Northwest Permanente named healthiest employer in Oregon

August 16, 2018

Northwest Permanante has just been named a healthiest employer in Oregon! Dr. Imelda Dacones, NWP president and CEO, posted the following annoucement on LinkedIn:

We’re #1: Northwest Permanente Tops List of Oregon’s Healthiest Employers

Dr. Imelda Dacones

Every year, the Portland Business Journal names the Healthiest Employers in Oregon. This year, we were ranked #1 in the 1,500 to 4,999 employees category. This is the second year in a row we’ve taken the #1 spot in our size category! And, I’m honored to say, we have been ranked in the top 5 for the past 5 years in a row! 

Some clarification on employer names if you’re confused: Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) consists of 3 separate employers, i.e., 3 companies. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals is one company, in the >5,000 employees category. Permanente Dental Associates is another, in the 100-499 employees category. And, we, Northwest Permanente (NWP) are the other, in the 1,500-4999 employees category, with our physicians, clinicians, and administrative staff. 

The PBJ Healthiest Employer Awards recognizes companies that are committed to creating a healthy workplace. At NWP, the wellness and resilience of all of our employees is foundational – in fact, it’s one of the factors that helped us achieve B-Lab certified B Corp status! 

In the past year, we have formalized and created a wellness leadership team, led by our VP and Chief People Officer Dr. Ruth Chang; our Co-Directors of Wellness Dr. Norma Steiner, a gynecologist-oncologist, and Dr. Suzanne Deschamps, a Family Medicine physician; and, our Wellness consultant, triathlete Justin Pfeifer. This physician-led team is uniquely positioned to address the needs of our physicians, clinicians, and staff at Northwest Permanente, in work-life integration and to enhance joy at work.  

Our Wellness Program has many facets, including a Wellness Passport that encourages employees to complete activities in all aspects of wellness, including physical, spiritual, emotional, social, financial, environmental, occupational, and intellectual health. In addition, we offer multiple workshops to help our employees, physicians, and clinicians increase their resiliency and embrace mindfulness. And our unique Permanente Advocate Resource (PAR) program helps employees with personal and professional problems, including stress and burnout, depression and anxiety, grief, alcohol and substance-use issues, and life transitions. 

We also recently launched a sponsorship of the Forest Park Conservancy, which offers opportunities for our employees to volunteer for trail upkeep and activities such as nature walks, group runs, photography workshops, and other educational activities in the great outdoors.
We are so proud of our Wellness Program and are pleased to share some of our experiences. In October, at the International Conference of Physician Health in Toronto, our wellness leaders will exhibit a poster presentation on our Wellness Passport and will also present and speak on one of our innovative programs that helps take some of the burden off physicians when they are charting.
As we grapple with physician/clinician burnout and physician shortage, which will only worsen in the coming years, it’s more imperative than ever that we care for those who care for others. The needed focus on physician wellness, in fact, inspired a new Hippocratic Oath (the first revision since 1964): “I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.” The new oath acknowledges that a physician must first take care of herself or himself before s/he can help others. At NWP, we strive to live this oath every day.

Be Well and Thrive: at NWP, it’s not just a tagline!

NWP employees are are happy to join up for a monthly run in Forest Park.

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