An Appointment With: Patricia Flynn, Assistant Vice President of Employee Wellness
Northwell Health’s Employee Wellness team helps enhance the well-being of every team member by delivering a healthy and safe work environment. Patricia Flynn, assistant vice president of Employee Wellness, helped develop the many programs that Northwell offers that guide our employees and their families.
Read our discussion with Patricia Flynn below to learn about the importance of well-being for our team members as we reflect on Employee Health and Fitness Month.
What is the significance of employee well-being at Northwell?
Caring for our patients begins with caring for our team members. At Northwell, well-being is so much more than a program; it is foundational to our culture – a culture that gives “permission” to be healthy! It includes healthy food choices, flexible leadership, resources for healthy living, and more. Well-being at Northwell is holistic – recognizing the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial aspects of our team members.
How does your team champion Northwell’s culture of well-being?
It is an honor and privilege to lead the professionals on my team. We exist to serve the Northwell team members, providing resources to support good health. The team is from varied backgrounds, covering the spectrum of well-being disciplines. We have public health professionals, registered dieticians, exercise physiologists, psychologists, health coaches, licensed clinical social workers and physicians. Everyone on the team is dedicated to helping team members.
How has the wellness initiatives helped our team members manage their mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?
In 2021 during the pandemic, we spoke with our team members, asked how this was impacting their overall well-being, and listened in order to create impactful programs to support them.
The Employee Wellness team partnered with a variety of departments throughout Northwell to support our team members, including but not limited to Employee Experience, Chaplaincy Services, the Employee & Family Assistance Program, Behavioral Health Service line and the newly formed Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery.
By listening to our team member’s wants and needs, the team came together to design well-thought out programs and resources that included:
- The well-being resource page – a focused well-being page that described all of our program offerings by topic area including emotional, mental, physical and spiritual.
- The Emotional Support Resource Call Center – a call line manned by the Employee Wellness team 24/7 where team members called in for emotional support and mental health referrals during the pandemic. Today, the Emotional Support Resource Call Center enables team members to speak with an Employee Wellness team member, a member of our Employee Assistance Program or Chaplaincy Services.
- An Employee Wellness YouTube channel – a channel that hosted over 100 videos including videos on guided meditation, deep breathing, self-care, healthy cooking, stretching, among others.
- Healthy Choice at Home cookbooks – developed by our own Registered Dietitian, these easy-to-make and heart-healthy recipes provided team members with a creative stress relief outlet through cooking.
- myHealthyBody Take 5 series – a series where team members could watch a pre-recorded stretch, have a certified personal trainer attend a team meeting, or join the myHealthyBody program and have a customized musculoskeletal program tailored to their needs. These were a hit among our team members and helped reinvigorate them before heading back to work.
- The first Healthcare Heroes challenge – a fundraising effort for our team members in financial crisis which raised over $25,000.
- And always a fan favorite among our team members, our “Walk to” challenge– an annual program our team members always look forward to and last year we continued our challenge virtually with Walk to the Parks.
What are some of the initiatives your team has planned for 2021?
Key priorities for 2021 are emotional well-being, supporting our team members’ families, a safe and healthy pathway back to the workplace and a continued focus on reducing chronic disease. We will also be launching another “Walk To” destination challenge. Last year over 20,000 team members participated in our Walk to the Parks.
In 2020 we also made progress in de-stigmatizing mental health – but much more work is needed. In 2021 we will continue to normalize the conversation around these issues.
This year, the Employee Wellness continues to bring a wealth of resources and support to our team members. We continued to ask our team members for feedback and listened to their needs through the Well-Being Support Survey, a collaborative survey with Employee Experience and the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery.
As a result of what we heard, we are launching or have launched programs that include wellness workshops; projects around the importance of self-care and community; resources and programs for mental health; and an inspiration call line for our team members to receive uplifting messages of hope and encouragement.
What else should someone know about Northwell’s dedication to employee well-being?
A key success factor in any workplace well-being program is leadership commitment. At Northwell, it is real! Well-being IS the well in Northwell! Another key success factor is the integration of well-being into the plans of many partners and that has been critical here at Northwell. We partner with many teams across the organization.
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