Bold Goal

Spending time outdoors can be good for your health, offering everything from improved cognitive performance to decreased stress levels, according to Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, and Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Next Avenue recently published a conversation between the two as they discussed the physical and mental benefits of visiting national parks and enjoying their natural beauty.

“Healthy recreation like walking, biking or playing is associated with physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as social well-being,” Dr. Beveridge said. “There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments could have a variety of positive health benefits.

“Natural environments affect human health and well-being both directly and indirectly, according to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science,” he wrote. “Urban green and outdoor areas provide opportunities for stress recovery and physical activity, in addition to offering spaces for social interactions, which are vital for mental health.

“Chronic stress, physical inactivity and lack of social cohesion are three major risk factors in people with poor health, and therefore exposure to abundant greenery and outdoor environments is an important asset for health promotion.”

The two noted that Humana and the National Park Foundation partnered with Florida International University and MetCare medical practices to introduce a Park Rx program that gave physicians and other care providers the ability to “prescribe” park activity to their patients. Analyzing the results showed that the program fostered better health and well-being by inspiring people to head outdoors.

“We need to make it easy for physicians to treat their patients, and not only with the necessary pharmaceuticals,” Dr Beveridge said. “We need to prescribe resources that engage patients in healthy activities that can lead to better lifestyle decisions and ultimately healthy behavior change. Physical activity is vital to achieving better health, and it’s up to us to make it easy for physicians to make those recommendations to their patients.”

Read the full conversation here.

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When your schedule is crammed full of work obligations and caregiving for family members, how do you squeeze in some much-needed “me time?”

If you take the advice of Domenica Robinson, Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year, you’d find a volunteer activity that makes you feel happy and connected to your local community.

“Giving back to my community gives me ‘me time.’ It’s what I do for myself to feel good while also giving back to my community,” Domenica said. “I truly enjoy volunteering and giving people a little sunshine in their day – it makes me feel so good.”

Domenica, a Work Content Specialist who works from home in southern Indiana and stays busy caring for her grandson and her aging mother, is Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. She tracked 178 volunteer hours in the Humana Volunteer Network in 2017 – and more than 700 hours since 2008! Her very full volunteering schedule includes time at Kindred Hospice spending time with dementia and terminally ill patients, Floyd County Animal Rescue, and serving as a “master gardener” at local 4H clubs, parks and universities.

Humana selected Domenica as Volunteer of the Year based on her commitment to community well-being and the transformational impact of her volunteer work. She will receive a $10,000 grant from the Humana Foundation to Floyd County Animal Rescue League, one of the nonprofit organizations where Domenica volunteers.

Volunteerism is a tangible way Humana can impact the health and well-being of the communities we serve in a personally meaningful way while also increasing our own well-being and sense of purpose.

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Last year, Humana employees logged more than 375,000 volunteer hours. They were supported by the company’s volunteer time off policy, which gives employees paid time away from work to volunteer for activities that positively impact the health and well-being of their communities. Humana employees were rewarded with a higher sense of purpose*, and some were also acknowledged by the organizations they serve.

A group of Humana associates based in Kentucky recently received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from Home of the Innocents (also recognized as Home). The Louisville-based organization provides support and services to over 6,000 at-risk, vulnerable children and families each year.

Led by Ron Woodlee, Technology Services Leader in the IT organization, the group is still growing and includes associates from across Humana, as well as support from local companies such as Baptist Health.

“We connected with Home of the Innocents in 2016 and have been volunteering there ever since. We do all sorts of events and outings, such as Thanksgiving dinners, back-to school cookouts, cards for senior centers, heart shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day,” said Ron. “Although these kids have had tough lives, they can and will do great things in life if they have support and can see the possibilities. They need people to believe in them, to invest in them, to help them get excited about life.”

Knowing that many Home teenagers never attend dances like most high school students, volunteers planned a formal fashion show (complete with hairstylists) and sit-down dinner. And one year for Halloween, the group bought costumes for the children. Not just any costumes; children received the specific costumes they wanted in their specific sizes.

To encourage these at-risk children to pursue college degrees and follow their passions, mentoring and real-life training is also a focus. When one child showed interest in mechanics, the group connected him with a local mechanic to learn more about the field.

“Everyone in our group is devoted in giving back, serving others. Within minutes of sending an email about an opportunity at Home, everything is covered,” continued Ron. “We get so much joy from doing this work, and even bring our families with us to events.”

