New Wellness Center for Employees Opens May 29

Teaming up with an outside provider, Tufts will offer routine health-maintenance services to faculty and staff
May 21, 2013

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That sore throat that woke you up last night wasn’t bad enough to stay home from work this morning, but you’ve felt uncomfortable on and off for a few days. Maybe it’s time to see the doctor, but getting an appointment—let alone finding the time to go—feels like a lot of effort for a seemingly minor problem. Starting on May 29 you’ll have another option—a Wellness Center will be opening on the Medford/Somerville campus.

Tufts has entered a partnership with Marathon Health, a company that provides workplace-based health and wellness services around the country. Use of the facility, located in the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, is free and open to all Tufts faculty and staff, as well as their spouses or qualified same-sex domestic partners, regardless of whether they carry health insurance through Tufts University.

The Marathon staff will provide an array of services, ranging from checking such routine ailments as a sprained ankle or a headache, to helping someone manage a chronic condition such as asthma. In addition, health coaches will offer employees personalized assistance with weight loss, tobacco cessation, exercise, healthy diet/nutrition and other programs designed to keep you healthy.

The Wellness Center and health-coaching services will be staffed by nurse practitioners and registered nurses. Photo: iStockThe Wellness Center will be open on the Medford/Somerville campus from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. Health-coaching services will also be available on the Boston campus Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Posner Hall and in Grafton on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Jean Mayer Administration Building.

The goal of establishing a Wellness Center is two-fold, says Ann Mackenzie, director of benefits and the Human Resources Service Center at Tufts. “We are committed to investing in our most important asset, our people, and second, to ultimately helping the university and our employees save money on health-care costs,” she says. “By providing convenient care at work, barriers to care are removed. Most people know what they need to do to live a healthier and more productive life, but need support and guidance to help them make those positive changes. The goal is to augment the care that people receive from their physicians.”

The Wellness Center and health-coaching services will be staffed by nurse practitioners and registered nurses. “No individual personal health information will be shared with the university,” says Mackenzie. “The Human Resources Benefits Office will collect high-level summary data to determine what services employees are using. This data will help us tailor education outreach programs for the future.”

Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell, who led the workplace wellness effort, says, “I am very proud that Tufts is taking such a progressive step in providing health and wellness services to faculty and staff, making it easier for them to take good care of themselves.”

University- and college-based wellness centers have been on the increase over the last five to 10 years, Mackenzie notes. “We hope that the Wellness Center and health-coaching services here at Tufts will help people make lifestyle changes in order to reach their personal wellness goals,” she says.

For complete information about hours, services and appointments, go to http://hr.tufts.edu/healthandwellness/.

 Marjorie Howard can be reached at marjorie.howard@tufts.edu