A yearlong campaign to promote healthy choices

For the sixth year, Penn’s Division of Human Resources (HR) is encouraging faculty and staff to get healthy, and stay healthy, with its “Be in the Know” wellness campaign, running now through August 2018.

Easier than ever before to get involved, “Be in the Know” allows participants to receive cash incentives—up to $300 this year—just for making healthy choices, such as getting a flu shot, going to the dentist, or even regularly riding a bike to work.

“‘Be in the Know’ is an integral part of the University’s comprehensive benefits package," says Jack Heuer, vice president of HR. “We take a holistic approach to staff and faculty wellness and work-life. That leads to healthier individuals with better quality of life, and a more productive Penn community.”

The first step to participate in the yearlong campaign is to undergo a biometric screening, which measures blood pressure, blood sugar, and non-fasting total and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol. Register at the HR website for a free and confidential, on-campus screening conducted by AREUFIT Health Services, now through Nov. 21. If participants wish to fast, there is an option this year to also include low-density cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride results. Participants may submit results from biometric screenings conducted by their physicians, too.

Next, participants should take the online health assessment administered by StayWell, Penn’s wellness portal partner. StayWell incorporates the results from each biometric screening to personalize every participant’s experience with the most useful information and health recommendations.

Upon completion of both the biometric screening and online health assessment—considered “core” actions in the wellness campaign—participants will receive 100 points, or $100. Cash incentives can either be pushed directly into participants’ paychecks or used for Campus Recreation credits (with no expiration dates).

Once the two core actions are completed, participants are eligible to earn more incentives for “bonus actions,” which are divided into four categories: preventative health; wellness activities; physical activity; and StayWell online programs, including the new “million steps,” “daily dash,” and “sleep well” challenges.

An eye exam, for instance, will earn participants 10 points—as will a dental exam, a dermatology exam, and a flu shot. (Student Health Service is offering free flu shots at Houston Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Oct. 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are open to all Penn faculty and staff with PennCards, and no registration is required.)

Annual physicals and women’s mammograms rack up 20 points each, and a colonoscopy is 30 points. Cash incentives will be paid out for every 50 points earned, up to 300, or $300. For preventative health credit, this year participants only need to submit a proof of bonus actions form for preventative screenings; provider proof is no longer required.

Participants can also earn points for hitting the gym regularly, registering for a community run, or taking part in wellness activities on campus, such as a mindfulness workshop or nutrition counseling sessions. Visit the HR website for the entire list of qualifying bonus actions and campaign details.

“Every year, ‘Be in the Know’ is an important reminder for us all to take the time to think about our overall health,” says Chris Hyson, Penn’s senior health and wellness specialist. “Faculty and staff are extremely busy, but it’s critical to find the time to invest in our daily well-being. Penn wants everyone to take a proactive stance by taking care of ourselves.”

With knowledge that we all are impacted by our environment—both at work and at home, Hyson says “Be in the Know” offers points this year, too, for bringing a friend to a biometric screening who didn’t participate last year, and also for submitting proof that your spouse or partner at home received a screening from their health care provider.

“Our goal is to always promote a culture of wellness here at Penn, but we know it’s also important to develop a culture of wellness at home,” Hyson says. “You can serve as a positive role model for your family, and certainly they for you.”

Individuals who earn 250 bonus action points or more this year will also receive a special gift and recognition as a “Be in the Know” VIP.

“Ultimately, it’s really up to each person to decide whether or not they want to invest in their well-being,” Hyson says. “But Penn truly encourages the entire community to make health a top priority, so take advantage of the incredible opportunities available to us. Take a lunch break to walk on campus, join a wellness or work-life workshop, utilize Pottruck’s awesome workout facility, and make time to connect with colleagues. Whether your actions are small or large, it’s definitely worth your time. The payoffs are tremendous.”

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