June 19, 2014

Vanderbilt recognized again for cancer prevention activities

Vanderbilt continues to win recognition for its commitment to helping employees stay healthy, including support for activities that may protect against cancer.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), in conjunction with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has been re-accredited as a CEO Cancer Gold Standard employer for 2014.

In 2001, former President George H.W. Bush asked a group of executives to use their influence to do something “bold and venturesome about cancer,” starting within their own corporate ranks. The result was the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and the creation of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard award which is presented to organizations that take specific steps to reduce the cancer risk among employees and their families through support for cancer screenings, early detection and healthy changes in lifestyle.

Winning the two-year accreditation requires an organization to establish programs to discourage tobacco use, encourage physical activity, promote healthy diet and nutrition, detect cancer at its earliest stages, and provide access to quality care, including participation in clinical trials. The award has recently been enhanced to place more emphasis on cancer prevention.

“It is up to each individual to accept responsibility for their own health, but the tools you are providing through the Gold Standard are no doubt helping to facilitate good decisions that will result in a healthier workforce,” said Martin J. Murphy, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer.

VUMC was an early proponent of cleaner air inside and outside of its buildings, banning smoking from the Medical Center campus in October 2008. The Health Plus fitness center for faculty, staff and students recently moved into a new, expanded facility on campus and the Health Plus program encourages staff to stay active through initiatives like the Start! walking program. The Medical Center also provides more healthy food options in the food courts.

“Research led by our own VICC investigators provides even more evidence that a healthy lifestyle contributes to a reduced risk for cancer and for cancer recurrence,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Molecular Oncology and director of VICC. “This award is more validation for our efforts to provide a healthy work environment along with cancer prevention strategies for our employees and their families.”