July marks National Wellness Month and, here at Aledade, we champion and celebrate wellness through our mission, our culture and ultimately everything we do! As an employer, Aledade offers a robust Wellness Program – and we also have a Wellness Employee Resource Group (ERG) committed to helping Aledaders take advantage of all of our benefits and live out all four wellness pillars – physical, mental, social and financial – each and every day in their personal and professional lives.
In honor of Wellness Month, let’s get to know three inspiring Aledaders and learn what wellness means to them!
Senior Physician Recruiter and Wellness ERG Co-Lead
I joined Aledade about two years ago at quite an opportune time. The Veterans ERG had just kicked off their annual push-up challenge, and I was all in! I used to do a push-up challenge every year and, at Aledade, I could enjoy both the physical exercise component of the challenge and also really get behind what it was representing. Additionally, as a very personable individual in my first fully remote job, it gave me the opportunity to connect with colleagues right away. I think my love for fitness was evident, and I ended up meeting two of our Wellness ERG leads at the time. Right from the get-go, I saw their passion about all aspects of health, and I signed up and jumped right into helping as much as I could. Fast forward to today, I’m honored to co-lead our ERG with the phenomenal Andrew Cocowitch!
While I’ve always loved physical fitness, I’ve learned throughout my life the dire importance of mental health. I grew up in a challenging household, endured intense bullying, dealt with very serious depression and to make a long story short, just battled a range of heavy emotions and life circumstances and setbacks. Being physically fit can only help you deal with so much. Prioritizing and taking care of your mental health, on the other hand, can change everything. And when I learned to care about myself and find my identity – not the labels others gave me, but my true identity – I entered a very healthy place…a very positive place…and I’m so glad I’m now in a position to give back!
At Aledade, I’ve been given many opportunities to develop my career and, at the same time, develop so much more than that. People here believe in me. They trust me and support me. There’s just an openness and absolutely incredible culture and team from top to bottom allowing me to do what I’m passionate about and skilled at…and I just feel so accepted here. I love it – and I especially love our Wellness ERG and how we’re taking that support to the next level.
Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialist
My previous employers had wellness programs and incentive programs and all that, but the accountability and abundance of resources is amazing here at Aledade – and they are what’s truly making the difference for me and my health in this season of my life!
I’ve been with Aledade for about seven months now as a Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) Specialist. In the past, I was a doctor in Venezuela (where I’m from), but when I moved to the U.S., I decided not to pursue taking boards and doing my residencies over again. I initially worked as a medical assistant, but then I found out about CDI – and now, here I happily am!
With my background, I know a lot about health. And while I love the four pillars of wellness we defined in our ERG, I tend to look at wellness through three categories: physical, mental and spiritual. In this season of my life, I feel like I’m taking great care of my mental and spiritual health, so I wanted to step it up in the physical category. And Aledade has really supported me in this aspect – with resources like the Wellness Coach app, but above and beyond that, with flexibility in my working hours. This makes a huge difference. For me, to get a workout in, I need to do it in the morning. (I’ve tried to do it after work, but by then, I’m tired and the couch is right there…) With working from home, I don’t have to drive an hour or more to get to my workplace. Plus, my markets are all in Pacific Time while I’m on Eastern Time in Florida. That means I get to knock out my workout in the morning, grab breakfast and coffee and then get on my computer to dive into my workload for the day.
My schedule also allowed me to join a runners’ club in my area. I’m very new to running…and I’ve never enjoyed it before. (I’ve always been more of a gym person who loves the elliptical and lifting.) But I wanted to get outdoors, and in Florida, running is something I can do all year long. I joined this group a few months ago, and now, I like to mix up my workouts throughout the week with running and lifting, and every now and then, I’ll do a YouTube video workout or pull up something on the Wellness Coach app. Dancing sessions are always a favorite and a great addition to my day!
To me, wellness is all-encompassing – it’s everything on every level that the body needs to thrive physically, mentally, emotionally…all of it!
I’m in my late 40s now and always struggled with my weight. On my 39th birthday, I said to myself that I was going to take that year to become the best me physically that I could be. That was what wellness meant to me then. I was not healthy – I felt bad, I couldn’t sleep, nothing was right, so I started focusing on eating more lean meats, fruits and veggies. And I also started walking, which eventually led to a curiosity in and total pursuit of running. It was slow and painful at first – I probably could’ve walked faster than I could jog initially – but after about six months, I was running just about every day and clocking in six-minute miles. Plus, I had lost 90 lbs. I felt physically and mentally fantastic!
But when my wife got pregnant with our youngest child, I backed off from running…and then we entered the COVID-19 lockdown. I noticed my mental wellness went south. And it was around that time that I was clinically diagnosed with ADHD. I also learned that many people who have ADHD are drawn towards physically challenging exercise because it helps mentally. So, I leaned into that when I got into that dark and depressive place…but it was then that I fully realized that wellness wasn’t just physical – it was just as much mental. Both had to be aligned. Counseling and mental health are far too often taboo, especially with men, but once I started working with a counselor and getting back into walking and running, that’s when I really felt like the best me overall.
The physical challenges we have here at Aledade are great – I’m a competitive person, and one day, I will beat Farzad at our company-wide step challenge – but being part of the Wellness ERG and our Diversabilities ERG has helped me focus on those important yet hidden areas of my life where I needed community and connections and just the ability to talk to and travel alongside others.
I heard someone once ask Farzad what he expects out of an Aledader and our culture. His answer was simple: “Be kind to one another.” And that’s genuine here. I came to Aledade because of our mission to create a health care system that is good for patients, good for practices and good for society. And to be part of that mission, and knowing that what I’m doing is helping people I’ll never meet or know…I love that. That makes me want to get up every day and do my best – and let me tell you, it’s amazing for my mental health.