Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 

BY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. Health drives our workforce, our productivity, our customers’ disposable income and our bottom line. We also have a tremendous influence on health as employers, and therefore a real responsibility. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 

0108-injectionOregon Healthiest State––a new cross-sector movement focused on helping Oregonians live healthier, fuller lives­­–– uses a unique lens to evaluate wellbeing, with physical and mental health at the core. In addition, this initiative recognizes that people's sense of purpose, their relationships, their community and their financial security are equally important. We’re bringing a broad spectrum of businesses and organizations together to improve quality of life across the state and help strengthen Oregon’s workforce today and into the future.

The Oregon Healthiest State partnership got a shot in the arm recently when Governor Kitzhaber allocated $1 million to it in his 2015-17 state budget proposal. Together with private sector investments, this funding launches Oregon Healthiest State into 2015, enabling it to fulfill its mission.

This work is driven by evidence that health is mainly influenced by our behaviors and our surroundings ––access to nutritious foods, places to walk and exercise, positive relationships, financial security and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. In fact, 70 percent of health is influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play, and what we do to stay well.  Only 30 percent of our health is influenced by genetics and access to medical care.

But many of our communities lack healthy food, safe places to play, community connections and other vital elements of wellness. Creating a state that prevents disease and supports the health of all our people—no matter who they are, how much they earn or where they live—is the most effective step we can take.

Motivated by this promise, the Governor, Cambia Health Solutions and the Oregon Business Council teamed up with Oregon Health & Science University and Nike to create Oregon Healthiest State. But this is not a program driven by a few players; it is an invitation for individuals and organizations across the state to work collectively to set priorities, identify and expand the excellent work already underway, and develop strategies to tackle unmet needs. For the last several months, Oregon Healthiest State has been inviting businesses and organizations to join the movement, and today more than 50 partners, 15 of whom are in the private sector, have signed on. Oregon Healthiest State provides dedicated staffing, funding and measurement, ensuring that the work moves ahead and achieves results.  

In addition to becoming partners, many employers in Oregon are taking a vital first step by creating workplaces that prioritize wellness. They're replacing junk food with healthier snacks, providing breaks for walking, and creating wellness committees to explore initiatives that support employees and have a high return on investment. For example, at Cambia we’ve made a commitment to providing healthy, locally grown food in our cafeteria, encouraging bike commuting, setting up walking treadmills and other exercise equipment in common areas, and offering a robust wellness program that combines incentives with ease of use.

In addition to making a difference for our own employees, we as business owners can use this insight to catalyze healthy changes across the community. As partners in Oregon Healthiest State, we can share what we learn and work together to transform our communities into places that prioritize health for every person. 

Please consider what health means to your business, your employees and your hopes for Oregon—and bring your energy, ideas and voice to make ours the healthiest state. Together we can invest in our economy, our workforce, our educational system and our ability to attract industry and talent—and in our collective future.

Mark B. Ganz
Cambia Health Solutions
President and Chief Executive Officer

Duncan Wyse
Oregon Business Council
President

 

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.