Caring for others can be difficult work. Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) recognizes the physical and mental challenges created by a high-stress work environment. To keep associates healthy, Mission Wellness, SMMC’s associate wellness program, focuses on a holistic approach to improve the mind, body and spirit of associates and their families.

While many programs concentrate solely on exercise and nutrition, Mission Wellness takes the whole person into account and uses CREATION Health principles to not only improve physical health, but also mental and spiritual wellbeing.

“CREATION Health is a realistic and doable model of what life can be for all of us,” said Juliet Stoddart (pictured), associate wellness coordinator. “The eight principles work together in unison and can lead to optimum personal health.”

CREATION Health is an acronym that stands for:

Choice: A gift given to us at Creation, the power to choose can directly impact our wellbeing.

Rest: Important for functioning at full capacity, rest helps to refresh and regenerate the mind, body and soul.

Environment: A healthy environment is created by engaging the senses.

Activity: Increased activity enhances physical and mental development.

Trust: A trusting relationship with our Creator affects overall health, which is ultimately guided by our faith, beliefs and hope.

Interpersonal Relationships: Strong relationships take time to build, but serve as one of our greatest blessings.

Outlook: A positive outlook on life improves personal health by encouraging God’s gifts of hope, love and peace.

Nutrition: Nutritious foods are one of the most powerful tools we have to promote health.

As part of Mission Wellness, Stoddart uses these principles to develop monthly wellness challenges. Each challenge aims to improve the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of associates by focusing on at least one of the eight CREATION principles. Past wellness challenges encouraged recycling, relaxation, interaction between co-workers and increasing water, fruit and vegetable intake. More than 30 wellness teams from various departments throughout the hospital compete each month for points, prizes and the wellness trophy.

Along with monthly challenges, Mission Wellness also benefits associates by offering one-on-one consultations with Stoddart, personal trainers in SMMC’s fitness center, the use of pedometers, CREATION Health classes, and reduced-cost swimming lessons for children of associates.

After the birth of her second child, SMMC associate Brook Boyer turned to the program to help her lose weight. Thanks to her hard work and determination, coupled with Stoddart’s encouragement, Boyer lost more than 20 pounds.

Improved physical health is not the only benefit Boyer has received from the program. She also enhanced her mental and spiritual health by working with Stoddart to follow a plan specifically tailored to help a working mom of two achieve success.

“I needed someone to believe I could be successful and Juliet did,” said Boyer. “Not only have I almost achieved my weight loss goal, but I feel much happier.”

Helping to create a culture of wellness is extremely rewarding for Stoddart. “I love to see associates who are engaged and invested in their own health. I cheer them on when they reach their milestones, and have laughed and cried with many associates.”

Jackie Woods is a writer for Shawnee Mission Medical Center.