In Arizona, Zoilabella “Zoila” Calo has been actively engaged with St. Vincent de Paul. She has coordinated donation drives and setup volunteer time off opportunities for local associates. As a result, Zoila was awarded the Champion Volunteer Award at the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon in April. The award is presented to those who demonstrate exemplary leadership, service excellence, teamwork and community spirit.

“I was honored to receive this award,” said Zoila. “I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it for the mission – Feed. Clothe. House. Heal.”

*As measured by Humana’s 2017 Associate Experience Survey

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By Chad Johnson, Chief Procurement Officer, Humana 

Every day, I try to “Take 10” – a well-being break Humana, my employer, actively encourages all of its employees to do. Depending on my day, my “Take 10” might be some stretches at my desk or a walk with my team. No matter what my well-being break is, it makes me feel connected to a larger sense of well-being and purpose.

That purpose, the vision and goal of improving ourselves and our local communities, is deeply entrenched at Humana. In fact, it’s so deeply entrenched that we’ve given it a name – the Bold Goal – and defined it as our goal to improve the health of our employees and the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020.

While that might sound lofty, the Bold Goal is important to me and my team. The direct connection to Humana’s health plan members and the patients at our medical facilities isn’t always easy to see when you work in Enterprise Procurement and Vendor Services (EPVS). But, the Bold Goal gives us a clear connection to our members and motivates us to inspire health and help people live healthier lives however we can.

We actively encourage our department to take steps to increase health and reduce stress. Walking meetings and standing desks are common sights on our floor. We’ve held Healthy Pot Luck and Team Stretch and Walk events, combining healthy food, team bonding and exercise.

Among my favorite ways we’ve embraced Humana’s Bold Goal as a team is volunteering. Volunteering as a team connects us to our own sense of well-being by giving back and allows us to lend a helping hand to our local community in Louisville, Ky. The EPVS team frequently participates in “Blessings in a Backpack” on Fridays, packing backpacks to make sure school children have food to eat on the weekends. At a recent quarterly meeting, our team wrote more than 100 inspirational cards for seniors living at Little Sisters of the Poor – St. Joseph’s Home. I’m proud to work for a company that cares deeply about its employees and the well-being of all the communities we touch.

In our daily work, the EVPS team furthers Humana’s vision of well-being by the types of vendors we contract with and the kinds of programs we create for members. Shortly after joining Humana in 2017, I traveled to Miami to learn more about one of our enterprise vendors. This particular vendor helps Humana deliver meals to Medicare Advantage members the week following a hospital stay, a time when seniors are often vulnerable health-wise. The program includes three easy, nutritious, fresh meals a day for a week. Walking around the vendor’s warehouse, I clearly felt how my work directly affected our members and improved health in Miami.

Taken together, Humana’s Bold Goal is motivational and inspirational. It gives me and my team a clear connection and purpose in our work. It helps us contribute to Humana’s work to be an outstanding corporate citizen in all the communities we serve. And, the Bold Goal makes us feel good about what we’re working towards each and every day.

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The medical community could improve the well-being of millions of older Americans by addressing how three social determinants of health – food insecurity, loneliness, and social isolation – are prohibiting them from achieving their best health, according to Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Beveridge wrote a blog post for Forbes titled “Are Social Determinants The Missing Key To Improving Health?” He noted that such social determinants of health may be as important as our physical determinants and genetic makeup. And he cited research showing that “consumer behavior (social connectedness), socioeconomic (family and social support) and environmental factors account for 60 percent of what determines a person’s health.”

“Social determinants are creating a more complex health picture for the people they impact, and we need to address them and find solutions,” he wrote. “To do so, it’s important to understand how social determinants differ from clinical diseases and how they impact specific individuals.

“If you’re food insecure, you won’t be healthy. If you’re lonely, you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re isolated, you’re going to eventually become depressed. Social determinants can lower a person’s resolve to make important lifestyle changes, directly impacting his or her health.”

He said the medical community “needs the time, tools and reimbursement to proactively screen for social determinants of health, and this requires evolved payment models that codify and compensate physicians for these screenings. Creative solutions must be developed to seamlessly and effortlessly connect physicians with community resources as part of the patient’s care plan. Feedback mechanisms are critical so physicians know their patients are using these resources.”

He also noted that, “We have a responsibility to expand our understanding of how risk factors like food insecurity, loneliness, and social isolation affect chronic conditions and then work to evolve the ways in which we address them. … As we think of clinical contributors to health, social determinants of health must become equally as important.”

Read the entire blog post here.

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