June, 2015

Improving the Health of Our Employees and Neighbors

Jim Nathan As our community’s destination for high quality, leading-edge health care and one of the largest employers in Lee County, Lee Memorial Health System is committed to improving the health of our employees, families, friends and neighbors.

In recognition of our efforts to help our employees live healthier, more active lives, we were recognized as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association. The Platinum level is the highest level of recognition, and we are very proud to join the ranks of other organizations who find innovative ways to provide wellness opportunities for their employees.

Additionally, Lee Memorial Health System earned the American Heart Association’s Community Innovation Award for its efforts in recruiting and convening a group of community leaders and organizations—now known as Healthy Lee—to collaborate on ways to improve the health of our community. This prestigious, national award recognizes organizations’ efforts to improve community health through prevention, outreach, education, screenings and creative partnerships for intervention and care.

Under the umbrella of Healthy Lee, there are a number of best practice programs that are successfully helping the residents of Lee County. Some examples include:

  • 5210 is a prescription for healthy habits for children in schools, preschools and pediatric offices. Created in an effort to fight childhood obesity, 5210 stands for 5 fruits and veggies daily; no more than 2 hours of screen time per day; at least 1 hour of physical activity every day; and 0 sugary beverages.
  • “It’s All About You” is a best practice learning tool developed by Stanford University. This free, 6-week program empowers patients and helps improve health, well-being and self-confidence by focusing on decision-making, action planning/goal-setting and problem-solving. It’s All About You is offered through Lee Memorial Health System’s Lee Health Solutions, in partnership with local community agencies and businesses and is supported, in part, by a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The goal of the program is to build personal knowledge and capacity to manage one’s own health and avoid unnecessary doctor and emergency department visits.
  • The Horizon Council is a public-private partnership for economic development. Among other initiatives, the council focuses on workplace wellness as an important quality of life and economic development effort. The Horizon Council created the Health Care Task Force and, for the past three years, has engaged and inspired company leaders to participate in corporate challenges and share best practices. In 2014, more than 150 businesses participated in the Horizon Council Workplace Wellness Summit to learn more about implementing an effective workplace wellness program. Lee Memorial Health System plays an important role in teaching businesses how to improve their employees’ health. All conference materials are easily available at www.HealthyLee.com for continued access by the business community. The Horizon Council also created a new award—the Lee County Healthy Workplace Recognition Program—to further promote healthy lifestyles for employees throughout our county. For information on the award, contact Warren Baucom at WBaucom@LeeGov.com. Entries are due by July 17 and the winner will be announced at the next Workplace Wellness Summit scheduled for Aug. 26.
  • We Care, which is administered by The Salvation Army in partnership with the Lee County Medical Society, United Way, Family Health Centers, Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Lee Memorial Health System, enables medically needy, uninsured and unemployed people in our community get the specialty medical care they need. Physicians who participate in this program donate their services. We Care now includes more than 437 local medical specialists who provide more than $6.7 million annually in donated care, including diagnoses, treatments, surgeries and other procedures.
  • Our community’s Harry Chapin Food Bank has increased its distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables from 50,000 pounds to more than 7 million pounds of fresh produce. Their mobile feeding program now offers nutrition education and screenings for hypertension, diabetes, obesity and related referrals.
  • Healthy Lee also competed for a $10 million United States Department of Transportation “TIGER” grant to help pay for new bike paths and sidewalks and connecting Lee County recreation areas. Our local governments and state Department of Transportation adopted Complete Streets resolutions so that funding will be aligned in pursuit of safe access for cyclists, transit riders and pedestrians.

The outcomes that helped Healthy Lee earn the Community Innovation Award are measured every three years through the Community Health Needs Assessment. The most recent study found impressive results, including, but not limited to:

  • Obesity rates improved by 15% with a drop from 29.3% to 24.8%, which is better than the national and states averages and better than the Healthy People 2020 goal—a 10-year agenda to improve the nation’s health
  • Childhood obesity percentages improved by 34.5%, dropping from 31.6% to 20.7%—a statistically significant drop
  • People who meet physical activity recommendations increased 22.5%, from 40.9% to 50.1% of the population—a significant improvement
  • Heart disease-related deaths in Lee County dropped by 29%, which is better than both the national average and the Healthy People 2020 goal
  • Stroke-related deaths also dropped by 29%, which is better than state and national averages and the Healthy People 2020 goal

The entire Community Health Needs Assessment can be reviewed online at http://LeeCounty.HealthForecast.net. For more information about Healthy Lee—programs, practices and successes, visit www.HealthyLee.com.

We are very proud of these awards and recognitions. Because we care, we collaborate with those in our organization and other companies and institutions in our community to find innovative ways to improve the lives, health and well-being of those we serve. These honors prove that together, as caring people, caring for people, we can make a difference every day and every night.


Jim Nathan

Jim Nathan

President, Lee Memorial Health System

Thank you for your support. Together we are caring people, caring for people.

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