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Baltimore health department and businesses team up for healthy workplaces

06.12.17 BALTIMORE, MD- Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department announced its Workplace Wellness designation that encourages area employers to provide the healthiest professional setting possible. A new online tool will allow companies to assess their efforts to provide a healthy and fit work environment for all employees. From Left- Dana Perzynski, Ayers Saint Gross Human Resources; Michelle Wright, Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield Human Resources; Dr. Leana Wen; Deanna Fidler, Chief Human Resources Officer for T. Rowe Price. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

06.12.17 BALTIMORE, MD- Dr. Leana Wen, Commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department announced its Workplace Wellness designation that encourages area employers to provide the healthiest professional setting possible. A new online tool will allow companies to assess their efforts to provide a healthy and fit work environment for all employees. From Left- Dana Perzynski, Ayers Saint Gross Human Resources; Michelle Wright, Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield Human Resources; Dr. Leana Wen; Deanna Fidler, Chief Human Resources Officer for T. Rowe Price. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

The Baltimore City Health Department launched a program Monday to encourage city employers to increase employee health.

Under the program, city businesses can earn a Workplace Wellness Designation if they meet certain criteria.

“We recognize the important role our business sector plays in a healthy Baltimore,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said. With rising health costs, “It’s more critical than ever to meet the needs of an employee population.”

T. Rowe Price, CareFirst and Ayers Saint Gross received the first designations in an event at T. Rowe’s Baltimore headquarters. As part of the health department’s business advisory group, they were among the first businesses to apply for the designation. Rowe and CareFirst received gold designations while Ayers Saint Gross received a bronze designation.

“It’s our duty to our associates to promote and support an attitude of well-being at work and at home,” said Deanna Fidler, T. Rowe’s chief human resources officer.

Wen and the health department developed the Workplace Wellness Designation program after advice from its business advisory group. Out of that group, it has also developed a billion-step challenge, which will launch later this summer.

For the designation, employers should look to provide employees improved access to healthy food options, incentivize healthy activities such as going to the gym or biking to work, and provide support for emotional and mental health.

In all three categories, the health department adopted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards for healthy workplaces, which can be measured through an online tool.

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