Health e-News
September 2012
Why Use HRAs?
Know Your Numbers
Health Coaching
Foods That Fight Cholesterol
Cardiovascular Surgery
On-site Flu Clinics
Meet Phil Bellis
Quick Links

September is a time for newly sharpened pencils and fresh starts. We're here to help you re-focus on wellness, starting with the first building block: HRAs.


We encourage you to share this valuable information with your employees. A version of this month's newsletter designed just for them can be found at:

All of us at Affinity Occupational Health are cheering you on toward a healthy September and beyond!

Holly Tomlin

Lead Employer Health & Wellness Consultant

Affinity Occupational Health

HRAWhy Use HRAs?

Health care costs, employee health, presenteeism, absenteeism, employee productivity, worker's compensation. There are lots of reasons to offer health risk assessments (HRA) to your employees. If you do, kudos! If not, it's time to start. Whether you've been conducting HRAs for years or never before, it's important to understand why this tool is so valuable to employer and employee alike.

What is an HRA?
The health risk assessment (HRA) is a health tool used to identify personal risk factors for individuals. Collectively, the Corporate HRA Summary Report is a road map for improving employee health for an organization. It helps employers gauge overall health improvements from year to year in the employee population and to identify key areas in which to focus wellness programming and interventions.
An HRA includes:
  • Confidential online health and lifestyle questionnaire
  • On-site biometric screening--total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, ratio total cholesterol/HDL, triglycerides and glucose
  • Measurements --height, weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, and body mass index (BMI) testing
  • Personalized, confidential health profile report
  • Corporate summary report providing aggregate data on the health issues of employee population

How does it help my organization?
When you use your HRA data to invest in the right wellness programs, employee health improves. And when employee health improves, there is a positive impact on medical costs, absenteeism, productivity, and many more organizational benefits!  


How does it help my employees?
An HRA enhances your benefits package. It's a tool that tells employees you care, and you are willing to invest in their well-being. HRAs help employees gain knowledge of their personal risk factors, which enables them to make healthy lifestyle changes to avoid illness, chronic diseases, and improve their overall health and wellness.  


Call us today!
Effective wellness programming starts with an HRA. It's the first step toward creating a comprehensive wellness culture for your workforce. For more information, call Affinity Occupational Health at 1-800-541-0351.

ChartKnow Your Numbers

Have you wondered how to make sense of those HRA results? Here's a breakdown of healthy numbers, and why you should pay attention.

Be Cholesterol-Wise
September is National Cholesterol Education Month! Maintaining good cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels can help prevent a host of ailments and boost your chances of maintaining a high-quality, active lifestyle.  Aim for these numbers:
  • Total cholesterol = Less than 200 mg/dL (150 mg/dL is optimal)
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol = Less than 160 mg/dL (less  than 100 mg/dL for people with heart disease)
  • HDL (good) cholesterol = Women, 50 mg/dL or higher; Men, 40 mg/dL or higher
  • Triglycerides = Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Fasting glucose (blood sugar) = Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure = Less than 120/80 mmHg
  • BMI (body mass index) = Less than 25, higher than 18.5

Did you know?
Compared to a total cholesterol level (TCL) of 200 mg/dL...

  • TCL of 250 mg/dL doubles your risk of having a heart attack in middle life.
  • TCL of 300 mg/dL quadruples the risk.

Source: American Heart Association


Why Weight Matters
Hey, we live in America--everybody carries a few extra pounds, right? It's true that being overweight has become an acceptable social norm, but your heart health still holds a prejudice. Maintaining too much weight for your frame can raise blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as sink your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Being overweight is a risk factor for many major diseases, including diabetes, stroke and cancer. Dropping just 10 pounds can make a big difference in your risk for developing serious conditions such as heart disease.


What's my BMI?
Being in shape involves more than a number on the scale. Your body mass index (BMI) is also a good indicator of whether or not you're at a healthy weight. BMI is a numerical value of your weight in relation to your height. For all body frames, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, while a BMI of 18.5 or less is considered underweight. Keep in mind these values are for the average adult. If you're younger than 20, highly athletic, pregnant or breastfeeding, BMI calculations might not be the best indicator of your healthy weight.


