Health e-News 
 March 2012

Try This!
Workplace Wellness Tip

   March Madness

March Madness 

Bring March Madness to your workplace with the March Madness Activity Challenge!

You'll need teams of four employees, each with a designated team captain who will register with your company wellness coordinator.

For every 50 minutes of exercise accumulated, your team gets 10 points to add to the total team weekly score. Each team member will need to achieve a total of 150 minutes of physical activity per week (or 30 points per week) throughout the challenge.

Your team needs to achieve a combined total of 600 exercise minutes or more per week (or 120 points per week) to move on in the March Madness bracket to the next qualifying level of the tournament. The team with the most "points" at the end of the challenge is the March Madness Champion!

To earn free throw shot points, each team member that drinks eight 8-oz glasses of water each day can add an additional 10 points to their team's score.

To earn bonus shot points, each team member that eats three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day can add an additional 10 points to their team's score.

The team captain is responsible for tracking the team's weekly points and advancing the team throughout the bracket for the tournament. If a team does not achieve the minimum of 120 points per week, that team will be disqualified from the tournament.

Are you ready for the challenge? Game on!

Click here for printable March Madness tracking sheets.

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Do you love your pediatrician? Highly recommend your OB/GYN or midwife? Tell your friends on Facebook!

We want to hear about the excellent, personalized care you receive from your Affinity providers.

If your doc helped you through a stressful pregnancy, went the extra mile to take care of your kids, really listened to your concerns--then spread the word! Go to our Facebook page, click on "Photos" and brag about your doctor!

Pop-Up Gallery at Koeller Street Clinic
The Affinity Medical Group Koeller Street Clinic and the Oshkosh Fine Arts Association cordially invite you to a Pop-Up Gallery!
Friday, March 9
3:30 - 5 p.m.
1855 S. Koeller Street, Oshkosh
Join us at 3:30 p.m. for a special welcome by Dr. Christine Griger, MD, MBA - President, Affinity Medical Group and Kathy Murphy - President, Oshkosh Fine Arts Association.
You are warmly invited to tour the Koeller Street clinic and view the many pieces of artwork supplied by local artists. Members of the Oshkosh Fine Arts Association will be on hand to discuss their work with you.
Light refreshments will be provided.

with the Experts

BIG "R" on little "i"
Presented by Brian Harrison, MD, medical director of health and productivity management for Affinity Health System

Wednesday, March 14
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Looking for big returns on small wellness investments? Dr. Harrison will present his top five tips for improving the health of your workforce using low cost interventions to bring favorable ROI. Not only will he show how to carry out these programs, but also how to measure their effectiveness. He will focus on interventions that organizations can easily accomplish, whether large or small, blue or white collar, centralized or dispersed.

To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or

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It's March Madness at Affinity Occupational Health! Wellness is more than a game -- it's a championship to be claimed in your workplace and at home. This edition of Health e-News shoots to score with tips on developing a wellness dream team, coaching the home team, rebounding after a personal crisis, and more.

Don't forget to share this winning news with employees! Their version of our March Madness edition is available at:

Go Team!
Lisa Kogan-Praska
Director, Employer Solutions and Urgent Care
Dream Team

Creating Your Wellness Dream Team  


What does your Wellness Dream Team look like? Sandy Campbell, wellness coordinator for Affinity Health System--a WELCOA Gold Well Workplace--shares her insight on how to create a winning team.

"The goal is to develop a cohesive group of wellness ambassadors," Sandy says. Aim to get all of these players on the roster:

Strategic Planning Wellness Team--This is the "coaching squad" designed to oversee wellness efforts. At Affinity, this team is comprised of representatives from HR, Benefits, Network Health, and the Wellness department. "Leadership, from the CEO on down, has to be in the game," Sandy says. Affinity's oversight committee has been in place for ten years.

Wellness Champions--These are the "go-to" people throughout the workplace. If your organization is large or multi-faceted, Sandy recommends having at least one representative from each facility or department. Affinity's Wellness Champions have been in place for two years--a fairly recent development that has made a major impact on wellness participation.

