#3 Baylor College of Medicine – Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America

November 30, 2021 – Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) is a health sciences university that applies science and discoveries to further education, healthcare, and community services locally and globally. Located at the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Baylor is a multifaceted non-profit corporation that specializes in education, research, and clinical practice. Jesse Gavin, Senior Wellness Manager, shared what makes Baylor such a great place to work.

#3 Baylor College of Medicine – Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America

Baylor College of Medicine

Communication is Key to Success

November 30, 2021

Ranking: #3

Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Full-Time Employee Count: 10,606

About: Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) is a health sciences university that applies science and discoveries to further education, healthcare, and community services locally and globally. Located at the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Baylor is a multifaceted non-profit corporation that specializes in education, research, and clinical practice.

Jesse Gavin, Senior Wellness Manager, shared what makes Baylor such a great place to work.

View more of Jesse’s leadership pieces below:

Q: What specific element of your program is moving the needle for your well-being program and positively affecting your employees' health?

A: One of the top reasons individuals report not being involved in a wellness initiative and utilizing the various resources offered is unawareness. Communication and understanding are two of the most important factors in determining whether any initiative will be successful. Within the busy environment of an active medical school, research organization, and hospital system, it can be increasingly difficult to ensure programs and initiatives have enough reach to create an impact.

Our wellness program, known as BCM BeWell, actively utilizes 25-30 different forms of communication for all wellness initiatives including, but not limited to, newsletters, posters, media screens, video, intranet postings of information and videos, push notifications to smart phones, face-to-face presentations, and promotion tables to provide ongoing information to employees. We also share events in our closed Facebook group.

Our wellness portal, Vitality, has four built-in marketing tools. We post daily highlights to the portal newsfeed and announcements can appear on the front page and send mail messages. Using the portal app, BCMBeWell sends push notifications on a routine basis to send real time reminders.

Email is our best form of communication. BCM BeWell markets to employees, no matter where they are located, using monthly newsletters, direct email, the college’s weekly announcements, email signatures, and monthly announcement forums. Additionally, using wellness champions to expand our reach has proven to be effective. BCM BeWell has recruited a network of over 80 wellness champions to aid in dispersing communication to employees as well as to serve as peer role models.

“As Chief Operating Officer for Baylor College of Medicine, I am particularly proud of our award winning wellness program, BCM BeWell. BCM BeWell is a vital resource we provide to our employees that directly supports the College’s overarching goal of ‘Improving Human Health.’ This program has helped numerous members of our community reach their personal health and well-being goals. By using innovative technology and internal partnerships, we have been able to successfully lower our overall health risks as well as reduce healthcare-related costs for both our employees and the College. As we continue to expand as an institution, it is essential we continue to provide these effective resources to support our employees as they continue their work carrying out the mission and vision of Baylor College of Medicine.” – Joe Doty, Chief Operating Officer

Q: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how did your organization work to create a "Pandemic Plan" and what factors did you take into consideration when making these decisions? What effects of this plan are still in motion today and/or in the foreseeable future?

A: COVID-19 brought sudden and unprecedented changes for both our employee committee and Baylor College of Medicine as an organization. In March 2020, Baylor created an Incident Command Center (ICC) that would act as a central hub for ongoing COVID-19 response, planning, and communication. The ICC was composed of top medical professionals and mission are and business leaders that would help steer the efforts for Baylor during the pandemic. The first task of the ICC was to determine the needs of the Baylor community. This was done through a series of feedback surveys and open communication. Additionally, a Support Task Force was created to focus on meeting the initial needs determined by the ICC.

Since Baylor is a medical institution, we had employees on the front lines combating COVID-19 by treating patients and providing care at onsite testing centers, as well as leading research on COVID vaccines and other treatments. Initiatives enhanced or created by Baylor through collaboration of the ICC, the Support Task Force, Human Resources, and other various departments include:

  • Enhanced virtual care for medical and behavioral health
  • New mental health services provided by internal Baylor College of MedicinePsychiatry Department
  • Expanded in house care services from Bright Horizons
  • Enhance virtual presentations for on-demand viewing
  • Partnerships with food delivery services for medical, research, and COVID-19 testing staff
  • New partnerships offering cleaning services for scrubs, hotel stays for healthcare professionals, cognitive-based technology apps
  • Enhanced communication and supported from our wellness initiative, BCM BeWell, around the importance of connection, social wellness, and togetherness

Now, as we are returning to in-person working environments, we are continuing to provide support for mental health on all avenues, enhanced care for loved ones, and ongoing emotional support for anyone going through a difficult time.

Q: What makes your well-being program stand out? Relatedly, what statistic best captures the success of your program's effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: When asked about the future of wellness and what still needs to be done within organizations to show continued success, many experts will mention that enhanced partnerships between internal and external stakeholders is important. I believe within most organizations, departments operate in silos, which the same can be said within healthcare in general. Typically, the preventative and treatment side of an individual’s well-being is thought about and subsequently treated separately. BCM BeWell and Baylor College of Medicine utilize all of the resources available to build a comprehensive wellness initiative and provide resources to meet the needs of our community. We can utilize our internal resources, including world renowned specialists, for guidance, speaking engagements, and clinical support. The integration and contribution of our vendors and internal departments are what make BCM BeWell a well-rounded program. Internally, graphic design, communications, ergonomics, clinics, communications, legal, and our wellness center provide support to our employees.

Like most organizations, BCM BeWell noticed a reduction in yearly preventative healthcare visits and delayed in-person care due to the added fears of COVID-19 and human contact. However, despite these fears and due to the work of our partners, reports showed a $1.68 million savings from case management and 56% closed gaps in care with the two top care conditions being hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

“There are two things that excite me the most about the success of BCM BeWell and within Baylor College of Medicine. The first is how much senior leadership has supported the initiative over the past seven years. With one of Baylor’s core values being innovation, it has allowed the program the freedom to try new initiatives to meet the needs of the Baylor community. The second is how individuals within Baylor have helped create an overall culture of health and well-being. We receive numerous emails about how the program has helped people get started on their journey or has kept them motivated over the years. People have reported weight loss (100+ lbs.), reduced metrics, such as glucose and blood pressure, and that the program has provided a way for them to seek help when they needed it the most. I cherish every success story in which our program has helped play a role.” – Jesse Gavin, Senior Wellness Manager

Q: What strategies has your organization developed to ensure offering diverse and inclusive wellness programming?

A: Baylor’s leadership has committed to equity and inclusion for all members of the community and has signed the Association of American Medical College’s Gender Equity Pledge. The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion creates Initiatives that are intended to broaden the pathway for individuals who are underrepresented in medicine and science to pursue careers in healthcare and research, ensure patients from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds have access to healthcare services, promote employment opportunities at Baylor to diverse populations of Houston, and use small and diverse companies for the College’s supply needs. You can view a full list of programs offered by visiting the College’s website.

Q: As people have been avoiding care during the pandemic, how is your organization encouraging employees to get their preventive visits?

A: The College has and will continue to use various methods to encourage our community to continue or restarted their routine preventive visits. BCM BeWell partners with UnitedHealthcare, Vera Whole Health, and Vitality to create marketing strategies focused on prevention and condition management. We encourage our workforce to use appointment methods that are specific to their needs, in-person, and televisits. We were successfully able to effectively coordinate our on-site biometric screenings in the Fall of 2021 and incentivize follow-up visits with primary care physicians or Vera Whole Health to ensure they are taking the steps needed for care.  

To view the rest of our top 10 winners, check out our Healthiest 100 blog posts here! 

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