Both Local Hospitals
Joining Forces To
BY LISA WARREN
A new community wellness initiative is being launched in Greeneville and Greene County through a joint effort of Takoma Regional Hospital and Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
The goal is to promote better lifestyle choices among citizens and reduce the alarming rates of adverse health problems in Greene County, spokesmen explained at a launch event today.
Named CREATION Health, the program advocates lifestyle modification to improve one's overall health and well-being through eight guiding principles: choice, rest, environment, activity, trust in a divine power, interpersonal relationships, outlook and nutrition.
Details were presented this morning to more than 100 community leaders during a breakfast presentation at the General Morgan Inn.
The 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.
During the presentation, 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.
LOCAL STATISTICS CITED
Ferguson cited several alarming statistics that are currently affecting the health of local citizens.
"In Greene County, about 30 percent of people smoke, about 32 percent are obese, and about 34 percent get no physical exercise," Ferguson said.
In addition to creating healthier citizens, wellness initiatives can also be beneficial to local businesses and industry by reducing employee medical costs and increasing productivity, Ferguson said.
"This is an exciting day for our community as we announce a new health initiative that has united our two hospitals for a common purpose," said Takoma President and CEO Daniel Wolcott.
"I'm thankful that this is something that the entire community can embrace," Wolcott added.
Laughlin President and CEO Chuck Whitfield said, "We believe this important initiative will have a significant impact on our community's health."
Whitfield noted that "some very troubling health trends" in Greene County have been revealed through recent data collected from a community health-needs assessment.
This assessment was a joint project of the wellness programs of Laughlin and Takoma hospitals.
"Diabetes, obesity and use of tobacco products are the top three leading causes of poor health in our community," Whitfield said.
After discussing the CREATION Health initiative with Takoma officials, Whitfield said, "It became obvious that our two health-care organizations could impact the overall health of Greeneville and Greene County more effectively by working together -- versus each of us trying to go it alone."
With the Adventist Health System grant, combined with contributions from both hospitals as well as Scott Niswonger's generous financial commitment, Whitfield said, "this project will have a financial impact in excess of $400,000 on our community over the next three years."
Erin Franklin was announced as the coordinator of the CREATION Health initiative.
She will be available to make wellness presentations at businesses, organizations, churches and schools.
Franklin said the program will include:
* community wellness classes and clinics for both adults and children;
* online information such as wellness tips, recipes and event announcements at http://www.CREATIONHealth-greenecounty.com;
* hospital employee training and patient education, and
* an annual health summit.
Franklin said she would also like to eventually see the development of a community health challenge and a family wellness camp program.
For more information, call Franklin at (423) 620-1833 or go online to http://www.CREATIONHealth-greenecounty.com.
Additional information concerning today's launch event of the new program will be published in Wednesday's issue of The Greeneville Sun.