American Diabetes Association Names LSU’s Pennington Biomedical "Elite Corporate Health Champion"

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Released: Monday, September 25, 2017

A Healthier Louisiana Starts with a Healthier Workforce at this Internationally Known Research Center

Baton Rouge, LA - LSU's Biomedical Research Center has been named an Elite Corporate Health Champion by the American Diabetes Association for its commitment to inspire and encourage well-being among its employees. This year is the second year in a row that Pennington Biomedical has earned recognition from the ADA's new Wellness Lives HereTM initiative.

"We are committed to improving health throughout Louisiana and around the globe, and that includes our employees. Our work is focused on stamping out chronic disease, and our science has shown a healthy lifestyle is key to that. Our goal is to encourage the adoption of healthy habits which will benefit our team members, their families and our Center as a whole," said executive director Dr. Donna Ryan.

To qualify for the Health Champion Designation, Pennington Biomedical met the healthy living criteria in the areas of nutrition and weight management, physical activity and organizational well-being.

Pennington Biomedical's Employee Wellness committee coordinates a number of events and offerings focused on health for its 450+ employees, which contributed to the designation as an Elite Corporate Health Champion:

  • On-campus exercise classes each weekday, which include Pilates, Yoga and circuit training.
  • On-site fitness center and walking path around the on-campus lake.
  • Regular employee wellness challenges that incorporate physical activity, healthy eating and stress management activities.
  • Healthy meal and snack options provided for purchase at the Pennington Biomedical Market, which is managed by registered dietitians in Pennington Biomedical's metabolic research kitchen.
  • Vending machines with healthy options, managed by Pennington Biomedical's Dietary Assessments and Nutrition Counseling Laboratory.
  • Deliveries of healthy, fresh foods from local farmers via the Farm-to-Work Program, in collaboration with Our Lady of the Lake's Healthy Lives Program.
  • Smoke-free workplace and free smoking cessation programs.
  • Designation as a breastfeeding-friendly workplace.
  • Regular employee wellness tips delivered via a quarterly internal e-newsletter.
  • Access to an employee wellness website that features tools for weight management, including healthy options for eating out at restaurants and well-balanced meal ideas.
  • On-site walks, including the American Diabetes Association's Step Out; Walk to Stop Diabetes.
  • Standing desks available for in-office use.
  • Signs that encourage employees to take the stairs instead of elevators, along with reminders to "burn calories, not kilowatts."
  • Annual Healthy Holiday "Swapportunity" to showcase made-over healthy versions of classic holiday recipes.

"This designation from the ADA celebrates the work we do to combat chronic disease within our own walls," said employee wellness coordinator Angelique Litsey. "Right now 35 percent of Louisiana's population is considered overweight or obese, and 1 in 10 people have diabetes, while nearly 40% of the adult population has prediabetes and is at risk for the disease. That's why it's so important that we provide the tools our employees need to manage their health."

In addition to being named an Elite Corporate Health Champion, Pennington Biomedical has also been recognized as a WellAhead Spot and an American Heart Association Fit Friendly Worksite a program that has since been re-named Workplace Health Solutions.

For more information about Wellness Lives Here and the Health Champion Designation, please visit


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.