Courtesy of Sandra Grunwaldt Sandra Grunwaldt, SJRMCÕs Full Engagement Training manager, shows students at Bluffview Elementary how to exercise with
Courtesy of Sandra Grunwaldt Sandra Grunwaldt, SJRMCÕs Full Engagement Training manager, shows students at Bluffview Elementary how to exercise with therabands at a health fair on Thursday.
FARMINGTON — Helping people life healthier, happier and more balanced lives is the goal of San Juan Regional Medical Center's "Full Engagement Training," which has assisted thousands of employees and students throughout the county become more physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

The medical center has been offering the training to its own employees since 2004, but opened up the program to local schools in 2008, and to community businesses and groups in 2010.

Over 1,200 employees, including some from Merrion Oil and Gas, DJ Simmons and the cities of Farmington and Durango, have enrolled.

"FET is a pretty phenomenal program, and has seen a progression of successes," said Sandra Grunwaldt, the hospital's FET and diabetes training manager. "We're very fortunate to have something this professional and scientific in the community."

Once a company's employees sign up for the training, they attend a two-and-a-half day session at San Juan College, where registered dieticians, nurses, and personal fitness trainers provide information on how to form healthy habits.

Participants also receive lab work and lean body mass assessments, a food diary to track nutrition, regular newsletters, and healthy snacks during the sessions. Partnering with San Juan College, FET also offers participants a gym membership and fitness coaching at the college's Health and Human Performance Center. Members continue to attend wellness training sessions throughout the year, and an online program helps them stay on track.

Grunwaldt said the push for businesses to foster health among employees is increasing.

"A lot of businesses are looking for ways to help their employees take care not just of themselves, but for ways to help them become fully engaged people," she said. "Keeping employees healthy is also a component of healthcare reform."

As part of a wellness initiative, the city of Farmington sponsored 24 of its full-time employees last year, said Velala White, administrative aid in the city's insurance and benefits department. White said the positive results were immediately noticeable after employees started the program.

"We spoke with supervisors and employees, and they could all see an immediate difference in those who were in the program," she said.

Despite these positive results, White said she is uncertain if the city will participate this year due to some personnel changes within the Human Resources Department.

"It really made a difference in the lives of the employees, and we even had calls from some of the employees' spouses, who noticed the change and wanted to also participate."

Cost of the program is $550 per participant, which the companies normally pick up, though Grunwaldt said individuals not connected with a group are also welcome to pay separately and join a training session.

"I had a woman tell me she had recently lost her job and didn't know what the next chapter of her life would be, so FET was a good option," said Grunwaldt. "It would also be good for someone whose kids have left home and they're looking for a new direction in their lives."

One of the program's components is Healthy FET Kids, which is a result of a partnership with local schools. So far, schools involved in the program include Blanco Elementary and Central Primary in the Bloomfield School District; Park Avenue and McCoy Elementary in Aztec; and McCormick, Bluffview and Animas Elementary Schools in Farmington.

Under the school program, the teachers receive training during the summertime then pass the healthy tips on to students during the school year with the hope of instilling healthy lifestyle habits early on.

Because the Healthy FET Kids program is supported by grants from such companies as Wal-Mart and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, it is offered at no charge to participating schools, which are chosen by the program's board.

Rick Wallace, the medical center's chief executive officer, said the hospital hopes to expand the training into other areas of the community, but remains committed to promoting opportunities for businesses to improve the health of their employees.

"We realize as a workforce that if we're going to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, we have to take care of our employees," he said. "A fit employee is a healthier employee."

Those wishing to obtain more information on how to participate in FET or Healthy FET Kids can contact Grunwaldt at (505) 609-2171, or they can visit the website at fullengagementtraining.com.