Jefferson County Health Center celebrates Blue Zones work site designation

Jefferson County Health Center employees show off their enthusiasm and dedication to the Blue Zones initiative with blue hands.

Jefferson County Health Center celebrated its official dedication as a Blue Zones work site on Wednesday.

The designation is a result of a long process of meeting several standards as required by the Blue Zones. The health center not only met those standards, but exceeded them in most cases. For example, 20 percent of employees must pledge support to the project and Jefferson County Health Center totaled 40 percent support.

Also, 80% of leaders needed to complete a well-being module, and 96 percent of leaders at JCHC did so.

Now that they're a designated Blue Zones work site, it's all about setting an example for the community.

"I think it's important for the employees to know that this is not just a healthy building, that it's a healthy place to be and they are the heart and soul of this organization," said Joneane Parker, Vice President of Clinical Services and member of the JCHC Blue Zones Committee. "And to that end, we're very dedicated number one to health promotion within for our staff, and then also reaching out."

"They really do a fantastic job with a very comprehensive approach to their wellness program and I think the Blue Zones project helped them bring it all together and highlight some of the things they were already doing and maybe bring a new breath of fresh air to things they could be doing in the future," said Jenny Weber, Community Health Consultant at Wellmark Inc.

During Wednesday's celebration, Weber mentioned how the designation is not something tangible, but rather a feeling in the air. For Jefferson County Health Center, Parker said that means anyone who steps foot in the building can feel the enthusiasm and dedication to health and wellness.

Now that JCHC has received its designation, they are ready to help other groups in the community achieve the same.

"We want to help other entities in our community achieve various certification, whether that be work sites or schools or the grocery stores or the restaurants," Parker said. "We have a lot of experience behind us now and we can help them, and that's part of our mission -- to reach out and help."

Fairfield needs five more employers to become work sites in order to be a fully-fledged Blue Zones demonstration site. According to Weber, the collaboration found at Jefferson County Health Center is mirrored other places in the community.

"Fairfield seems to really get what it means to have a healthy environment," she said. "There's just so many work sites that take wellness seriously for their employees and, of course, there's a huge locally grown foods initiative here and ther are just great initiatives already here that tie synonymously with the Blue Zones project."

To learn more about Blue Zones, click here.