Q&A with the CEO — Ed Jimenez oct 15

Megan Bush, UF Health Fitness and Wellness Center exercise specialist, coaches Ed Jimenez during his early-morning workouts.

Megan Bush, UF Health Fitness and Wellness Center exercise specialist, coaches Ed Jimenez during his early-morning workouts.

We caught up with our UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez and asked him about several things happening at UF Health this fall. If you have a question for him, email taylt@shands.ufl.edu and we’ll consider it for an upcoming edition of News&Notes.Benefits open enrollment is here. What makes our employee benefits so competitive?

First, if you work here and are covered under the GatorCare health insurance plan, you have access to outstanding medical care. You don’t have to worry that your doctors might need someone out of our system, and the Gator Advantage program offers assistance in accessing appointments. Second, our benefits are excellent. I would bet that our benefits package — medical, dental, life and disability, paid time off and retirement savings plans/programs — is much more robust than what many other employers can offer locally.

Why should employees take the time to learn about benefits during open enrollment?

Open enrollment gives everyone the chance to make decisions and figure out what their needs are individually and for their families. We’ve created a lot of ways for people to get the most out of open enrollment. If you’d like assistance, you can go to a Benefits Fair and have someone help you. If you’d rather do it on your own, you can go online and use those resources at your own convenience.

How do our wellness offerings complement our benefits?

When you think about our benefits you also have to consider our promotion of wellness. We truly want our staff to feel healthier. Whether it’s the water drinking challenge, the flu vaccine, the annual wellness events or the many other wellness classes and GatorCare resources — we are constantly thinking about how to create access points for our employees to focus on their health. The UF Health Fitness and Wellness Center is a great example. This offers great access and convenience, and you can join for a very low rate.

Why are fitness and wellness important to you?

My mom had her first heart attack when she was 40. Ultimately, she passed away from all the years of heart disease weighing on her. She also had diabetes. My dad had Parkinson’s. So my family history tells me I should do whatever I can to proactively stay in shape. Playing with my kids and being active with my family inspires me to stay focused on my fitness.

What else would you like employees to know as we move through the fall?

There are some important events in our local community in the fall and it’s important that we continue to play a major role. We just finished the American Heart Association Heart Walk and we’ve got the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides breast cancer walk, the United Way campaign, The Sebastian Ferrero Foundation’s annual fundraising event, Noche de Gala, and many others coming up. I encourage everyone to participate in these types of events.