When the staff of Kirby Medical Center (KMC) decided to focus on their own personal health and wellness journeys, CrossFit wasn’t far behind.
Josh Newton, the director of health and wellness services at the center, explained he was the first trainer for KMC’s CEO, Steven Tenhouse. Soon, Tenhouse caught the CrossFit bug and got the idea to bring CrossFit to the medical center. In 2016, CrossFit KMC opened on the center’s campus with Newton heading it up.
“CrossFit KMC is now part of our health and wellness department here at the hospital, so we incorporate a lot of employee and community wellness initiatives with what we’re doing out here at our CrossFit facility,” said Newton.
Between 15 and 20 percent of hospital employees use the Box. It is also open to the wider community, a policy that came about a couple months after the gym started. “Our whole mission with the hospital is to provide quality and compassionate care to everyone and to improve the health of the people of Piatt County. Our goal is to help people stay healthy and stay fit, and it just made sense. The next, natural progression was to incorporate what we do here and to offer that to community members,” said Newton.
Patients can also use the offering. In fact, when initially opening, CrossFit KMC offered a GetFit class, which tied into the Fresh Start Weight Loss Program at the hospital. Now, it has blended into the regular CrossFit classes, serving as a scalable option for CrossFit.
Newton said a cool part of managing the Box is being able to reach so many people. They have support from CrossFit — in fact, part of the Box was funded by the CrossFit Foundation — and they have support from the medical community. With medical professionals working in the Box, a well-rounded approach to health and fitness has been received well. “That message has been very fluent, and it’s been very easy to get out because of the relationship with CrossFit KMC and the hospital,” said Newton.
Another neat aspect is that the employees of KMC bi-annually do lab draws, consult with a dietitian and have a functional fitness test as part of their wellness program. Newton said they are now also offering that to their regular CrossFit members. It’s merging what takes place in the health care system with the local community.
In the end, it comes down to preventative care for Newton. He explained whether people are taking advantage of KMC’s one mile paved loop around the campus or joining the CrossFit gym, he just wants to see people being active. And he hopes CrossFit KMC can be a resource to further these wellness initiatives.
“We want to be a resource for CrossFit Affiliates or for other hospitals that are looking to improve their health and wellness programs, and they maybe don’t know how to or they’re looking for someone to talk to,” said Newton. “We want to be that resource for people, be able to hopefully replicate and spread what we’re doing here to other places because we think we’re making a difference and we know we’re making a difference.”