Area wellness centers earn award


GREENFIELD — The county’s medical fitness centers are being recognized by a national association for a health coaching program.

Journey to Wellness, a 10-week program offered at the Hancock Wellness centers in Greenfield and McCordsville, works with clients on nutrition, exercise and behavior to help them make a lasting lifestyle change. The program recently received a 2017 Program Innovation Award from the Medical Fitness Association, the organization that issues certifications for medical fitness centers across the United States.

Journey to Wellness, which about 100 clients have taken part in since its inception in August 2016, serves as a cornerstone program of the medical fitness centers, said director David Flench. The program was nominated and went before a committee, who selected it as one of just 10 programs across the country to receive the award in 2017, he said.

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The Program Innovation Award isn’t the first accolade the wellness centers, which have about 7,000 members between the two sites, have received from the Medical Fitness Association, said Hancock Health CEO Steve Long. The facilities were recognized as the certified medical fitness center of the year in 2016 as well.

In the Journey to Wellness program, clients work with a wellness coach, a dietitian and an exercise specialist to set weekly and monthly goals, whether those goals are to lose pounds and inches or increase their energy, said Yvette Dixon, Hancock Wellness Centers programs and operations manager.

“Clients over the last year have had some really good results,” Flench added. “It’s not just about losing weight. This program is one that really helps people make a lasting lifestyle change.”

Wellness coaches consider the client’s situation in life and their obstacles to overcome, learning about their sleep, stress management, financial health and spiritual health among other things, said Michelle Graves, a dietitian and coach for the program.

“We look at who the client wants to be overall,” she said. “Someone might want more energy, to fit into different clothes or to keep up with their grandkids.”

Diet and exercise won’t make a lasting change to a person’s life unless the other aspects of their life are in balance as well, she said.

It’s a treat to work with clients and see the changes to their lives, Graves said.

Her clients make lifestyle changes that have them feeling better and more energetic, she said. One client had regular headaches, and after changing her nutrition habits, the headaches went away, she cited as an example.

“They see those results in feeling better, and it motivates them to continue on,” Graves said.

The Journey to Wellness program costs $495 for Hancock Wellness members and $645 for non-members, Dixon said.

Leaders at the Hancock Wellness centers worked hard to develop the program and seeing it recognized on the national level is gratifying, Dixon said.

“It is our passion,” she said. “It started out as an idea that evolved into a successful program that’s had an effect on people’s lives.”