Responsibilities of the Wellness Champions include:

  • Take an active role in wellness programs, serving as an example to co-workers.
  • Post wellness promotional materials at their work site.
  • Discuss wellness activities in department meetings.

Sandy and her Wellness department team members put considerable effort into training Wellness Champions. They are educated on why wellness matters, as well as on the details of all wellness programs and services available to employees.

A major key to success, Sandy says, is to meet regularly. "Meeting on a regular basis for planning and strategizing, rather than just the occasional pow-wow as programs come up, tends to keep things on target," she says. The Affinity Wellness Champions meet at least every other month via teleconference. Sandy organizes two calls at different times in order to accommodate varying schedules.

"Wellness is not just another committee or activity," Sandy says. "At Affinity, it's a way of life. Make wellness a part of your culture, and great things will happen." 


Basketball in sunOn the Rebound
How to bounce back from a personal crisis 


A scary diagnosis. A relationship break-up. Loss of a loved one. The fight for your life. Whether physical or emotional, we're easily sent reeling when crisis strikes. But be encouraged--you can rebound from trials.

"Give yourself time to heal, but not to get stuck in self-pity," says Donna Schmitz, Affinity EAP counselor. "You choose your emotions. Decide to be optimistic and use this event as an opportunity to re-evaluate and make positive changes in your life."

Barb Viste-Johnson, Behavioral Health care coordinator for the Affinity Medical Home in Kaukauna, outlines this three-step process for coping with crisis.

1. Acknowledge feelings. "Everyone's reaction is different," Barb says, "but they're all completely normal." Find a confidant who will listen without judgment.

2. Learn and take an active role. Particularly when facing a medical diagnosis, Barb says knowledge is power. "Ask questions. The more you know, the more control you'll feel and better manage your fear," she advises.

3. Take it in stride. It's easy to become consumed by a chronic illness or emotional crisis. Feeling uncertain, sad, or worried is all a normal part of the process. But, Barb says, "Don't forget to live! Your chronic condition is only part of who you are, and it's important to nurture other aspects of yourself."

Donna and Barb agree the key to rebounding is reaching out. "Don't isolate," Donna urges. "Build a support system of family and friends." The following tips can also help you gain hope and energy for bouncing back.

  • Ask for what you need. "It eliminates the responsibility from others of having to figure it out," Barb says.
  • Get enough rest, but not too much. Excessive sleep or avoiding activity can lead to depression.
  • Eat healthy. Many people lose weight during an emotional crisis. "I encourage people to eat with others as often as they can," Donna says.
  • Help someone else. "It can put your own problems in perspective," Barb says.

When you face trials of many kinds, working through the process can be therapeutic. "In coping with crisis," Barb says, "you can find strength you didn't know you had."

Home TeamCoaching the Home Team
By Brian Harrison, MD

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment." - Coach John Wooden, UCLA; 10-time NCAA Champions between 1963 and 1975 

Compared to running a family, fixing the flaws of towering, sweaty athletes seems simple. College athletes instinctively seek motivation. Family members seek the remote control, and gravitate to comfy spots on the couch. Basketball teams single-mindedly drive toward a common goal. Only a drive to Dairy Queen rallies couch potatoes and tater tots after a hard day at work or school.

If you want your family to live a healthier lifestyle, you must find a way, as Coach Wooden said, to correct without offending. First recognize that everyone in the family already knows what they ought to do to live better. They just can't pinpoint why they don't do it. They wouldn't argue the benefits of healthy diet and exercise, but may rationalize why those concepts don't apply to them! Their own mixed emotions have trapped them in a rut. And we have all had our wheels stuck in that mud of inertia time to time--even the best of basketball players. 

"But we're talking about practice man. What are we talking about? Practice?" - Alan Iverson, Philadelphia '76ers, 2002

You can't talk or even teach your family into healthier living, because simply knowing better does not mean doing better. You must instead get them to do the talking, maybe about subjects they'd rather not discuss, like "how's this working out for you?" By "this" you might mean inactivity, overeating, binge drinking, or tobacco use. With gentle direction, you must coax them to verbally work through the mixed feelings that have killed their motivation to do better in the past, focusing on a better future.

