May 23, 2008

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Many of us can't get to Health Plus to work out because we have to drop off and pick up children at daycare. Why can't Vanderbilt give discounts to YMCA locations outside of Nashville, so that we can exercise closer to home in the evenings?

Answer: Vanderbilt full- and part-time faculty and staff can now save up to $100 in joining fees at all Middle Tennessee YMCAs. To sign up, visit the YMCA of your choice or call 259-YMCA. Income-based membership rates are available for those who qualify. YMCA locations offer daycare on-site while you work out.

Having our own fitness facility ensures that cost is no barrier to exercise for employees, but we don't want exercise be limited to the Health Plus facility. Faculty and staff are encouraged to exercise at any place, any time, depending on their preferences.

Given our diversity, we cannot cover everyone's needs. People's choices are apt to differ in terms of type of exercise preferred, time of day (or night) exercise occurs, and the locations found to be most convenient.

The Go for the Gold wellness credit pays single employees up to $240 per year, and participation by a spouse or same-sex domestic partner brings an additional $120. Many use that money to buy health club memberships close to home.

While we have worked out the YMCA discount, we have also found that sometimes other exercise organizations with memberships will give a discount to Vanderbilt employees if asked.

— Mary Yarbrough, M.D., M.P.H., executive director, Faculty and Staff Health & Wellness