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Castle Medical Center in Hawaii — LivingWell in the Blue Zone


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Moani Wright-Van Alst, Communication Resource manager, Hawaii Medical Service Association; Cherie Andrade, Blue Zones Project Koolaupoko Community Program manager; Suzanne Asaro, director of Rehab, Joint Care & Bariatric Services; Laura Westphal, vice president of Patient Care; Kathy Raethel, president & CEO; Nicole Kerr, director of Wellness & Lifestyle Medicine; Ruby Hayasaka, director of Nutritional Services; Travis Clegg, vice president of operations; and Heidi Kim, vice president, Blue Zones Project Hawaii. Photo: Castle Medical Center


After months of hard work by LivingWell committee members, Castle Medical Center in Kailua, Hawaii, has been recognized as the first Blue Zones Project Approved worksite in Hawaii. The project complements Adventist Health’s LivingWell program to help people live longer, healthier lives and promotes change in communities to make them better places for people to live. 

The Blue Zones Project developed from the 2008 book “The Blue Zones” which identified five regions where people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States as a whole. Now, the organization works to develop “Blue Zones” in workplaces and communities across the country.

“Castle Medical Center shares many of the same values as one of the world’s original Blue Zones in Loma Linda, California,” said Kathy Raethel, president and CEO of CMC. “We believe Blue Zones Project offers the tools and resources to make meaningful improvements to the health, happiness, and longevity of everyone in our community.”

Adventist Health’s LivingWell employee wellness program goes hand in hand with the Blue Zones initiative as it challenges and supports employees in their journey to healthy living. LivingWell offers onsite biometric screenings, weight management and nutrition coaching, tobacco cessation, onsite fitness classes and access to dietitians or personal trainers.

  LivingWell Dee Hearn, Respiratory Care, blends up a smoothie on the Blender Bike.  Photo: Castle Medical Center

In addition to its LivingWell program, CMC was selected as a Blue Zone based on several other initiatives. The vegetarian bistro, healthy vending machine options and food labeled “Blue Zone Project Inspired” give employees a variety of healthy choices at mealtime. For special events and meetings, CMC also developed guidelines to encourage healthier snacking. In the office, employees with desk jobs are offered ergonomic workstations for healthier working. A group of 209 employees also took the Blue Zones personal pledge to be more intentional about finding ways to get active and make healthy choices.

In March, CMC hosted a Blue Zone recognition ceremony where guests could sample healthy appetizers and blend their own smoothies using “blender bikes.” Raethel and Cherie Andrade, community program manager of Blue Zones Project Koolaupoko, performed a maile lei untying ceremony akin to a ribbon-cutting, signifying the beginning of CMC becoming a Blue Zone worksite.

“To have the support of Castle Medical Center as the first Blue Zones Project Approved worksite in Koolaupoko® demonstrates how committed the hospital is toward improving the health and well-being of the members of our community,” said Andrade, “Partnering with the only primary health care facility in Windward Oahu will continue to strengthen Blue Zones Project’s goal of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.”

®Koolaupoko is a region of northern Oahu

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