Sept. 10 Lawrence symposium to highlight importance of workplace wellness

Elizabeth Ablah, a University of Kansas researcher, provides a workplace wellness workshop in June in Lawrence. Ablah will be the keynote speaker Tuesday at the WorkWell Lawrence symposium.

Elizabeth Ablah, a University of Kansas researcher, provides a workplace wellness workshop in June in Lawrence. Ablah will be the keynote speaker Tuesday at the WorkWell Lawrence symposium. by Karrey Britt

Does your workplace have bicycle racks or a Community Supported Agriculture program? Does your employer provide a Health Risk Appraisal and an incentive for completing one?

These are just a few of the culture and policy changes that will be discussed during the third annual WorkWell Lawrence symposium. The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Holiday Inn Lawrence, 200 McDonald Drive.

“Given that adults spend about half of their waking hours on the job, worksites can be the ideal place to initiate and support healthy environments,” said Carolyn Crawford, coordinator of WorkWell Lawrence, a coalition of 26 employers representing more than 11,000 employees. “The symposium provides a great opportunity for networking and sharing wellness strategies that work.”

Keynote speaker will be Elizabeth Ablah, an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine — Wichita. Ablah is working with Douglas County employees on establishing a comprehensive wellness strategy that can be used as a model for other businesses and organizaitons in the community.

“I’ve been impressed with Elizabeth’s ability to motivate and move people to think about wellness in a whole new way,” said Linda Koester-Vogelsang, court administrator for Douglas County District Court and a member of WorkWell Lawrence. “She has the ability to generate excitement about wellness in people who ordinarily wouldn’t be.”

In opening remarks at the symposium, Linda Sheppard, director of the Kansas Insurance Department, will give a brief overview of how prevention is highlighted in the Affordable Care Act. Lawrence Parks and Recreation will provide an exercise break that will be followed by breakout sessions about how to create a culture of health in workplaces. Breakout session speakers will be: Lori Carnahan, City of Lawrence; Leah Betzen, The Community Mercantile; Linda Koester-Vogelsang, Douglas County District Court; Angie Sommer, Allen Press; Laurie Comstock, KU Endowment; and Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Cost is $40. For more information or to register, visit workwelllawrence.org.

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