Readers weigh in with innovative employee wellness programs

Two weeks ago there was a discussion of wellness programs implemented by employers. These programs have been proven to reduce health care expenses and absenteeism while improving morale. Since publishing that column, several employers have presented some innovative ways they have approached employee health and wellness.

American Ambulance of Norwich held a fitness challenge for employees where three teams of 13 were awarded points for making healthy lifestyle choices.

“This challenge was not about weight loss but was instead designed to promote healthy habits for staff and their families,” said Janet Welch, director of human resources. Some choices included tai chi classes and family ski trips.

Bruce Bumpus is a director of Web Industries Hartford and reports that they have a program titled “Step up to the Plate.” It is designed around a baseball format extending over nine weeks/innings. Teams score runs based on their cardiovascular workouts. They have been able to attain 91% employee participation.

Carl Mailhot posted a comment on this blog. His company, Eastern Connecticut Rehabilitation Center, has partnered with employers to design wellness and fitness programs. Their programs include pre-shift stretching, wellness education and worksite-safety. They also provide a physical therapist for consultation regarding ergonomic issues.

If your company has an innovative approach to wellness, send it along to

Another update: this week Governor M. Jodi Rell signed into law a bill requiring that an automatic external defibrillator be available at all scholastic sports activities.

This law is the result of the efforts of Lawrence and Evelyn Pontbriant in memory of their son, Larry. By joining forces with the Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association, they have been able to enact legislation that will save young lives. All parents owe them a debt of gratitude for their perseverance.

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