The Wellness Council at Waldo County General Hospital has received one of only six individual Gold Star awards made by the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network. The award recognizes the Council for its efforts to make Waldo County General Hospital a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.

Cited in the reasons for the award were the Council’s efforts to develop a hospital-wide tobacco policy, educational training for all employees on how to approach those using tobacco on campus and extra training for security and reception staff.

Also as a result of the Wellness Council’s efforts, nicotine gum is available in the hospital cafeteria and gift shop and monthly Fresh Start classes with free individual counseling have been offered to employees and family members. “What is most impressive is that these changes were brought about in only 12 weeks, with the council meeting weekly to effect change,” said the judges.