Prioritizing workforce wellness: Baptist Health named first health system and largest Blue Zones approved worksite in Jacksonville

Blue Zones Worksite Approval recognizes workplaces that promote employee health and well-being.

Jacksonville, FL.

Continuing its longstanding commitment to employee health and well-being, Baptist Health was named the first health system and largest employer in Northeast Florida to become a Blue Zones approved worksite.

Blue Zones Project, a global initiative focused on longevity and well-being, recognizes organizations that are prioritizing employee health, happiness and wellness as Blue Zones approved. This distinction reflects Baptist Health's mission of improving the community’s health – starting within its own workplace community of more than 14,000 employees.

As part of Blue Zones worksite approval, workplaces meet various benchmarks, including earning points for the evidence-based actions and lifestyle principles they have or will implement in their employee programs and resources.

Community transformation starts within

Blue Zones’ research shows people spend 90% of their lives in the areas closest to home with about one-third of a person’s waking hours spent at work.

“As one of the area’s largest private employers, we have a tremendous responsibility to create a workplace environment that champions wellness, fosters purpose and helps make healthy choices easier choices for our team members,” said Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health. “Team members are our ‘first community,’ meaning it is through their giving hearts, minds and hands that our mission is brought to life, and we want to care for them as they care for our patients.”

Baptist Health is committed to implementing best practices that promote a culture of health and well-being within and beyond its walls. To support team members across all dimensions of their health – physical, mental, spiritual and social – Baptist Health offers extensive and holistic resources, including:

  • Healthy For Life: A team member wellness program that provides access to health and wellness coaches, incentives encouraging adopting or maintaining healthy lifestyle activities, and more.
  • Employee Resource Groups: Promoting diversity and inclusion, our team members lead 11 employee resource groups committed to team member connection and engagement.
  • Employee Assistance Program: An emotional and mental support program that provides up to seven yearly no-cost counseling sessions to team members and their families.
  • Learning Education and Assistance Program: A professional development reimbursement program that supports higher education and professional certification to advance learning and foster career advancement.

“Employers are in a unique position to ensure their employees are achieving their highest quality of life by providing them a quality work environment and culture that can extend beyond their professional careers and into their personal lives. By supporting employees to eat well, move naturally and cultivate key social connections, employers can highlight the importance of well-being day in and day out,” said Nicole Hamm, Blue Zones Project Jacksonville executive director.

According to Blue Zones, gaining worksite approval has benefits to employers and employees including increased productivity, higher retention rates, and lower health care costs. For health care workers, a happier, healthier work environment where employees feel engaged has even greater effects, including better patient outcomes, according to PressGaney.

With Baptist Health team members residing throughout the area and serving the community in more than 200 points of care, prioritizing employee wellness has ripple effects that can influence health and well-being in every corner of the region.

“We have believed in Blue Zones Project’s evidence-based approach since the beginning and have continued to work alongside them to help transform the spaces and places people spend the most time – including our workplace. We’re proud to receive this distinction and look forward to continuing to work together to make wellness a way of life in our community,” said Katie Ensign, vice president of community investment and impact.