Samaritan named Oregon’s healthiest employer

For the seventh time in eight years, Samaritan Health Services has been named Oregon’s healthiest employer among organizations with more than 5,000 employees.

Healthiest Employers Inc. and the Portland Business Journal, which sponsors the Oregon awards, announced the honor earlier this month.

One of the largest factors for the 2020 award is that 78 percent of Samaritan employees participated in the organization’s wellness activities throughout 2020. Alyssa Wink, director of Wellness and Fitness for Samaritan, said this engagement rate is a major accomplishment, given that Samaritan employs nearly 6,000 individuals across a large three-county area.

“Our wellness program stands out because it is always evolving,” Wink said. “With support from our senior leadership and Wellness Council, we can keep wellbeing at the front of our employees’ minds and encourage employees to practice a variety of wellness aspects in their daily routines. We have integrated many aspects of our workplace wellness programs with our 24/7 fitness and wellness centers and self-funded health insurance plan, which has allowed us to do many unique things.”

New wellness activities this year included:

• The Healthy Habits rewards program, which awards points to employees who completed preventive care activities such as annual physicals and cancer screenings.

• A COVID Wellness webpage for employees with tips for managing stress, local options for child care, crisis-response services and other information to assist in managing life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have worked hard to create a culture of employee wellness,” said Doug Boysen, president and CEO of Samaritan. “Our Wellness Council takes a comprehensive approach to developing programs and services designed to engage our employees in achieving stronger health and wellbeing. Engagement is the critical first step to achieving an individual’s health goals, and our employees can choose from a wide variety of one-time and ongoing activities across the eight dimensions of wellness. Their success stories are powerful, and they help fuel our long-term commitment to this important work.”

Samaritan has received numerous positive comments from employees about the wellness programs. In particular, several employees mentioned the Headspace Mindfulness App, through which they have learned new strategies to sleep better after a long day.

“Our COVID-19 Employee Wellness response has magnified our wellness efforts during a time of change and uncertainty,” said Dr. William Barish, chief wellness officer for Samaritan. “We are committed to supporting employees and their families during the unprecedented challenges facing us in health care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”


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