Health Ambassadors in the Workplace, an initiative of the Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, celebrated its first anniversary in January. In just one year the health ambassadors trained at the Pollin Center are bringing revolutionary changes to their places of employment. They have chosen healthier refreshments for organizational meetings, altered cafeteria menus, spearheaded company-based sports teams, coordinated physical activity classes, organized smoking cessation groups, and much more.
One site, the Law Enforcement and Collection System Authority (LECSA), has undergone a transformation. LECSA is a national organization with offices in multiple cities. Two LECSA representatives took part in the January 2018 program. They were ambitious, motivated, and fully supported by their supervisors and LECSA management.
The ambassadors assembled a steering committee to outline goals, objectives, and a plan of action. The steering committee included the vice chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, two field employees, a district manager, and two Pollin Center ambassadors so as to ensure the program’s success and sustainability. The committee’s first decision was to appoint and train health ambassadors in every branch of the organization.
One hundred and twenty employees answered the “call for applicants,” offering to serve as LESCA local health coordinators. The committee screened the applicants and chose 25. The ambassadors independently coordinated the training program for this new group of trainees. The training included information about healthy nutrition, physical activity, and stress reduction. Upon returning to their districts, the graduates began to implement local programs. To date, local ambassadors have conducted stress reduction workshops, health-related lectures, and smoking prevention activities. Some have even appointed deputy health ambassadors.
Other health ambassador initiatives include a health-focused organizational calendar that includes health tips, health lectures on topics suggested by employees, and the distribution of stress balls.
Health promotion is transforming Israeli workplaces in a creative, motivating, and inspiring manner. The Pollin Center will follow the continuing efforts and will assess the program’s long-term impact on employees.