but obviously (the network) is part of that community.”
Milkovich said organizations don’t have to be part of the health-care system to promote healthy workplaces for employees.
“If you just look at it from a business case, we know that if you have healthier employees you have less absenteeism, and less presenteeism, where people turn up for work and don’t really work.”
Healthy workplaces make financial sense, and starting the process can be as easy as promoting the network’s virtual trek among employees, she said.
The 2012 Premier’s Awards of Merit were given to Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan, Brand Alliance, City of Grande Prairie, SAIT Polytechnic and WestJet.
Twenty-four workplaces applied for healthy workplaces awards.