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Hamshaw Lumber's Story

Hamshaw Lumber 

Healthy Monadnock 2020, formerly Vision 2020, is our commitment to change the culture of health and health care in Cheshire County, and to involve the entire community in this change to become the nation’s healthiest community by the year 2020. The Champions program provides an opportunity to both give and gain encouragement for our journey toward wellness and,  as of Fall 2013, over 2,100 individuals, 11 schools, and  84 organizations and businesses have signed on with  their commitment to live, share, model and inspire  healthy behaviors.

Hamshaw Lumber Walkers

L to R: Sarah Spalthoff, Barbara Leatherman, Renae deMello, Doug Hamshaw, Frank Buckbee and Jeff Carey

Hamshaw Lumber, Inc., is an example of an Organizational Champion who has gone above and beyond in implementing policy change and creating programs which support the health of their employees. Working with several community partners, including CMC/DHK, Cheshire County HEAL, Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco-Free Communities, Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services (HCS), and Keene State College, Hamshaw’s focused on strategic worksite wellness priorities to determine which policies and programs would make the most impact for their employees.

They began by completing the Worksite Health ScoreCard assessment from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and launching an employee interest survey to establish goals and measure progress. They conducted their first annual health screening called “Know Your Numbers,” offering confidential measurements for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index to all employees. The results were reviewed with a nurse who provided counseling to help establish healthy eating and activity goals for each individual. Hamshaw’s Wellness Committee was able to view the data in aggregate (not individual data) to help determine goals and wellness programs, and to track progress. Lunch & Learn sessions were organized, a walking program was created, a tobacco resource counselor was made available to encourage employees to quit smoking, and a campus-wide tobacco-free policy was established.

“As of March 15th, there was no smoking on the property, and we were a bit apprehensive about how some of our employees would react,” said Doug Hamshaw, owner of Hamshaw Lumber, Inc. “I was surprised at how receptive most people were. I think it was a huge help that we started talking about this policy change six months in advance, and I sat down with people individually to discuss why we were doing it.”

The results from these initiatives have been incredibly positive. Many employees have quit using tobacco and insurance rates have gone down. Data from the screenings show substantial decrease in cholesterol, blood pressure and BMI and an increase in wellness activity participation. And a resulting sense of camaraderie and social support of sustaining healthy behaviors throughout the entire business has been created.