NEW YORK -- The North Shore-LIJ Health System’s first-ever walking challenge, the Walk to Paris, kicked off today with 15,000 employees lacing up their sneakers to compete for a free trip to Paris. The fitness challenge is one of many initiatives that the 15-hospital health system has rolled out to improve the health and wellness of its employees.
“We knew there would be interest in this challenge, but we were blown away by the positive response we have received from our employees,” said Michael J. Dowling, North Shore-LIJ’s president and chief executive officer. “With the growing rates of obesity and other preventable diseases, wellness is more important than ever. We hope to encourage the community at large to take control of their health and are starting with our own 43,000 employees. I am proud of those who are already taking steps toward making positive changes.”
Due to an overwhelming response, health system leaders expanded the Walk to Paris registration to allow more employees to participate – the original cut-off of participants was 10,000. The walk challenges employees to collaborate in teams of 10 to walk 7.2 million steps (the approximate length to Paris, France) in three months, or approximately 8,000 steps a day. Those who complete the challenge will be entered into a raffle for a grand prize and a second prize. Already armed with a high-tech $35 pedometer purchased by the health system, participants can also get discounted athletic footwear, thanks to a new program with Modell’s sporting goods.
For the grand prize, North Shore-LIJ will send the winning team of 10 employees to Paris, paying for round-trip airfare in partnership with Delta Air Lines and a four-night hotel stay. Discount companion packages will also be available so employees can bring a guest. The 10 members of the second-place team will each receive a $400 Delta airfare voucher.
“I sincerely thank our partners, Delta Air Lines and Modell’s, for helping support our employees in their quest to get fit and making this challenge so exciting while they log all these steps,” Mr. Dowling said. “It is estimated that clinicians walk approximately 6,000 steps each shift, so we believe with a little effort, our employees can easily make it to 8,000, if not more. Hopefully they will see how each easy adding walking to their daily routine is, and it will become a habit that sticks long after the challenge ends.”
In addition to the Walk to Paris contest, the health system has also launched an interactive wellness website – VivoHealth.com – where employees can upload their step count, track their fitness goals and compare their progress to other teams. It also has profiles of teams, employees and tips on how to prevent injury, stretch and suggestions on how to get a few more steps into their daily routine.
The Walk to Paris is one of many initiatives that North Shore-LIJ is rolling out to improve the health and wellness of its employees. The health system also recently announced its“Know Your Numbers” campaign, which offers all employees a free health screening and blood test to learn if they are at risk for certain illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. In the past few months, thousands of employees have participated in on-site screenings and counseling sessions.
As part of its medical benefits plan, the health system also reduces employees’ out-of-pocket health insurance premiums by $40 per paycheck (or more than $1,000 a year) if they: 1) get a flu vaccination; 2) get a physical examination; 3) complete an online health assessment; and 4) either quit smoking or pledge not to smoke.
About North Shore-LIJ Health System
The nation's second-largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system, North Shore-LIJ delivers world-class clinical care throughout the New York metropolitan area, pioneering research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a visionary approach to medical education, highlighted by the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. North Shore-LIJ cares for people at every stage of life at 15 hospitals, long-term care facilities and more than 200 ambulatory care centers throughout the region. North Shore-LIJ’s owned hospitals and long-term care facilities house about 5,467 beds, employ more than 10,000 nurses and have affiliations with more than 9,000 physicians. Its workforce of about 43,000 is the largest on Long Island and the ninth-largest in New York City. For more information, go to www.northshorelij.com.