Pharmacists playing key role in United’s wellness program

March 20, 2012

Pharmacists and dietitians are playing important roles in the new health-and-wellness program at United Supermarkets, a chain of 51 stores in Lubbock, Texas.

Pharmacists and dietitians are playing important roles in the new health-and-wellness program at United Supermarkets, a chain of 51 stores in Lubbock, Texas.

United recently rolled out a $1 million health-and-wellness program for both customers and its 10,000 employees. In addition, United’s Market Street stores began offering tours to shoppers in early March that include Easy Diabetes Shopping, Healthy Heart Cart, Hunt for Good Nutrition (kid-friendly), What Can I Eat? (for food allergies), and Healthy Shopping 101.

United also hired 4 registered dietitians, including Robin Hawkins, MS, RD, LD, as director of health and wellness. Hawkins recently began NuVal training – a scoring system that helps consumers determine the nutritional value of the food they are eating – for each store’s pharmacy manager.

“They [pharmacy managers] will then be encouraged to teach their teams to educate patients on the basics of NuVal when doing patient counseling for new heart or diabetes medications. NuVal can be used to help choose foods for all chronic diseases and this is what we will be focusing on,” Hawkins said.

United’s pharmacists will also encourage patients to sign up for the health-and-wellness store tours. The tours are meant to guide people to the “most nutritious products throughout the store” and explain the NuVal scoring system, according to United Wellness Manager Jennifer Gorman, MS, RD, LD.

Full-time employees are also encouraged to participate in the wellness program, which includes a confidential biometric screening completed by a registered nurse. The nurse then educates employees about their individual results.

Employees can also take part in wellness challenges and educational events held throughout the year and offered on a website, and can take part in 1-on-1 wellness coaching. Employees receive a discount on their medical insurance if they do not smoke and when they show improvements in risk factors.