On any given day, you can catch Transportation and Traffic Management bus drivers spending hours driving people around Ohio State’s campus. Earlier this month, a group of drivers took a break from being behind the wheel to focus on their health.
Twenty-two people from TTM and some Administration and Planning staff took part in biometric health screenings in the Printing Facility.
Beth Bogard, assistant to TTM Director Beth Snoke, is a Buckeye wellness innovator. “I’ve always been interested in health and taking care of myself and wanting to encourage others to so the same,” Bogard said. “I am trying to bring healthy options and choices to people.”
Two Health Promotions Specialists set up shop in the conference room interviewing staff about exercise, dieting and past history. They took blood samples for diabetes screening and cholesterol tests. They also took blood pressure, pulse, height, and weight. Then they summarized the results and had a discussion with employees about their health and available resources.
“It’s important for everyone. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t go to the doctor too often, it may help you realize that you have issues,” Bogard said. “Maybe you’ve got high blood pressure, but you don’t want to get checked. You come here and discover something that you didn’t know.”
Karen Kish has been a Health Promotions Specialist for six years and was one of the nurses in the conference room.
“The purpose is two-fold,” Kish said. “One is certainly the measure. If you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where to go and what to do. The second purpose is to make sure individuals know that these are areas they have some control of and that they can make changes.”
So far this year, 64 TTM staff members have been screened. Bogard says about half the bus drivers have gone through the process.
“I just try to encourage them to come,” Bogard said. “It helps me realize that I’m doing the right thing. My cholesterol is good. My A1C is good. It helps you make some lifestyle choices. I need to eat more fruits and vegetables and walk at lunch, instead of sitting.”
The numbers are encouraging for Kish. “What you see is a trend that’s going in the right direction,” Kish said. “They are really ripe for the knowledge. We’ve got a lot of people who have stopped smoking. We hand out information about diet, eating fruits and vegetables, and we’ve seen a lot of them grab onto that information.”
Kish says they perform between 16,000 and 20,000 screenings per year. “I’ve seen people come back again. I did their screening before, and they’re very familiar to me,” Kish said. “When I see the same people again and we look back at what their numbers were before, it’s really fun to say look how your blood pressure has improved.”
The screening is free and is not required. If you take part in the screenings plus the Personal Health Assessment this year, then you’ll get a discount on your health insurance next year. The next screening is scheduled for August 14, open to TTM staff and people in the Printing Facility. The appointments last 30 minutes.