Western is first university in state to achieve Washington Wellness Worksite designation

A group of WWU faculty and staff members participate in a yoga class in Carver Gymnasium in 2009. It is partly due to classes such as this that WWU recently was awarded the Washington Wellness Worksite designation. File photo by Matthew Anderson | WWU

Western Today staff

Western Washington University is the first institution of higher education to achieve the Washington Wellness Worksite designation from the state’s Health Care Authority.

In order to achieve the Washington Wellness Worksite designation, state work organizations were required to submit applications demonstrating a healthy work culture and measurable achievement in improving employee health over a period of 18 months. The application required rigorous self-study and documentation.

Sara Eve Sarliker, program specialist with Washington Wellness, commended WWU’s wellness program for its achievement.

“WWU’s wellness program demonstrated an unwavering, broad-based and comprehensive focus on increasing physical activity, and applied evidence-based approaches to meeting the health promotion needs of its unique population,” Sarliker said. “Given that Whatcom County and Western Washington University have long been leaders in innovative health promotion, it’s no surprise that WWU’s wellness program has achieved this distinction.”

Western joins 11 other state organizations, such as the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Health, in receiving the honor.

Chyerl Wolfe-Lee, director of Human Resources at Western, praised Faculty and Staff Wellness health promotion specialist Kaylee Nightingale and Wellness Program chair Jeff Ritter for their efforts in creating an excellent work environment at Western.

“Human Resources is proud that the Health Care Authority recognizes WWU’s commitment to worksite wellness,” Wolfe-Lee said. “Our vision is to deliver best-in-class services. Kaylee Nightingale and Jeff Ritter have honored that vision by successfully leading the effort in developing a program that fosters a healthy work environment for faculty and staff.”

For more information about the Washington Wellness Worksite Designation Program, contact SaraEve.Sarliker@hca.wa.gov or at (360) 923-2747.