North Shore-LIJ Sending 40 Employees to France as Part of “Walk to Paris” Fitness Challenge

SoulCycle class
From left: Joan Jelinek, Debbie Korologos, Ro Ennis,and Karen Bonvicin-Garofalo.

WOODBURY, NY – As part of a renewed focus on workforce wellness, the North Shore-LIJ Health System is sending 40 employees to Paris, France, after they successfully completed a three-month fitness challenge in which they walked 7.2 million steps – the approximate distance from New York to Paris.

The winners of North Shore-LIJ’s “Walk to Paris” were announced on June 28 at the Crest Hollow Country Club, where more than 900 team captains converged to watch President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Dowling randomly select the four winning teams of 10. Of the nearly 1,500 teams (comprised of 15,000 employees) that entered the walking competition last March, 914 teams (or 9,140 employees) were eligible for the drawing after successfully completing the Walk to Paris, with individual team members averaging 8,000 steps a day over a three-month period. The health system gave each walker a high-tech pedometer to track their steps.

Original plans called for the selection of one 10-person team to go to Paris, but Mr. Dowling stunned the crowd – including thousands of employees who watched the raffle during a live video teleconference from their facilities across the metropolitan area -- by choosing four winning teams: “Walka-Walka-Walka” of Patient Financial Services in Westbury; “Microbiologie Marche A'Paris” of North Shore-LIJ Laboratories in Lake Success; “Champs-Elysees” of LIJ Medical Center; and “Twinkle Toes” of North Shore-LIJ Office of Community and Public Health in Great Neck.   The 40 winning team members will receive round-trip airfare to Paris (thanks to Delta Air Lines) and a four-night hotel stay – discount companion packages were also made available so employees could bring along a special guest.

In addition to raffling off the trips to Paris, Mr. Dowling selected 10 runner-up teams to receive wellness prizes of their choice, valued at approximately $1,000 each, including: a one-year gym membership, a two-night wellness retreat, a week of healthy meals prepared by a personal chef or a package of 10 massages. Besides the Delta sponsorship, Modells Sporting Goods provided an exclusive employee discount for footwear.  

“The Walk to Paris was about more than winning a trip to Paris,” Mr. Dowling said. “The overriding goal is to change our culture and help us make wellness part of our lifestyle. It has to be part of our DNA if we are going to change the health of our communities.”

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