OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center first in Illinois to earn Certified Blue Zones Worksite® status

3/25/2021 - Rockford, Illinois

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center recently achieved Certified Blue Zones Worksite status, becoming the first standalone certified worksite not located in an already existing Blue Zones Project community, and the first in the state of Illinois.


“Working with Blue Zones Project, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center has adopted the best health and well-being practices that further our commitment to providing our Mission Partners with a healthy work environment,” said Paula Carynski, president of OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. “I am proud of our efforts and our Mission Partners who serve with the greatest care and love every day.”


For the past three years, OSF Saint Anthony has worked to earn this prestigious designation as a Blue Zones Worksite organization. Blue Zones Project® by Sharecare, is a first-of-its-kind well-being improvement initiative that helps organizations get healthier by optimizing the places and spaces where people spend the most time.


Blue Zones Project is based on the environments, lifestyles and cultures of the blue zones hotspots—areas in the world where people live the longest and healthiest. The blue zones areas include Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; and Loma Linda, California. It’s a comprehensive and collective effort to make healthy choices easier for everyone, which leads to a healthier workforce and a healthier community.


Mission Partners at all levels of the organization have achieved great results as they came together to create a cultural shift and environmental changes to make healthy choices easier. The most recent data shows that the entire workforce is more engaged overall, they’ve been protected from the steep drops in workforce well-being seen throughout the health care industry, and they have reduced medical costs over this period.


These improvements come at a time in the nation when burnout and stress in health care is at an all-time high. Thanks to a concerted effort, OSF Saint Anthony has empowered its Mission Partners to move more, eat better, connect to each other, de-stress and find their purpose by achieving the following milestones:


  • 527 Mission Partners joined social groups, including walking, potluck, purpose and prayer Moais
  • 365 Mission Partners attended Purpose Workshops
  • 50 Mission Partner leaders completed Leading Well-Being Workshops
  • 434 Mission Partners participated in a Curated Volunteer Experience
  • 1,134 Mission Partners completed the RealAge Test
  • Indoor and outdoor walking paths were expanded
  • Vending machines received a healthy makeover
  • Both a downshift room for Mission Partners and a Healing Garden were established on campus
  • Anthony’s Café became a Blue Zones Project Approved™ restaurant offering an array of healthy plant-based options


Additionally, the RealAge Delta, or the difference between measured RealAge and actual chronological age of participating Mission Partners, improved.


“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges facing health care employers and workplaces are particularly acute. By embracing the Blue Zones Project approach to elevating worksite well-being more than three years ago, OSF Saint Anthony has been able to effectively support its Mission Partners during this challenging time, and is well-positioned to continue to advance its well-being moving forward," said Michael Acker, senior vice president and general manager of Blue Zones Project by Sharecare. “We congratulate OSF Saint Anthony and its Mission Partners for their hard work and dedication, and look forward to supporting them on their ongoing journey towards optimal health and well-being.”


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