The Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade, an initiative of the Miami-Dade County Health Department, announced the winners of its third annual “2011 South Florida Worksite Wellness Forum and Awards” at a recent ceremony at the Miami Beach Resort in Miami Beach.

The program honored South Florida companies that demonstrate a commitment to employee wellness and whose programs produced positive health outcomes.

The winner in the small business category – companies with less than 500 employees — was Seitlin Insurance and Advisory Services, 9800 NW 41st St., Miami, a privately owned and independent insurance and advisory service company with 135 employees.

The winner in the mid-sized category – businesses with 500 to 1,000 employees – was Community Health of South Florida Inc., 10300 SW 216th St., Homestead, a private non-profit federally qualified healthcare center with 565 employees.

The winner of the large business category – businesses with more than 1,000 employees – was the School Board of Broward County, the nation’s sixth largest fully accredited K-12 and adult school system, with 28,653 employees.

Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami-Dade County Health Department, in an address during the forum, urged employers to boost their wellness programs.

Diane Canova, vice-president of Policy and Programs at Partnership for Prevention, delivered the keynote address, providing the national perspective on the state of employee wellness.

“In an era of rising healthcare costs and increased risk for chronic diseases, this program is essential for educating the local business community about the many wonderful benefits that worksite wellness programs provide,” Rivera said. 

Business owners, managers, human resource professionals, insurance brokers and those interested in wellness attended the luncheon. 

A statement from the Miami-Dade County Health Department said more than half of healthcare costs is due to unhealthy lifestyles and stress.  Tobacco and alcohol use, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition all contribute to increased health costs, the statement said.

According to the department, many employers have already experienced the benefits of a healthier workforce, including reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and an overall improvement in staff morale and company loyalty.

The Miami-Dade County Health Department started the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade in 2003 to address what it saw as increasing rates of chronic diseases in the community.

The Consortium comprises community agencies that work in collaboration to promote healthy lifestyles, including a healthy diet, regular physical activity and not using tobacco products.

The Worksite Wellness Committee comprises volunteers dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles in the work place by sharing information on best practices and by creating partnerships to implement worksite wellness activities. 

For more information, call Gabrielle Solomon, 786-888-5513, e-mail or visit