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Vanderbilt recognized for innovations in overcoming health care disparities

Mar. 12, 2014, 9:37 AM

The National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of nearly 400 large U.S. employers, has selected Vanderbilt University as a winner of an Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities Award.

Mary Yarbrough, associate professor of medicine and executive director of Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness, accepted the award—one of six given to innovative employers—on March 7 at a national meeting of the NBGH in Washington, D.C.

“Your Occupational Health Clinic, Work/Life Employee Assistance Program and Health Plus programs to reduce health care disparities within your employee population should be commended, and we hope that you continue to expand and grow your efforts to address health care inequities within Vanderbilt University’s workforce,” Helen Darling, president and CEO of the 
National Business Group on Health, and Joneyse Perkins Gatling, the assistant manager of the group’s Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-Being, said in the letter announcing the award.

Yarbrough noted that Vanderbilt’s success is rooted in the institution’s people.

“Vanderbilt University is blessed with a rich diversity in its workforce,” she said. “The Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness program seeks to engage our community by appreciating the differences inherent among different ethnic, racial and gender groups. We strive to achieve the same high engagement rates while acknowledging differences.”

In giving Vanderbilt the award, the NBGH noted specific achievements, including a nearly 10 percent increase in flu shots for African American and Asian populations, a 26 percent decrease in sedentariness in the African American population and a 5 percent reduction in smoking for those employees.

“We are excited that Vanderbilt well-being programs are being recognized by the National Business Group on Health for our efforts in reducing disparities among all groups,” Yarbrough said.

Other winning institutions were Aetna, Baptist Health South Florida and the Rochester High Blood Pressure Collaborative, which was created with employers Paychex, Wegmans and Xerox.

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