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Groton resident receives Dept. of Public Health Champion Award


GROTON — Groton resident Gregory Baker was one of 14 Department of Public Health employees presented with the 2010 Public Health Champions Award at a ceremony on Oct. 28.

Baker was honored as a key member of the Tewksbury Hospital Workplace Wellness team. The afternoon ceremony was held at the Statehouse, Gardner Auditorium, to acknowledge the team’s dedication to residents of the Commonwealth. The team has continuously worked to improve the health and well being of the residents.

He and his team developed six focused programs for wellness. They include The Eat Right Challenge, the Loser, Watchers at Work and the Group and a Flight stairs program.

The programs were a result of a survey taken by hospital employees. Based on the needs and responses of these employees, the programs were expected to increase physical activity, healthy eating diets and weight loss.

According to DPH Public Relations Manager Julia Hurley, the results were outstanding. The Biggest Loser program alone resulted in 124 members losing a total of 448 pounds.

DPH felt that it would be a perfect chance to acknowledge some of the employees who have continued to do excellent work, especially during these difficult fiscal times.

“It was a great opportunity to reward the DPH employees,” said Hurley. “As we all know, it’s been a rough few years with the current economy. The employees have continued to do excellent work for the Commonwealth even though, you know, there have been fewer resources available.”

Selection of the award is an internal process. This means that fellow employees within the department nominate the recipients.

The Department of Public Health defines a public health champion as, “an individual or group who has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to the notion that we protect, preserve, and improve the health of the residents of the Commonwealth.”

The commissioner of Department of Public Health John Auerbach presented the award that afternoon. All DPH employees were invited to attend and to celebrate the accomplishments of the 14 recipients.

“It was really nice,” said Hurley. “It was in a big auditorium with a couple hundred people in attendance. There was also a photo-op after the ceremony.”

The Tewksbury Hospital, 365 East St., treats both acute and chronic medical conditions. They also provide psychiatric services at the extended care level.