Michigan Healthy Community Initiative
MHealthy was established as a presidential initiative in 2005 to promote health and healthy living in the face of tremendous social and cultural pressures that foster unhealthy living and poor health, and how to contain health care costs that have risen to crisis levels. The program aims to:
- Promote the health and well-being of the University of Michigan community
- Develop more cost-effective delivery of health care as a model for other institutions
- Advance public discussion and social commitment to change by harnessing the intellectual capacity of the University to develop, test and study efforts to improve the wellness of our employees, dependents, and retirees.
MHealthy offers an opportunity for the University to positively impact the lives of many individuals and families and to contribute to addressing our nation's growing health care crisis by leveraging the tremendous resources and expertise at the University that can be brought together to focus on these issues.
Active U – MHealthy's annual, 10-week physical activity challenge and charity fundraiser is designed to encourage personal health and well-being through physical activity. In 2009, Active U attracted more than 10,000 faculty and staff participants who logged a combined 15 million activity minutes. Since 2006, the program has raised more than $90,000 for charity.
Ergonomics Awareness – Building on current ergonomic resources and strategies to maximize the health and productivity of the University's workforce, the Ergonomics Awareness program increases faculty and staff awareness and encourages implementation of ergonomic solutions within the U-M community. Since 2006, the program has awarded $120,000 and recognized numerous University departments and units through its annual ergonomic grants and awards programs.
MHealthy: Focus on Diabetes – Launched in July 2006, MHealthy: Focus on Diabetes was a ground-breaking two-year pilot program that eliminated or reduced the cost of selected medications for U-M faculty, staff and their dependents who have diabetes. The program encouraged the proper and sustained use of specific drugs that affect blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and depression with the goal of preventing or reducing the long-term complications of diabetes. It was the first in the nation designed specifically to evaluate the impact of targeted co-pay reduction for preventive medications. Due to its preliminary success and to allow time for further study, the Focus on Diabetes program has been extended for three additional years, with some modifications, and is now part of the University of Michigan Prescription Drug Plan administered by SXC Health Solutions.
MHealthy: Focus on Medicines – This pilot program was launched for employees, retirees, dependents, and survivors who take multiple medications through the U-M Prescription Drug Plan. Its main goals are to improve health and contain costs for both members of the U-M community and the University itself. The program reviews each person's entire list of current prescription medicines and identifies opportunities for cost savings such as a generic equivalent or pill splitting. It also offers a comprehensive medication review with an experienced U-M pharmacist who looks for opportunities to optimize a person's entire medicine regimen (including nonprescription medicines and supplements) while reducing potential risks of adverse drug interactions.
GOOD CHOICE – Launched in 2006, MHealthy's nutrition program helps to increase access to healthier food choices across the University through its GOOD CHOICE vending, dining, and catering programs. Using MHealthy nutrition guidelines for fat, sugar, sodium, cholesterol and fiber, the program identifies healthier options in vending machines, at participating restaurants, in cafeterias, and in University Catering menus. Thousands of faculty and staff members have also learned how to eat healthier, control portions and make healthier meals by taking one of the GOOD CHOICE online healthy eating tutorials or attending a GOOD CHOICE chef demonstration.
Leadership and Engagement – Developed to educate all levels of management on MHealthy and its value to the University, this program encourages leadership to provide an atmosphere conducive to healthy behavior, recognize warnings of unhealthy conditions, and know how to intervene to get employees and faculty to the right place for intervention. Hundreds of U-M leaders have attended one of several day-long MHealthy manager retreats for tools and information on building and sustaining a healthy workplace. Additionally, as a testimony to its positive impact, MHealthy created Building a Culture of Health by Taking Care of Our Own,” a video featuring U-M supervisors and managers who were inspired by MHealthy and decided to make a long-term commitment to the health and well-being of their faculty and staff.
Understanding U – To help foster a community of trust, respect and confidentiality that supports mental and emotional well-being in the workplace, MHealthy's Understanding U program is designed to reduce stigma and dispel myths associated with mental health; empower employees to take action to maintain, restore, and protect their mental and emotional well-being; and provide faculty/staff, supervisors, and HR professionals with the skills and information necessary to access available mental and emotional health resources. A comprehensive website was created to provide self-help tools, online screenings, and resources and strategies for coping with stress, burnout, emotional issues and more.
Wellness Assessments – In its first year, more than 17,000 University faculty and staff participated in the MHealthy Wellness Assessments, a free and voluntary program that provides an opportunity for participants to learn about their personal health, understand potential health risks, and take action to prevent health problems before they occur. Participants completed a confidential health questionnaire and attended a 30-minute wellness screening that included blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and other measurements. The screening also included meeting with a health professional to identify health risk factors and, based on assessment results, an opportunity for free personal health coaching.