June 09, 2023 – ARH President and CEO Hollie Phillips, along with members of the Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center (HRMC) staff and several system-level staff members, celebrated the grand opening of The Grow More Garden on June 5. This employee garden is on the HRMC campus and is available to all HRMC employees.
The garden features more than one dozen raised beds. Hospital departments have chosen beds and started planting vegetables, flowers, and non-flowering plants. There are two large picnic tables in the garden along with a beautiful pergola with bench seating where employees can enjoy breaks. Kent Adams, ARH HR Event and Project Coordinator, built the boxes, tables, and pergola on-site along with assistance from Erin Bingham, ARH Wellness Coordinator, and the maintenance team at HRMC.
ARH has a strong commitment to employee wellness. This commitment revolves around six pillars: Physical Activity, Nutrition, Sleep, Stress Management, Avoidance of Risky Substances, and Social Connection. In order to bring that focus into action, ARH has sponsored several initiatives including hikes with CEO Hollie Phillips, increased healthy food options in the cafeterias, and challenges designed to increase physical activity. In addition to activities, ARH has shared a multitude of educational messages that highlight the six pillars.
Interim Big Sandy Regional CEO Rocky Massey says, “The employee garden encourages healthy nutrition by learning about gardening and (allowing employees) to take home the produce they grow if they choose. The act of gardening is increasing physical activity and research shows that a connection to nature can improve mental health and emotional well-being. There’s also a social connection by opening a beautiful outdoor break area through the construction of the garden.”
The garden was made possible thanks to the generous donation from the Highlands Ladies Auxiliary. Doris Chandler (President), Martha Damron (Treasurer), and Charlotte Hall (Gift Shop manager) attended the ceremony representing the organization.
ARH CEO Hollie Phillips praised employees saying, “I’m so proud of the Highlands team for all their work and enthusiasm with this project. I appreciate the vision of Sonya Bergman (Chief People Officer) and the HR team. I’m also proud of our resident rock star Kent Adams who can design and build anything.” Phillips continued, “This is just one of the things we are doing around our ARH system. We truly believe food is medicine and we are working with physicians to write prescriptions that include healthy food, not just pharmaceuticals.”
Tiffany Herald, Vice President, Benefits and Wellness, sees this garden as another way to put action behind ARH’s mission of improving health and well-being. She says, “ARH has made a commitment to improving the well-being of our staff, and this is one of the many ways we are accomplishing that mission. We work hard to provide employees with the tools necessary to choose healthier lifestyles including free gym memberships, healthier meal options in our cafeterias, educational programming and more. I’m proud of the work of our Wellness Team and Highlands ARH staff, and we’re grateful to the auxiliary members for their generous donation.”
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.