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  • January 24, 2017

Turtle Lake community benefits from BCBSND Rural Health Grant

Funds used to create yearlong employee wellness program

FARGO – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) is pleased to announce Northland Community Health Center (NCHC), Turtle Lake, was awarded a $1,500 BCBSND Rural Health Grant. The grant was used to create a yearlong employee wellness program for employees at all of NCHC's medical and dental sites.

The program includes education on healthy eating and overall wellness, daily workouts and physical activities, monthly fitness challenges, fitness classes, monthly healthy potlucks, a weekly wellness newsletter, incentivized smoking cessation and free flu shots.

According to the grant application, "A worksite wellness program is crucial to improving the health of Northland Community Health Center's employees," said Jessica Westphal, outreach and enrollment coordinator. "Most of our employees spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else, making it a prime venue for promoting healthful habits."

The BCBSND Rural Health Grant Program is a collaborative with the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota (UND). The purpose is to support local health care providers and their communities by offering funding for projects that champion increased physical activity and promote the health and well-being of rural North Dakotans.

"Our commitment to North Dakota extends well beyond the products and services that deliver peace of mind to our members. It extends to supporting the very communities that we serve and where our members live and work," said Tim Huckle, BCBSND president and CEO.  "We are so impressed by the local collaborations that are formed in support of these quality projects."

Through an agreement with BCBSND to help develop and administer the program, CRH facilitates the application process and review, notifies the grantees of their award determinations, and monitors each program's progress through the year and releases the grant funds. CRH has administered the program since its inception. A complete listing of the recipients from each cycle of the program is available on the CRH website, http://www.ruralhealth.und.edu/projects/bcbs-grant-program.