To calculate your BMI, visit the American Heart Association's web site for a handy online tool.

PhoneTelephonic and On-Site Health Coaching 

Does your organization need a little help keeping employees on track with their wellness goals? Consider using a health coach. Affinity's health coaching program is offered on-site, by phone, or a combination of both.

The Health Coach will act as a guide, helping employees identify and understand their health risks according to HRA results such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Then the coach develops a personalized plan to help each person establish and meet certain health goals. 
On-Site Health Coaching
Even making small health changes can sometimes feel overwhelming. That is why Affinity offers on-site personal health coaching for employees that are trying to improve their health. Our wellness specialists will meet with your employees to help them develop an action plan for success. 
Services include:
  • Personalized health coaching based on HRA results and employee interests
  • On-site screening and monitoring of health conditions
  • Consultation regarding health-related issues
  • Facilitate referrals for appropriate medical care
  • Conduct and/or coordinate educational classes
  • Coordinate on-site wellness programs
  • Participate on corporate wellness committee

Affinity HealthCalls Telephonic Coaching
Affinity's telephonic coaching and counseling program provides participants with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a health counselor in the privacy of their home, at a time that is convenient for them.
All telephonic counselors are clinical professionals with extensive experience in telephonic counseling. They use the latest stage-of-change methodologies to help individuals set personal goals for improving their health and set strategies for reducing risk. The counselor's approach is to empathize and empower employees, in order to develop a trusting relationship that encourages behavioral change. 

To learn how you can bring health coach services to your workforce, call Affinity Occupational Health at 1-800-541-0351.

Black beansFoods That Fight Cholesterol 


Want to lower your dietary cholesterol? Look to your dinner plate. Affinity registered dietitian and nutrition coach Julia Salomón, MS, RD, CD, offers some helpful strategies.

Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber aids in digestion and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. Soluble fiber-rich foods include foods such as flax seeds, barley, oat bran, beans, potatoes and Brussel sprouts, to name a few. Julia advises slowly increasing your fiber intake over the course of two to three weeks to give your body time to adapt. "As you increase your fiber intake, also increase your fluid intake," she adds.

Plant sterols and stanols: These are substances found naturally in some grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. They help lower LDL cholesterol, and manufacturers are now adding them to other foods including margarine, juice, cereal and more.

Unsaturated fats: "An effective way to 'fight' cholesterol is to lower your intake of saturated and trans fats and instead include unsaturated fats," Julia says. Replace butter with cooking oils such as sunflower, soybean, canola or safflower oil, and use olive oil in salads rather than less healthy dressings.

A note about fats: Polyunsaturated fats tend to lower LDL slightly more than monounsaturated fats; however, too much polyunsaturated fat can also lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which is not desirable. "We want high HDL, the 'good' cholesterol," Julia says. Monounsaturated fats lower LDL and tend not to affect HDL levels.  Foods such as olives, nuts and avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats.

As with any type of fat, Julia advises, moderation is key. "Drizzle oil on your salads, don't pour!"

Omega 3 fatty acids: These kinds of essential fats (needed but not made by our bodies) may reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids are one type of polyunsatured fats.  Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids include walnuts, soy, flax seeds, and cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring.

Lean protein: Julia recommends replacing meats and cheese with fish, skinless poultry or legumes. "Try to have a meatless day once or twice a week," she says. "Include fish or seafood once or twice a week as well."

Carbohydrates: In addition to incorporating 'cholesterol-fighting' foods to your diet, Julia recommends cutting down on foods that have a lot of added sugars such as sodas, pastries and the like. Limiting highly refined grains may help as well, since these types of carbohydrates tend to raise triglyceride levels in some people.  "Try to make half of your grains whole grains."

Weight: If you are overweight, losing weight can have an impact on lowering blood cholesterol levels. Being overweight has been associated with increasing your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. "Losing just 10 percent of your body weight if you are overweight can have a big impact on your cholesterol and your overall health," Julia adds.

