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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital ‘Fit Pit’ opens
CFMH was chosen to be the first of Carilion’s network to initiate the program
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Courtesy Photo: The ribbon was cut Monday on Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital’s new “Fit Pit.” From left are Melina Perdue, Carilion executive vice president; Bill Jacobsen, vice president of Carilion; Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion president and CEO; Gail Nordhaus, R.N., health education; Garry Angle, executive director, Franklin County YMCA; Bud Grey, Carilion vice president of wellness/fitness; Cindy Galvan, hospital auxiliary president; Jenna Bartlett, Carilion director of wellness development; and Jeanne Armentrout, Carilion chief administrative officer.

Friday, August 2, 2013

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

Carilion Franklin Community Hospital has started a pilot program for employees that may spread to other Carilion facilities.

The hospital has opened its "Fit Pit," a gym in the basement of the Medical Office Building on South Main Street.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday.

Bill Jacobsen, president of CFMH, said the hospital was chosen to be the first of Carilion's network of hospitals to initiate the program, at least in part because preventive health measures have been a priority here.

"Fit Pit demonstrates another avenue for our employees to improve their own health as an example to our wonderful community," he said. "The staff at CFMH are very excited to be the first facility in our system to have a center like this, and are already using the center."

Jacobsen said a program to help employees lose weight actually started about two years ago after his wife, Jane, said to him, "We've got to do something about your weight."

He then thought about ways to get himself, as well as other hospital employees, involved and asked his administrative assistant, Martha Adams, for help. She got the ball rolling for a weight loss challenge for employees, modeled somewhat after the TV show "The Biggest Loser."

Jacobsen said 13 percent of the hospital's employees participated and almost 1,000 total pounds were lost in a year.

"We were chosen due to our focus over the past two years on health and wellness and significant weight loss by many members of our team," he said.

That total is almost up to 2,000 pounds during the hospital's "odyssey of weight loss," he said. "Now, we have to firm up what we have left."

Nancy Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic, was on hand for the ceremony.

"This (Fit Pit) is the first one," she said, praising Jacobsen for his work and vision.

Agee said if the Fit Pit proves to be successful, other Carilion facilities may follow suit.

Jacobsen said the Franklin County YMCA is also involved in the program, providing personal trainers for employees.

"We are also very pleased to partner with our local Franklin County YMCAs to benefit our team further with access to a full fitness facility through memberships available to our staff," he said.

Garry Angle, director of the Y, said he is excited about the partnership and giving employees a chance to get fit at the Fit Pit and at any of the three Y facilities in the county -- Rocky Mount, Westlake and Ferrum College.

Jacobsen said CFMH shares a common goal with the whole Carilion Clinic family, and that is to "improve the health of the communities we serve."

"That improvement starts with our own family (at the hospital)," he said.

"We are also working with many partners in the community through our Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT) to complete a community wide health assessment," he added. "The assessment will be completed this month and the community should see more initiatives resulting from that assessment."

The gym has state-of-the-art treadmills, TV monitors donated by the hospital's auxiliary, free weights, a fitness machine and other fitness accessories.

Jacobsen said the Fit Pit is open for employees 24 hours a day.

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