Oakwood programs gain state-wide recognition

For the second consecutive year, an Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. program was a finalist for a Governor’s Fitness Award, reaffirming the company’s position as a state-wide leader in healthy programming.

Oakwood was a finalist for the Healthy Workplace Award for its OakWell employee wellness program and was also in the running for a People’s Choice Award for the same program. While those honors ultimately went to other organizations, Carla Schneider, manager of the OakWell program, said it was an honor just to be named a finalist. The ultimate award, she said, was promoting a work environment where every employee could meet his or her health goals.

“We do it because it’s the right thing to do,” she said of the program. “That’s what it’s really all about.”

The OakWell program offers employees and their families access to wellness center stocked with state-of-the art fitness equipment as well as exercises classes like kick-boxing, zumba and yoga. Personal trainers and health coaches are available, too. There is also an online HealthyLife portal that provides recipes, information and health tips. All Oakwood cafeterias offer OakWell Fit Meals and a seasonal farmer’s market is open weekly at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn.

“The whole organization is committed to developing and keeping a healthier, stronger work force,” said Brian Connolly, president and CEO of Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. “We’re committed from the top of the organization to the bottom of the organization.

“If we have a healthy workforce, we provide better care to our patients and the communities we serve,” he added.

In his remarks at a legislative reception at the capitol building, Gov. Rick Snyder commended the organization for the program and the effort to lead by example.

“They’re doing wonderful things with Oak Well,” Snyder said. “It’s about eating right, exercising—all those fundamentals. They’re really putting them into practice.”

Oakwood had an impact on other finalists, as well. Canton Township was a finalist in the Extraordinary Event/Organization Award in part for the 100 Days to Health program, which Oakwood sponsors. Also, Christopher Hillier, a Taylor resident who was nominated for the Veteran of the Year Award, is a former Oakwood employee. Hillier embarked on a journey the day after the award ceremony to be the first person to hike the proposed Belle Isle to Wisconsin trail. The 924-mile trail was first suggested by Snyder last November. Hillier said he’s been planning the hike virtually since then to inspire people to get out and be more active.

“I want people to know that they don’t have to hike thousands of miles, but they do need to get out and be more active more often,” said Hillier, who served in the U.S. Army for six years. “If I can encourage people to walk more, I will be doing a good thing.”

CUTLINES: (ABOVE) Carla Schneider (center) and the Oakwood team represent at the Governor's Fitness Award Ceremony that took place at Ford Field in Detroit.
(BELOW): Jerome Harrison, a former Detroit Lions player who is recovering from a brain tumor discovered during a pre-trade physical, earned the Inspiring Story/Event award.