Exercise! Last but not least, regardless of your diet, exercise is a tremendous help in reducing cholesterol. Aim to incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week.
ChatterjeeWhat's Happening at Affinity?
Welcome Our Cardiovascular Surgeon 

A healthy ticker is the heart of wellness. At Affinity, our heart care experts are committed to your health and well-being. Welcome our newest cardiovascular surgeon, Subhasis Chatterjee, MD.

Dr. Chatterjee is board-certified in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. He provides personalized care to adults who have heart and lung problems. Dr. Chatterjee is certified to perform minimally-invasive valve surgery and has a special interest in treating valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aneurysms of the thoracic aorta.

Dr. Chatterjee works alongside Zenoun Abouzelam, MD, the most experienced minimally invasive heart surgeon in Northeast Wisconsin. Dr. Abouzelam was the first in Northeast Wisconsin to perform minimally invasive mitral valve replacement, an advanced, gentler alternative to traditional surgery. 

To learn more about heart surgery at Affinity Health System, visit

SickThis Flu Season, Keep Your Workforce Working    


Affinity Occupational Health offers convenient on-site flu vaccinations at your business, administered by a health care professional. These are scheduled in October and November to maximize immunity throughout Wisconsin's long flu season.

Think about this:

  • The World Health Organization estimates that the cost of influenza to the U.S. economy in terms of health care costs and lost productivity can range from $71 billion to $167 billion a year.
  • An employee ill with the flu who comes to work is not only unproductive but may spread the virus to colleagues, causing the flu to become more widespread and linger longer within an employer's workforce.
  • Consider that the financial toll of "presenteeism" far exceeds the cost of absenteeism. (Presenteeism is a term used for employees who are physically at work but not productive). Flu symptoms and medications can affect an employee's focus and concentration.

For more information on how our influenza vaccination services can benefit your organization or to schedule your on-site service, call Todd Repp at (920) 727-8715 or 1-800-541-0351.


Why get a flu shot?
Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and about 36,000 people die of complications of the flu in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), influenza vaccination programs targeted to adults younger than 65 have demonstrated reductions of:

  • 34% to 44% in physician visits
  • 32% to 45% in lost workdays

Schedule your on-site flu clinic today! 

Phil BellisMeet Phil Bellis, Employer Health and Wellness Consultant  

Introducing Phil Bellis, Affinity Occupational Health's new employer health and wellness consultant. In this role, Phil is dedicated to cultivating client relationships. Prior to working with Affinity, Phil partnered with businesses to achieve both their financial and human capital goals. He has been involved in community development as well, serving in the past as an ambassador for both the Green Bay and De Pere Chambers of Commerce and recently began serving as an ambassador for the Fox Cities Chamber. Phil received an Associate of Science in Business degree from Cardinal Stritch University in 2007.

Phil is the proud father of two wonderful little children, a son, Jackson, age 7, and a daughter, Alayna, age 3. He and his wife Paula have been together for 19 years and celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary in July.

Please join us in welcoming Phil to Affinity Occupational Health! 

Cereal with blueberriesBreakfast With the Experts


Non-Surgical Help for Orthopaedic Conditions: Handy, affordable, low-tech options you and your employees should know
Presented by Brian Harrison, MD
Medical director of Health and Productivity Management
Affinity Health System

Wednesday, Nov. 5
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Save the date for our next Breakfast With the Experts! More details will be forthcoming.

To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or
Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, lead employer health and wellness consultant 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. As a certified massage therapist, Holly has a special interest in educating others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including wellness and prevention initiatives. 
Phil Bellis, employer health and wellness consultant for Affinity Occupational Health, is dedicated to cultivating client relationships. Phil's experience involves partnering with businesses to achieve both their financial and human capital goals. In addition to his role with Affinity, Phil serves as an ambassador for the Fox Cities Chamber.

Tammy Davis, is the customer account liaison for Affinity Occupational Health. In her role, Tammy provides immediate response to customer service requests. She works closely with Affinity providers and department leads in coordinating educational programs and services.  She also provides corporate clients with valuable information regarding services offered through Affinity Occupational Health. Tammy has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from UW Oshkosh and over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and customer service.

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