The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) is excited to be launching their 2014 employee wellness programme on Monday April 7th as a kick off on World Health Day.  This workplace wellness programme titled Take the Challenge Be Fit: Stay Healthy' is spearheaded by the Public Health Department.Dr Kiran Kumar, Medical Officer of Health, said he is looking forward to this years programme.  We offer this wellness programme to staff, as well as facilitating it to other government and private organisations and have been doing so since 2006.  This three month programme is designed to encourage staff to expand their outlook on wellness and encourage healthy living by eating well, increasing physical activity, reducing stress and building healthier self-esteem, Dr Kumar said.This workplace wellness programme was open to all HSA staff through an open enrolment process.Ms Therese Prehay, Health Promotion Officer, said the response from staff has been positive.  This programme is very intensive and is designed so participants are more inclined to live a healthy lifestyle, even after the programme is completed with an ongoing yearlong maintenance component, Ms Prehay said.  At the start of the programme each participant has his or her measurements of waist, height, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and blood work to test cholesterol and blood glucose taken to document their starting point.Each participant is required to keep personal goals which are monitored throughout the three month programme, as well as a follow-up check one year from now.  The Take the Challenge programme offers a range of activities including educational lunch-and-learn sessions as well as group counselling sessions covering topics such as how to best manage stress.At the conclusion of the programme, participants have the opportunity to win in various categories, Ms Prehay said.  This brings an element of competitiveness to the programme which encourages each employee to reach their personal goals.Mrs Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer of Health Services Authority said that wellness in the workplace is very important within the organisation.  We strive to provide the best healthcare experience to our patients so it is important to encourage our staff take care of their physical and mental health as well, Mrs Yearwood said.Last years Cayman Islands Healthcare Conference theme was focused on the shared approach to workplace wellness, which is a reflection of how important employee wellness is on a day to day basis, Mrs Yearwood said.  We have many employee health initiatives that will be implemented as an outcome from the conference.For more information about this programme, contact Therese Prehay at the Public Health Department, 244-2632.