The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals' (DHH) Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative has designated 1,166 WellSpots across Louisiana in only a little more than a year of implementation. Well-Ahead supports healthier communities across Louisiana by promoting and making smart changes in the spaces and places we live and work in every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives. Organizations that meet certain voluntary health and wellness criteria are as designated as various tiers of WellSpots based on the level of wellness they achieve.

Since April 2014, LDH's Health Promotion team has provided technical assistance on the design and implementation of health policy or programs to 586 organizations in 169 cities in all 64 parishes across the state.

"I am so proud of the work done by small businesses, schools and higher education institutions. By designating more than 1,000 WellSpots, we are making important changes that support Louisiana residents who want to make healthy choices," said LDH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert. "I'm also so proud of the work of our Well-Ahead team, our wellness partners and the thousands of Louisiana residents who are making their individual health a priority. We can change the health of our state if we do it together; Well-Ahead is a great opportunity for us to do just that."

Historically, the Department approached worksite wellness by providing guidance without technical assistance. The result was only three worksite wellness assessments in one year. Well-Ahead has proven unique and incredibly successful by providing technical assistance to 586 organizations, designating 1,166 WellSpots that impact residents across Louisiana. A few of the most recently designated WellSpots include, Lake Charles Memorial, the City of Slidell, Christus Health, Lafayette Parish School District, Bossier Parish School District, and all of the LSU AgCenters. For a full list of WellSpots, visit www.wellaheadla.com/wellspots.

"We are privileged to work each day with business leaders who care about their  staff and take their responsibility to their employees serious. Being the first Chamber in the state designated a WellSpot and one of the first organizations in the parish to be designated was an easy decision for the Chamber. The process was simple and reinforced the choices we were already making at the chamber, not only for our staff but also for the 70 to 80 committee members who meet here on location each month. We were honored to be chosen as a location for this press announcement. WellSpots are an asset to our community, businesses and their staff," Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce President April Wehrs.

"At St. Tammany Fire District Number 1, our employees are our greatest asset. We do annual physicals, support a fitness program and now are recognized as a Well-Ahead facility," said St. Tammany Parish Fire District One Chief Chris Kauffman. "This WellSpot recognition coincides with the smart healthy choices and fitness that we continually promote."

In addition to providing technical assistance, Well-Ahead partners with local organizations that provide help state policy makers understand the challenges and successes of wellness programming at the local level. These relationships allow LDH staff to connect with communities, but, most importantly, it allows for Louisiana residents to connect with those resources in their area that can help them achieve their health and wellness goals. 

"Health is the foundation of everything we do every single day. It impacts how well we work, play, learn, teach and live. Making healthy choices has a real impact on the quality of life we can enjoy," said LDH Assistant Secretary for Public Health J.T. Lane. "Our agency's focus has been to provide more and better support to local organizations and communities to achieve better health. WellSpots promote better health across our state to combat the prevalence of obesity, tobacco-use and other chronic illnesses in the state."

Small choices towards wellness, enabled by the environments we're in every day, allow us the opportunity for balance. For more information on Well-Ahead Louisiana or to become a WellSpot visit the web site at www.wellaheadla.com or call (225) 342-9307. Follow Well-Ahead La's Twitter, Instagram account and Facebook.

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 residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook

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