Mercy Hospital Watonga earns FIRST WorkHealthy Hospitals Gold Apple and Excellence Awards

Posted on: 8/17/16

Photo caption: At the WorkHealthy Hospitals Excellence and Gold Apple recognition are (left to right): Sydney Tomlinson, coordinator, WorkHealthy Hospitals;  Heather Gillean, supervisor of nutrition services, Mercy Hospital Watonga; and Bobby Stitt, administrator, Mercy Hospital Watonga.
WorkHealthy Hospitals
(WHH), an OHA initiative, in partnership with Prevention Partners in North Carolina, has awarded Mercy Hospital Watonga (MHW) with the very first “Excellence Recognition” in Oklahoma for reaching the highest standards in health and prevention for their employees, as well as receiving the first “Gold Apple” award in Oklahoma for nutrition and food environment.

“We set out to promote change both in the hospital and in our community,” says Heather Gillean, MHW supervisor of nutrition services and the designated staff person to coordinate all efforts toward employee health improvement. Following nearly three years of efforts toward reaching the Excellence standard, MHW’s focus will now be on expanding the reach of their health improvement efforts.

MHW achieved this recognition by earning the Gold standard in four areas of WorkHealthy America, a Prevention Partners initiative. Over three years, the staff worked to meet and verify the highest level of evidence-based wellness requirements and standards within:  nutrition/food environment, physical activity, tobacco cessation, and an overall improved “culture” of health and wellness. The “Excellence Recognition” honors MHW’s commitment to improving employee health as demonstrated by its policies, benefits and programs that support employee health, optimizing employee productivity, and integrating wellness into daily operations.

“As a health care provider, Mercy Hospital Watonga should do everything possible to encourage healthy living. That starts with us. By focusing on and promoting a culture of wellness, we’ve found that co-workers and guests are not only willing to make these changes, but they’re also excited about it,” said Bobby Stitt, hospital administrator.

“MHW has demonstrated that a healthy work environment can be achieved by any organization motivated to do so” states Joy L. Leuthard, OHA health improvement initiatives manager. “As a small rural hospital, struggling with minimal resources, they have successfully improved their culture of health/wellness by making and keeping it a priority. This success is built upon their innovative ability to interface WHH sustainable infrastructure changes with their own Mercy Healthification initiative/activities, enhancing both efforts together. Their positive environment and high staff morale is very obvious the minute you enter their building. OHA is honored to partner with them.”

MHW has received national recognition as well. “MHW sets a high bar in establishing a workplace where employees can make healthy choices,” says Meg Molloy, Prevention Partners president/CEO. “I applaud this great effort and the commitment of their leadership in creating a culture of wellness.”

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) acknowledges the WorkHealthy America Excellence standard as one of the highest achievements in building a healthy work force.  Janet Collins, director of the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, recognizes that the WorkHealthy America initiative is “science-based” and “successful in taking prevention from the hypothetical to the very practical.”

WorkHealthy Hospitals has worked with approximately 40 hospitals statewide over the past three years, providing multiple services to hospitals interested in improving employee health, including online organizational wellness status assessment to tailored one-on-one consultation, goal setting and technical assistance. Become a WorkHealthy Hospital by contacting Sydney Tomlinson, WHH coordinator, at (405) 427-9537 or

WHH is funded, in part, from an Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) grant.

OHA Partners with Qualivis 

Qualivis was developed as a collaborative effort among multiple state hospital associations to meet the temporary staffing needs of member hospitals and health systems.

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