AU earns Bronze level of the American Heart Association’s 2020 Workplace Health Achievement Index

Ashland University is recognized for their achievements in workplace healthiness.

Retrieved from: AU Public Relations

Ashland University is recognized for their achievements in workplace healthiness.


On Nov. 23, Ashland University announced in a press release that it had received a bronze rating on the American Heart Association’s 2020 Workplace Health Achievement Index for the second year in a row for their implementation of quality workplace health programs and culture of health best practices.

AU is one of 776 organizations that completed the index assessment this year, which was evaluated from July 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020. Of the organizations that completed the Index assessment, 35% received gold recognition, 29% received silver and 25% received bronze.

The index assessment scores organizations on 55 individual best practices, organized into seven categories of organizational best practices (leadership, engagement, programs, policies and environment, partnerships, communications, and reporting outcomes).

“I was thrilled that we had earned the award,” Deborah Sullivan, director of campus wellness said. “Especially when we receive recognition at the national as well as state level.”

Sullivan was inspired to pursue the American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Award after a former student of hers, Nicolas Bapst, went into cardiac arrest during an AU basketball game in late 2017.

“Nick was a student of mine and I loved watching him play basketball for AU,” Sullivan said. “After his heart incident I felt it was important to offer some kind of CPR training for all our students and staff at AU. UH-Samaritan provided training for our Peer Educators and faculty/staff during Faculty College. I found the Mobile Hands-Only CPR/AED unit sponsored by the American Heart Association; they were coming to Ohio and I applied for them to come to Ashland.”

Sullivan said that in 2020, AU received the max amount of $10,000 in Wellness Funding from the university’s health insurance provider Medical Mutual to support various forms of programming.

This year, those dollars were used to provide standing desks for Certified Healthy Departments, athletic shoes and Fitbits for “Step it Up” participants, spiralizers and Vitamix for “Real Food Challenge” participants, Crock pot and Vitamix for “Nutrition Lunch ‘n Learns”, and gratitude journals and gift cards for “Gratitude Challenge” participants.

Ashland University has also received other health-related awards in recent years. In 2017, under the Obama administration, AU received the White House Healthy Campus award. Out of 350 universities, 50 were selected to go to DC to receive the award, visit the White House and attend a presentation by Michelle Obama. AU was selected to attend.

In 2018, AU applied for the Healthy Business Council of Ohio: Healthy Worksite Award. “When we applied for the first time in 2018 we were told not to be disappointed if we only received a certificate, as most first-time applicants do, but we received bronze status,” Sullivan said.

AU’s award level was upgraded to silver in 2019, and Sullivan just recently received notification of Silver Status for 2020 as well.

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