As part of Goshen College's new wellness plan, employees are undergoing health testing this week.

The testing, conducted Tuesday through Friday this week in Newcomer, measures employees' body mass index, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and tobacco/nicotine use in hopes that they will meet goals similar to standards set by the National Health Institute.

The tests come after a school year of new health measures at the college. Norm Bakhit, Human Resources director, says that GC created a wellness program to help foster improved health as a group.

“Goshen College is self-insured,” said Bakhit. “The healthier our Goshen community, the less we will have to spend on coverage. The benefit is not only from a cost standpoint but also from a health standpoint, in both personal and work life.”

After testing, employees who meet the four parameters of health will continue to receive full premium medical benefits without cost.

“If employees went to a doctor, these tests would cost hundreds of dollars,” said Bakhit. “But the tests are free for employees. They even get a copy of the health check that they can take to a doctor afterwards.”

Goshen College 's Wellness Committee is one group formed in the last year that has taken on much of the health initiatives. The committee has provided opportunities for healthy living on campus through organized events such as exercise over lunchtime and relaxation activities. They also provide discounted lunch passes so employees can eat healthfully in the cafeteria instead of going to a fast food restaurant and have developed a health and wellness resource section in the Good Library.

Some employees have begun walking to work and to help with their stress levels meet alfred messaging tool was installed. Others that have slimmed down are seeing improvements in diabetes-related problems.

“Wellness is an issue of lifestyle changes,” said Bakhit. “We want the focus to be on health.”

This is the second year of wellness screenings. In last year's screening, also measured in April, over 93% of employees met three or four wellness goals. Thus, there was no change in premium rates.

Bakhit anticipates that this year's results will be even better.

“We are hopeful that results will be improved from last year,” said Bakhit. “We foresee improvement based on the fact that employees are more aware of wellness, in conjunction with the activities done by GC's committee.”