Food for Thought: Why Kansas Hospitals Are Serving Up Healthier Options for Employees

May 30, 2019

// By Lisa D. Ellis //

Cindy Samuelson, vice president, member and public relations

Cindy Samuelson, vice president, member and public relations

Your hospital may get high marks for caring for patients, but how well does it measure up in caring for your employees’ health? The Kansas Hospital Association (KHA) is taking a leadership role in encouraging a growing number of health systems to serve up more nutritious options in their cafeterias and vending machines, with the goal of helping employees adopt healthier eating habits, says Cindy Samuelson, vice president of member and public relations at KHA.

Combating Obesity-Related Problems, One Workplace at a Time

By promoting smart choices for employees at work, hopefully this will lead them to make better choices at home as well, adds Hayley Finch-Genschorck, director of education at KHA and liaison for KHA’s Healthy Kansas (KS) Hospitals program.

With obesity and related health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease on the rise throughout the U.S., Samuelson and Finch-Genschorck agree that KHA hopes to stem the tide, at least within their own state.

Hayley Finch-Genschorck, director of education, Kansas Hospital Association

Hayley Finch-Genschorck, director of education, Kansas Hospital Association

To this end, each year KHA honors health systems that most successfully adopt this healthful mission with its Centers of Excellence award. Winners receive media recognition and $1,000 to support one of their system’s healthy initiatives.

Hays Medical Receives Centers of Excellence Award

One recent Centers of Excellence winner is Hays Medical Center (HaysMed), part of the University of Kansas Health System.

HaysMed is a private, not-for-profit hospital formed in 1991 when two religious institutions merged. Today, HaysMed employs about 1,200 staff members and administers one of the largest critical-access hospital networks in the nation.

The system has taken on the challenge of educating employees about recommended dietary and exercise guidelines and encouraging them to make healthful choices a priority.


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