Wellness champions named for town health initiatives

town-of-southingtonBy JEN CARDINES


Anthem set aside $15,000 from the 2016 fiscal year and an additional $20,000 from the 2017 fiscal year for a total of a $35,000 grant to fund the Town of Southington’s wellness program. The grant was announced at a recent town meeting and was welcomed across the community.

“The goal is to make the workforce healthier,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback. He said that while it was slow to get off the ground, there’s a lot in store for the program. Activities like a “Biggest Loser” spin-off and step tracking programs similar to what a Fitbit does are examples of the brainstormed ideas.

The health insurance offered to town employees is a self insurance policy that is managed by Anthem. Self insurance offers lower fees to pay the managing corporation, leaving the individual participant responsible for paying premiums. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting annual physicals generally leads to a reduction in premium costs.

The self insurance committee endorsed the Anthem sponsored program and named “champions” that will each receive a $1,500 stipend.

The champions will come from Town and Board of Education sectors and their roles include being a coordinator, cheerleader, and organizer. They will be trained by Anthem and then train the building employees.

“The key to success is the champions,” Brumback said.

Kelly Leppard from STEPS and Jacki Santos-Villegas from the Department of Finance were chosen to be the champions from the town sector. Sherri DiNello, director of business and finance for Southington schools said that Candace Patten and Jennifer Manware were named the champions from the Board of Education sector.

“The committee met to develop a draft of the mission statement and naming the committee. We plan to meet again on Jan. 9,” DiNello said.

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