BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - June 16, 2010) -   Virgin HealthMiles, a leading provider of employee health and productivity programs that reward individuals for getting healthy, today announced the recipients of its 2010 Eye on Wellness awards. The awards recognize an organization and an individual who act as outstanding wellness advocates and role models. This year, Arizona-based Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers were honored in the organization category and Dr. Mark McIntosh, emergency physician and director of employee wellness for UF and Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, was honored in the individual category.

The Eye on Wellness awards were presented in tandem with June's second annual National Employee Wellness Month. Created by Virgin HealthMiles with support from the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM), the initiative raises awareness about the benefits of workplace wellness and how prevention in the workplace can help to improve health and combat our nation's rising healthcare costs. Representatives from Virgin HealthMiles, STOP and IHPM served on this year's judging committee. More than 80 leading U.S. organizations and over 20,000 of their employees have lent their support to this year's National Employee Wellness Month.

"A new study conducted by Workforce Management Magazine showed that 62 percent of employers believe the workplace must play a leadership role in helping to curb healthcare costs. Emphasizing prevention in the workplace not only helps employees remain healthy and productive, but also helps lower overall healthcare costs," said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin HealthMiles. "Virgin HealthMiles congratulates Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers and Dr. McIntosh for serving as outstanding wellness advocates and exemplifying the value of prevention in staying healthy."

Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers, members of Catholic Healthcare West, help their 3,000 employees enhance their personal and professional lives through a wide-ranging wellness program that also provides quantifiable insight into its impact and effectiveness. The organizations anticipated their wellness initiative would not only result in a more healthy, productive and engaged workforce, but that their own healthcare costs could be better managed by preventing the onset of lifestyle-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers support their employees' health improvement efforts in a number of ways designed to keep them motivated and involved, including financial incentives, fun internal competitions and games, and health wellness fairs featuring guest speakers, perks like chair massages and healthy food and beverages.

While helping employees get healthier is a main priority for Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert, better controlling their healthcare costs is equally as important. The organizations are working with their health insurance provider to demonstrate a direct correlation between healthy behavior change and healthcare utilization, and look forward to positive quantifiable savings outcomes later in 2010.

As director of the UF and Shands Jacksonville Employee Wellness Program, Mark McIntosh has played a pivotal role in expanding the hospital's focus on wellness and formalizing a broad wellness initiative. As both an emergency medicine physician for the University of Florida College of Medicine Jacksonville and director of the UF and Shands Jacksonville Employee Wellness Program, Mark uses each interaction with both patients and employees as a way to educate and inspire others to become healthier.

Mark's vision and leadership have helped take the UF and Shands Jacksonville Employee Wellness Program to new heights. His efforts enabled Shands Jacksonville to be recognized as one of Jacksonville's 100 Healthiest companies by the Mayor's office, and his passion for wellness makes him valued and respected by all levels of employees, including the hospital's president and the dean of the University of Florida Health Science Center-Jacksonville.

Runners-up for the corporate award include CGGVeritas and Manatee County Government's "Your Choice" Health Plan. Runners-up for the individual award include Katherine Crane, Gulf Breeze Middle School (Gulf Breeze, FL); Amy Crumbaugh, Bridgeport Elementary School (Frankfort, KY); and Beatriz Maldonado, Ochsner Health System (New Orleans, LA).

Learn more about the award recipients, runners-up, and next year's Eye on Wellness awards at

National Employee Wellness Month is an annual initiative designed to raise public awareness about the benefits of workplace wellness and how prevention in the workplace can help to improve health and combat our nation's rising healthcare costs. Visit

Virgin HealthMiles provides employee health programs that pay people to get active. The company's Pay-for-Prevention™ approach, based on physical activity and healthy lifestyle change, attracts an average of 40 percent of employees who participate, which helps organizations reduce medical costs and improve employee productivity and satisfaction. The program is offered by employers, government entities, and insurers. Over 120 industry leaders representing more than 500,000 employees across the U.S., including American Diabetes Association, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Hospital Corporation of America-Shared Services, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, and SunGard, have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning program for their employees. The company is a member of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. For more information, visit

Contact Information:

Kathy Wilson
Tier One Partners