BY LISA WARREN
You might say that Bob Kamieneski and Tracy Green are on a wellness mission from God.
Kamieneski is the Wellness Program director at Takoma Regional Hospital, and Tracy Green is the Wellness Program director at Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
Together, the two health and fitness experts have been working to bring a new wellness initiative to Greene County.
Called CREATION Health, the Christian-based program is founded on eight principles that Kamieneski and Green say are part of God's original plan for living life to the fullest.
On Tuesday morning, details of the CREATION Health initiative were announced in a joint presentation by officials from both Takoma and Laughlin hospitals, in cooperation with the Greene County Partnership, which helped to coordinate the well-attended breakfast event at the General Morgan Inn.
The CREATION Health program is funded by a $300,000 matching grant from Adventist Health System, which co-owns Takoma with Wellmont Health System.
Additional funding is being provided by Laughlin Memorial Hospital and Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger.
'SPIRIT OF COOPERATION' COMMENDED
Niswonger congratulated both hospitals for working together toward making Greene County a healthier place to work and live and for their "spirit of cooperation" that he said he hopes will continue in the future.
Greeneville Mayor W.T. Daniels and Greene County Mayor Alan Broyles also both applauded the efforts of the two hospitals for working together on this community health-improvement project.
"This is a great day in Greeneville and Greene County," Mayor Daniels said. "This joint effort reflects ongoing work between both health-care organizations.
"They are looking forward and working together toward a common goal on improving the health needs of this community."
"Promote A Healthy Greeneville" is one of five key "strategies" included in the Vision 20/20 project of the Town of Greeneville, which was launched in November 2012.
Whitfield and Wolcott are serving as co-facilitators of that aspect of Vision 20/20, although town Public Relations Specialist Amy Rose explained that that project is separate from CREATION Health.
Rose said she thought it is likely that some degree of coordination between the two programs will develop, although there is no formal link between them.
Mayor Broyles said that Greene County is "very fortunate to have two quality, outstanding hospitals. And I commend them for their concern for the Greene County people."
For Kamieneski and Green, the announcement about the joint wellness initiative between their two hospitals was the culmination of nearly a year-and-a half of planning and work by the pair.
Part of their efforts involved a detailed community health needs assessment that they conducted in partnership with the Greene County Health Department.
Out of that assessment came several rather alarming statistics about the health and well-being of Greene Countians.
Among those are the extremely high rates of tobacco use and smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity among many local residents.
The results of such lifestyle choices, they say, are several diseases that a large number of Greene Countians find themselves affected by, including diabetes, hypertension and lung disorders.
During the presentation of the new program on Tuesday, Greene County Partnership President and CEO Tom Ferguson told those in attendance that local communities are increasingly under pressure from federal and state governments to promote better health and wellness among their residents.
WHAT IS 'WELLNESS'?
"What is this thing we call 'wellness' -- and why is it important?" Kamieneski asked those in attendance at the presentation held at the General Morgan Inn ballroom on Tuesday morning.
"The way we treat ourselves when it comes to our lifestyles has an ultimate impact on our overall health," he said.
Many times, health-care providers look strictly at nutrition and exercise when it comes to wellness, Kamieneski said.
However, studies have shown that there is much more to overall good health then just those two factors, he noted.
In addition to healthful nutrition and regular exercise, it is also important for persons to have positive, interpersonal relationships and feelings of connections to one's community.
Another major health benefit is the trust in a divine power, both Kamieneski and Green say.
"CREATION Health is a lifestyle transformation program," Green explained at the presentation.
"It is designed to help people live life to the fullest by focusing on eight principles," she said.
Those principles are: good nutrition, a positive outlook, meaningful relationships, trust in God, physical activity, a healthy living environment, rest, and, finally, making the choice to adopt each of these principles into one's daily life.
FRANKLIN NAMED COORDINATOR
Erin Franklin was announced as the coordinator of CREATION Health, the person whose job it will be to help communicate the eight principles to the citizens of Greene County.
HOW PROGRAM WILL WORK
Franklin and her husband, Aaron, and their two sons, Anderson and E.J., moved to Greeneville about a year-and-a-half ago. Aaron Franklin serves as the worship leader at First Baptist Church of Greeneville.
"I'm truly honored to help bring this program to our community," Erin Franklin said.
She cited specific examples of how the program's mission hopes to achieve this goal through community wellness classes and clinics for both adults and children, training programs for hospital staff and patients, and other public awareness events.
Franklin will be available to speak in schools, clubs and other community events.
For more information, call 620-1833 or go online at http://www.CREATIONHealth-greenecounty.com.