The symposium brought together representatives from local businesses and organizations to discuss industry best practices on employee wellness programs and to promote the valuable resources and national health initiatives offered through the AHA.
In his opening remarks, UofL President James Ramsey reinforced the importance of being proactive to support health.
“One on the things that I discovered as a CEO is that it is important to ‘walk the walk,’ literally, and not just ‘talk the talk,’” Ramsey said. “In creating our Get Healthy Now initiative, it was important for me to lead by example; yet as busy people, it is often hard for us to make the time to exercise. I found that it was very important for me to block out time on my calendar for my own exercise. If I didn’t, I would go from sunup to sundown without the opportunity to exercise.”
A panel presentation followed featuring Patricia Benson, director of Get Healthy Now; Pam Perry of data and technology company Appriss; Peggy Wheeler of Derby City Vending; Rebecca Hurst of spirits and wine company Brown Forman and Alexander Paul of Humana. The panelists provided highlights of their employee wellness efforts and discussed the latest trends and research.
A critical component of a successful wellness program is actively engaged leaders–especially at the CEO level. CEO support is essential in building a culture of organizational health and wellness, Benson said.
“The University of Louisville’s Get Healthy Now program success is directly attributable to the support of our president,” she said. “President Ramsey demonstrates through words and actions a commitment to his own personal health and to the broader campus and community he serves.”
Ramsey also thanked the AHA for its valuable partnership, which supports groundbreaking research like that of Dr. Roberto Bolli and his work with cardiac stem cells. Dr. Bolli’s research was recognized as one of the top 10 cardiovascular breakthroughs of 2012.
UofL is committed to the AHA through sponsorship of initiatives and employee fundraising for the Kentuckiana Heart Walk. Last year, UofL was a $25,000 sponsor and raised more than $27,000 for the Heart Walk.