Southcoast Health named Healthiest Employer by Boston Business Journal

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Southcoast Health was recently named as the Healthiest Employer of 2014 among large companies by the Boston Business Journal, the leading source for business news, research and events in the greater Boston area. The award recognizes organizations from across the commonwealth that are committed to creating a healthy workplace.

The announcement was made at the BBJ’s fourth annual Healthiest Employers program held March 27 at the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common.

“This is a special honor for our entire organization,” said David DeJesus, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Southcoast Health. “We have been dedicated to creating programs and options that are available to all our employees. It has been a priority to provide all Southcoast personnel with access to health and fitness initiatives that improve their overall wellbeing.”

Southcoast Health has made significant strides over the last decade to improve employee health through programs that promote healthy living. The organization offers free biometric screenings to all employees – monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol. Yoga and meditation classes are also offered weekly at a variety of Southcoast locations. Along with seasonal famers markets and nutrition classes, the organization promotes healthy choices in the cafeteria by eliminating fried foods and limiting sugary beverages in favor of water.

“The organization had great foresight when this movement started almost a decade ago,” said Kristi Aimone, Wellness Coordinator at Southcoast, who began the program from scratch when she was hired in 2005. “We have invested a lot of time, money and effort into creating wellness services and incorporating a new, healthier mentality into the culture. There is always more that can be done, but we are definitely headed in the right direction.”

The organization has also worked hard to curb tobacco use among its employees, offering incentives for non-smokers and smoking cessation classes for those trying to quit.

Southcoast Health, an organization with more than 7,200 employees spread across three hospitals – St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Tobey Hospital in Wareham -, a visiting nurse association, and physician practices throughout the region, took home top honors in the large company category (500 employees or more). Award applicants were ranked by size based on the number of employees.

The program collects data across six key areas of workplace wellness: culture and leadership commitment, foundational components, strategic planning, communication and marketing, programming and interventions, and reporting and analysis.

The categories, scoring, and benchmarking were formed with the help of the academic, medical, wellness and business communities. These professionals include PhD’s, MD’s, CEO’s and HR directors from across the United States.

For more details on Southcoast’s recognition, visit the BBJ’s website at