Published: February 6, 2008
Photo by Jim Gathany
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is rolling its healthier worksite initiative, quality of work-life, and internal environmental protection efforts into a new, coordinated "Green and Healthy" initiative.
The purpose of this initiative is to make healthy and environmentally sound workplace choices easier for all CDC staff and to make CDC a workplace model for health promotion, environmental responsibility, and quality of work-life programs.
Green and Healthy is allowing the Agency's employees to impact not only their own health, but also that of their families, communities, and the environment, following the idea of "the health of the world starts with me." It will not only offer the opportunity to engage in green and healthy activities at work and to carry them into their personal and community life but it will also ask employees to propose and work on new solutions to make CDC a greener and healthier place to work.
The Green and Healthy initiative dovetails with CDC's Health Protection Goals, particularly Healthy Communities, Healthy Homes, and Healthy Workplaces, and CDC's Designing and Building Healthy Places, which discusses significant issues such as accessibility and gentrification related to land use.
"This effort has something in it for everyone," said Casey Chosewood, MD, director, Office of Health and Safety (OHS). "This initiative gives us a common platform to sustain personal wellbeing with the wellbeing of our environment and community. We're all committed to positively impact the health of people all around the world."
This new "green and healthy" initiative builds on the success of work that has been done the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) and OHS. CDC has already become a model for other government agencies. Efforts related to the Health Workplace Initiative include walkable stairwells, which led to a mandate for central attractive walkable stairwells in all of CDC's new buildings; walkable campuses; more healthful choices in our cafeterias; and garden markets that make fresh produce available during the week on several of our campuses. The new initiative adds "green" components as well as continues to support and expand the healthy options that have already been implemented.
Photo by Jim Gathany
"In order for CDC to be credible in promoting health and environmentally sound programs across the nation and the world, we should model those practices here as an agency," said Kathleen E. Toomey, MD, MPH, director, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion. "This is an opportunity to energize, re-invigorate, and broaden our worksite initiatives."
More than 300 employees, contractors, fellows, and others have expressed an interest in participating in one of several sustainability workgroups that focus on facilities, transportation, green purchasing, food management, green communication, electronics management, recycling and metrics. CDC recently detailed a Chief Sustainability Officer for 120 days to lead the efforts of the workgroups.
"I am systematically meeting with each of the workgroups to hear more about their specific goals for the future," said Liz York, Acting Sustainability Officer. "CDC has been making great progress on the sustainability front for years, and these workgroups are committed to helping the Agency continue to lead the way."
The Green and Healthy Workgroups are also working to develop a comprehensive communication plan to assist in the development of helpful tools and programs to engage the CDC community. They are also working on activities for this year's Earth Day celebration.