Southeastern designated by state as first Level Two university Wellspot

Monday, March 30, 2015
by: Tonya Lowentritt or Rene Abadie

HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University is the first university in the state to receive Level Two WellSpot status, a designation through the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) initiative.

Well-Ahead Louisiana is an endeavor of the DHH aimed at improving the general health and wellness of Louisiana citizens.

DHH Assistant Secretary for Public Health J.T. Lane encouraged other organizations to follow Southeastern's lead.

"Becoming the first university designated as a Level Two WellSpot shows Southeastern Louisiana University is a leader within Louisiana's higher education community," Lane said. "Small, but very significant, steps such as promoting physical activity and healthy eating can add up to enormously positive outcomes for students, faculty, staff, their families and the surrounding community."

The Hammond-based university received the Level Two designation after meeting Well-Ahead initiative requirements such as the implementation of the 5-2-1-0 program, which provides a simple, memorable formula to help participants stay healthy. Partners in the 5-2-1-0 program focus on the importance of eating at least five fruits and vegetables, using no more than two hours of digital screen time, getting at least one hour of physical activity and not drinking any sweetened beverages every day.

Southeastern also completed all five steps in the Louisiana Business Group on Health Worksite Wellness Toolkit. These steps include submitting documentation of support from the organization's leadership, selecting a designated program leader, conducting a worksite assessment, creating an implementation plan and establishing a worksite wellness committee.

The university met addition requirements, including having a student health center, a recreation center with a full gym, free nutrition counseling for students, a tobacco-free policy and a plan to promote the LA Tobacco Quitline.

"We're proud to be the first university in Louisiana to receive this designation," said Ralph Wood, assistant dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and chair of the university's Employee Wellness Committee. "Our goal is to provide as healthy an environment as possible for our staff, as well as for our students. This is but a first step in our approach."

"Colleges and universities have an enormous opportunity to influence the health and wellness of their students, staff, faculty and visitors through adoption of smart, wellness-focused policies," said DHH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert. "Southeastern deserves our recognition and support for taking steps to encourage Louisiana's future workforce to live healthier lives."

Wood said the intent of the program is to strongly promote the concept of wellness using the guidelines associated with the WellSpot Toolkit.

"It is important that we get input and cooperation from our students. Their health and wellness are important to us," Wood said.

Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes voluntary changes without imposing new taxes or creating new rules. The initiative is designed to help Louisiana's people, leaders, businesses and organizations take action because it is the right - and healthy - thing to do, added Kliebert.

Visit the Well-Ahead website,, for more information about becoming a WellSpot and for worksite resources. You can also follow Well-Ahead for weekly tips on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.


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