Healthy U

-A A +A

‘University’ is MCMH’s effort to build a healthier community

By The Express

Montgomery County Memorial Hospital launched a population health program in 2015 with a goal of improving community health. 

MCMH CEO David Abercrombie said, “After 40 years in healthcare, I think the MCMH population health program will be the program I will be most proud of. Can you even image doing good things for people that will last generation after generation? I think this is what we’re doing.”

But to improve community health, MCMH first had to make its own workforce healthier. This was created through using strategies such as creating a healthier culture at the hospital. 

Improvements made to make the hospital a healthier place to work include:

• Improving access to healthier food choices by enhancing menu options in the cafeteria

• Posting nutrition information for menu items at the point of sale

• Sponsoring the Red Oak Farmers Market on- and off-site

• Adding the Wellness Walkway, an indoor walking path with signage

• Renovating the on-site fitness facility and adding onsite exercise classes for employee benefit 

• Hiring a full-time personal trainer in the Population Health Department to provide employee and provider referred exercise training

• Certifying 3 employees with life and motivational interviewing coaching credentials

• Improving the vending machine options to offer healthy choices

• Removing soda machines from campus 

• Rebuilding the employee wellness program to increase engagement in personal health responsibility


Healthy University

Moving forward, MCMH next launched a community wellness program, called Healthy University. 

Healthy University includes women’s health, weight control, diabetes management, heart health and health literacy programs. The tools Healthy University uses are education events, various community activities, health screens, and home monitoring. They include:

• Intensive Addictive Eating Behavior Therapy (IBT). IBT is a comprehensive, individualized counseling services that helps participants attain a health weight. It is provided by a Registered Dietitian and includes 23 individualized nutritional and motivational counseling sessions held in a private setting. A plan is tailored for the participant, using evidence-based nutrition guidelines. Patients must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 31 and have a doctor’s referral.

• Evolve Weight Management. This isn’t a fad diet. Evolve is a medically supervised, team approach to weight loss. This program helps participants reach their unique healthy weight by using a variety of healthy weight maintenance tools. It uses IBT therapy (see above) nutritional counseling; medically directed exercise with a medically oriented certified personal trainer, and in some cases, a balloon is placed in the stomach using a thin flexible tube and camera that is passed through the mouth. The balloon is then filled with water and over a course of six months, helps the participant feel “full” and less hungry. This procedure, sometimes called bariatric endoscopy, has impressive results with average weight loss of about 35 pounds. Together, these tools, used with physician oversight, help the participant make lifestyle changes that achieve long-lasting weight loss.

• Medically Referred Exercise Training (MRT). MRT is an individualized physical activity program that helps the participant improves their health. The physical training is led by a certified personal trainer. Anyone qualifies for this program with a provider referral. 

• Lunch n’ Learns. Lunch n’ Learn presentations are taught on a variety of healthy topics including nutrition, exercise, stress management, and more. The presentations are facilitated by one of the MCMH Healthy University specialists.

• Healthy Food, Healthy You Cooking Classes. Everyone gets hands on experience and learns cooking techniques and explore new flavors while making diet specific meals. MCMH Registered Dietitians, Jennifer Bass and Erin McNamara lead the classes while sharing their expert tips and tricks!

• “Take 12!” Fun Run/Walks. One 5K fun run/walk is held each month for a total of 12 events throughout the year. The participant cost is a one-time fee of $25 which pays for the entire year.

• Wellness Walkway. The Wellness Walkway consists of two different walking paths inside the hospital. Both paths are open to the public and to patients and employees until 7PM each day. Maps are available at the registration desk. Simply follow the green apples pictures located on the walls along the path.

For more information, check out Healthy University on www.mcmh.org or call Ashley at 712-623-6462!