Business owners and officials joined the Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) today at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital to announce 35 total WellSpots across the state. WellSpots are places and spaces that have made sustainable changes to make it easier for Louisiana residents aimed at improving health outcomes. The Department also announced the launch of a new website at WellAheadLa.com that makes it easy for users to find WellSpots in their community.

Of the 35 current WellSpots, the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge is the first hospital to receive a Level One designation, which is the highest level. Xavier University in New Orleans was the first university to receive the WellSpot designation, followed by the Our Lady of the Lake College. The full list of WellSpots is available below and all are searchable on the new website here.

"The 35 designees we are celebrating today are leading the way in Louisiana. I want to commend each of them for their commitment to making our state a healthier place to live, work and play," said LDH Secretary Kathy Kliebert. "I also want to congratulate Our Lady of the Lake on their designation as the first Level One hospital. Their designation is a commitment to the thousands of patients and employees who care for our loved ones every day. In fact, by becoming WellSpots, each of the companies and organizations now designated has made the health and wellbeing of Louisiana a top priority; they should all be commended for that."

"The health of our 7,500 team members in addition to caring for the health of our community is very important to our mission at Our Lady of the Lake," said Scott Wester, Our Lady of the Lake Chief Executive Officer. "As a healthcare provider this partnership with LDH and other WellSpots in the community demonstrates how we lead by example to promote and recognize smart choices in the workplace and at home."

"The environmental changes that have been implemented by these 35 WellSpots will play a substantial role in making it easier for students, patients, customers and employees to live healthier, more productive lives," said LDH Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane. "WellAhead Louisiana is about giving local Louisiana residents and leaders the tools they need to make their communities healthier. Each one of us has the opportunity to change our community for the better, to improve our overall health, whether by becoming a WellSpot, teaching our children to be physically active and to eat healthy or by allowing our employees to incorporate healthy choices into the workspace. I'm so excited to see how much more we can do together."

"Being healthy should not be difficult," said Regina Benjamin, Former U.S. Surgeon General, MD, MBA, NOLA.com Times-Picayune Endowed Chair Public Health at Xavier University of Louisiana. "We have to make the healthy choices, the easy choices. We hope Xavier's being a new WellSpot will help our students to do just that."

Several other new WellSpots joined LDH today, including Magellan of Louisiana and Baton Rouge-based childcare provider Parkview Baptist Early Learning Center.

"As a health care company, we know we can't just talk the talk, but need to walk the walk when it comes to wellness. Becoming a WellSpot was a no-brainer for us, and when we first approached our employees, the fervor with which they took on this opportunity said so much to me about how important it is for us to support our team members in making healthier choices," said Dr. Craig Coenson, chief executive officer of Magellan Health in Louisiana. "Additionally, the support we've received from the LDH Well-Ahead staff has made the process so easy. We are well on our way to being a Level One WellSpot, and I just want to thank the secretary and her team for giving us the support to make it possible."

"Parkview Baptist Early Learning Center is so excited to lead the way by not only becoming the first child care designated as a WellSpot, but the first Level One WellSpot in the state. To help Louisiana's citizens become healthier, we begin with her youngest citizens," said Parkview Baptist Early Learning Center Director DeShannan Paddock. "Early educators build the academic foundation of Louisiana's youngest citizens. As such, we must build the foundation that promotes healthy eating and healthy lifestyle behaviors.  We can begin to teach healthy eating by talking about and serving more fruits and vegetables. We can begin to model healthy lifestyle behaviors by discussing exercise and leading the children in various activities at some portion of the day. The staff at Parkview is excited to be a part of this great initiative."

Also announced today was the launch of the new Well-Ahead Louisiana website. The new website allows users to search for WellSpots in their area or by category or level. Visit www.WellAheadLA.com for more information.

Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana citizens. Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes smart choices in the spaces and places we live and work every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free to ensuring healthy lunch options or supporting workplace fitness programs.

Well-Ahead promotes voluntary changes without imposing new taxes or creating new rules. This is about Louisiana's people, leaders, businesses and organizations taking action because it is the right - and healthy - thing to do.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.

WellSpots recognized today, include:

Childcare Centers
Parkview Baptist Early Learning Center
6301 Camphor Street, Metairie, LA 70003, USA
Beary Cherry Tree
3117 Lake Villa Drive, Metairie, LA 70002, USA

Colleges & Universities
Xavier University
Drexel Drive, New Orleans, LA 70125, USA
Our Lady of the Lake College
7525 Picardy Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA   

Hospitals
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
5000 Hennessy Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
Louisiana Healthcare Connections, a Centene Corporation
8585 Archives Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA
St.Tammany Parish Hosptial
1202 South Tyler Street, Covington, LA 70433, USA

Restaurants
Good People Kitchen
1133 MacArthur Drive, Alexandria, LA 71303, USA
Mestizo
2323 South Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
Mid-City Market
714 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70806, USA
MJ's
672 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70806, USA
Fit-Blendz Nutrition Café's
6631 Louisiana 1 #10, Addis, LA 70710, USA

Worksites
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
1555 Par Road 504, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
1325 Wright Avenue, Crowley, LA 70526, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
225 Dunn Street, Houma, LA 70360, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
2730 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Lafayette, LA 70506, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
2390 West Congress Street, Lafayette, LA 70506, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
443 Heymann Boulevard, Oil Center Shopping Village, Lafayette, LA 70503, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
1057 Paul Maillard Road, Luling, LA 70070, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
1231 David Drive, Morgan City, LA 70380, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
500 North Lewis Street, New Iberia, LA 70563, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
Opelousas, LA 70570, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
102 Twin Oaks Drive, Raceland, LA 70394, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
1320 Martin Luther King Drive, Thibodaux, LA 70301, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
6550 Main Street, Zachary, LA 70791, USA
AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA 70884, USA
Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum
8550 United Plaza Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA
Amerigroup Louisiana
3500 North Causeway Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70002, USA
Amerigroup Louisiana
5353 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA
Amerigroup Louisiana
6425 Youree Drive, Shoppes at Bellemead, Shreveport, LA 71105, USA
Magellan
10000 Perkins Rowe, Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge, LA 70810, USA
UnitedHealthcare
3838 North Causeway Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70002, USA
UnitedHealthcare
8550 United Plaza Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA
Cardiovascular Institute of the South
8401 Picardy Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, USA


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