Conway Regional is one of three hospitals in the state to be nationally recognized as a health champion.

Rick Selig, American Diabetes Association (ADA) Central Arkansas Market director, presented Conway Regional Diabetes Management staff with the award Wednesday.

"Conway Regional has received awards for what it does for its patients, but this award is for what it does for its employees," he said.

Conway Regional Health System was recognized as a corporate health champion in the ADA’s Wellness Lives Here program for meeting criteria in three categories: nutrition and weight management, physical activity and employee organizational well-being.

The Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock also received the ADA’s recognition.

Conway Regional Diabetes Management Program Coordinator Rhonda Tosh said Conway Regional cares for patients as well as its employees.

"At the very core of our organization is the love of people — that means our patients and their health and our own work family and their health," she said. "We at Conway Regional Health System would like to thank the American Diabetes Association for letting the rest of our state know we are making a healthy difference here in Conway."

Selig said being a health champion could help Conway Regional recruit employees.

This award helps to show Conway Regional is moving forward in the right direction, Women Services Director Mary Salazar said.

"This is a recognition of the hard work we do every day and our vision to increase awareness of wellness and how it relates to diabetes," she said.

Tosh highlighted Wednesday several elements that impact employee wellness and helped Conway Regional earn its recognition. Having a smoke-free campus, providing nutritional options in the cafeteria, featuring seasonal foods in the cafeteria from local producers, installing bike racks and sponsoring annual health and fitness challenges helped Conway Regional qualify for the ADA’s recognition.

Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center offers employees discounted memberships and offers educational and support groups.

"Engaging employees or members in healthy living is no easy task," Selig said. "We applaud these health champions for their commitment to making their health and wellness a priority in their organizations."

Conway Regional’s diabetes education program was also the first hospital-based diabetes management program to receive the Cure Care Commitment Award from the ADA’s Arkansas chapter.

(Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached by email at marisa.hicks@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)