"How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it." - Coach Jimmy Valvano, North Carolina State, NCAA Champions 1983

Health coaches have an effective method called Motivational Interviewing (MI). When working with wobbly and uncommitted clients, these coaches don't teach or preach. Instead, they listen. They realize people come with different levels of readiness to change their behavior, and meet them where they are. 

MI has a central goal of helping the individual examine and resolve the double mindedness (called ambivalence) behind their problem. Four basic skills enable the coach to do this: asking questions in open-ended rather than pointed words; providing affirmations rather than accusation; listening reflectively rather than passively; and periodically summarizing what the person said so they hear it too, but in their own words. MI coaches realize that deep down, participants know better than the coach why they behave as they do. So the coach lets them know they're listening as the participant "thinks out loud."

The Motivational Interview becomes focused and goal-directed as the coach allows the participant to talk about what they have lost due to past behavior, versus what they stand to gain by changing. As they warm to the conversation, the individual compares their hopes and dreams to the path they have taken.  By envisioning a better future, intrinsic motivation gradually emerges, as they hear themselves talk about what they might gain through change. Indecisive and uncertain feelings fade as they consciously or unconsciously weigh the pros and cons of changing versus continuing as they have. 

"There are 86,400 seconds in a day. It's up to you to decide what to do with them." - Coach Jimmy Valvano, NC State

The coach then brings the participant to a crucial task: The Baby Step. Both must find goals that are small, important to the client, specific, realistic, and oriented in the present and/or future.

"The most important day of your life is today. This very minute is the most important of your life. You must win this minute. You must win this day. And tomorrow will take care of itself." - Coach John Chaney, Temple University, who coached to age 74

Over time, health coaches nudge clients forward by setting these small, achievable improvements the clients can picture themselves making that bring them closer to the solution. 

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." - Coach John Wooden, UCLA

MI gradually puts the ball in the participant's court. Coaches then help them stay motivated by pointing out there is no "right way" to change, and no limits to the number of ways they want to try. Whatever works for them, works for the coach. The participant begins to lose their fear of failure, empowered by recognizing that with each small change they make, their vision of the ultimate goal comes more clearly into focus. 

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." - Coach John Wooden, UCLA
Along the way, the participant, and your family member, will naturally resist the process here and there. Like a health coach, you must "roll with resistance." This means to expect the disagreement and not challenge it. After all, at least they're talking! Use that as momentum to talk further about what they want. Coax them to develop their own solutions to the problems that they themselves have defined. You can't talk someone out of a problem behavior. Let them talk themselves into a better one.

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - Coach John Wooden, UCLA

Both basketball coaches and health coaches can teach us a lot about motivation. But especially when we consider our family and all its frustrations, realize that no one is programmed to fail. Everybody wants to succeed, but each defines success a little differently. And, some aren't ready yet to do what success requires. They can become ready by finding motivation in their relationships with others, especially within the family. Relationships that provide inspiration meet success. Criticism of character flaws does not. Partnership and companionship provide successful relationships. 

"Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters." - John Wooden, UCLA

Finally, basketball coaches, health coaches, and families need to know the final buzzer never really sounds in this game.

"Don't give up, don't ever give up." - Jimmy Valvano, North Carolina State, NCAA Champions 1983
Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, coordinator of account management for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. 

Riley McDermid, employer health and wellness consultant, is passionate about identifying opportunities for local businesses to enhance their occupational health programs.  In addition to her role in new business development for Affinity Occupational Health, Riley is a certified tobacco cessation specialist.

Tammy Davis, customer account liaison for Affinity Occupational Health, provides immediate response to customer service requests.  She works closely with Holly and Riley to coordinate educational programs and provide clients with valuable services information.  Tammy has 14 years of experience in marketing, sales and customer service.

To contact Holly, Riley or Tammy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or