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Worksite Wellness Program FAQ

What is Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play?

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play (CHP) is a N.Y.S. Department of Health (NYSDOH) grant-funded initiative to reduce obesity and type-2 diabetes by improving community-wide access to physical activity and nutritious foods. The Human Services Coalition (HSC) of Tompkins County, a not-for-profit community-based organization, won funding to implement the objectives of the Creating Healthy Places grant in Tompkins County beginning in early 2011.

Over the 5-year grant period, HSC and its partners will work in targeted communities to promote the use of parks and trails, increase development of community gardens, improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and educate community members. The HSC’s partners are Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (CCE-TC) and the Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD).

What is the Creating Healthy Places Worksite Program?

Additional funding for the Creating Healthy Places Worksite Program was awarded to 5 CHP contractors to focus on the development of comprehensive wellness programs at small to medium size worksites in their county.

As with the community component of CHP, the focus is on improving access to physical activity and more nutritious food choices. In this case, worksites build a wellness program over 12–18 months using the grant’s framework of “Sustainable Worksite Practices”. Each worksite works independently (with ongoing support from the HSC) to determine the strategies that are most compatible with their culture and work priorities. The grant is expected to support a program at 20 small-to-medium-sized worksites in Tompkins County.

What is expected of a worksite that becomes a CHP participant?

Worksites who participate in Creating Healthy Places are expected to:

  • Complete a worksite wellness assessment interview at the start of the program and a post-evaluation survey about 18 months later;
  • Identify an employee who will work with CHP staff to coordinate and facilitate the site’s program;
  • Form a wellness committee that holds at least 6 scheduled meetings in the first 8 months;
  • Build a wellness program around the NYSDOH grant framework of “Sustainable Worksite Practices” of environmental, activities-related and results-oriented strategies.
  • Create a healthy meetings policy that allows healthy food choices, modeled on the NYSDOH Healthy Meetings Guidelines.

How much time does it take to be a Creating Healthy Places worksite?

In the first 6-8 weeks of the program the coordinator might spend an average 1-2 hours a week. Wellness committee members might spend an average 1-2 hours a month over the first 6-8 months. After that, the time spent varies by worksite, but in most cases won’t exceed an hour or 2 a month, depending on what activities the wellness committee adopts, and how many volunteer employees are available to handle the work.

What does it cost for a worksite to become involved in Creating Healthy Places?

There is no direct cost for worksites, other than the time commitment for employees who become wellness committee members. Some proposed wellness strategies involve time commitment, flexible scheduling allowance, benefits adjustments or direct cost, however their adoption is solely at the discretion of the employer and/or wellness committee.

How long a commitment is the Creating Healthy Places program?

HSC will work with the wellness committee for a 12 month period and will coordinate the post-evaluation survey no later than 18 months from the initial assessment interview.

Does our organization need to sign a contract to participate?

The Creating Healthy Places Worksite Program asks participating worksites to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The purpose of the MOU is an acknowledgement by the worksite that a good faith effort will be made to complete the program consistent with grant requirements that the HSC must follow.

What is meant by policy, system, and environmental changes?

Creating Healthy Places focuses on the everyday choices we make that affect our long term health. These lifestyle choices or behaviors may include what we eat, how much physical activity we get, whether or not we smoke, or see our health care providers.

Policy, system and environmental changes can help support a healthier life style by improving access (or lowering barriers) to more nutritious foods or opportunities to increase physical activity. For example, a policy to include healthy food choices at meetings or events where food is served would make individual choice available to everyone. Maintaining paths or lighting or at a business campus would improve the environment for walking, so that employees will be more likely to get out during work breaks, rather than the “usual practice” of staying indoors and sedentary.

How can my worksite become a participant in the CHP Worksite Program?

Contact Bev Chin at the Human Services Coalition at (607) 273-8686.

Where can I learn more about comprehensive worksite wellness programs?

The Tompkins County Health Department has a long history with worksite wellness and is partnering with HSC in the Creating Healthy Places Worksite Program. It presently maintains a website that offers useful information on setting up and maintaining a comprehensive wellness program. (www.tompkinscountyny/wellness/worksite/.)


In Tompkins County, Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play /Worksites is a program of the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County, in cooperation with the Tompkins County Health Department, and funded by the New York State Department of Health. Our Worksite component is one of five funded statewide. Page updated: January 28, 2013 | Contact the Webmaster.