Medical Mutual contributes $1 million to BGSU's wellness initiatives

BOWLING GREEN, O.— Medical Mutual of Ohio has announced that it is contributing $1 million to assist with the development of Bowling Green State University’s new Optimal Aging Institute (OAI).

As northwest Ohio’s aging population grows, the University and Medical Mutual, the state’s oldest and largest Ohio-based health insurance company, are working together on a new initiative designed to help senior citizens live longer, healthier lives and to create new wellness programs for older adults on and off campus.

Through the University’s Center of Excellence for Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan, the institute’s mission is tied to the seven dimensions of elder wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, cultural and occupational. 

The OAI will provide learning opportunities and educational materials for service providers, health systems, entrepreneurs, corporations, caregivers and older adults. It will also be a resource for informational events on topics such as diabetes self-management, navigating the health care system, and learning social media, as well as for health and wellness classes such as how to cook budget friendly and nutritional meals, yoga and mindfulness meditation. BGSU’s arts and cultural events on campus also will be marketed through the initiative so that more members of the community can enjoy those activities.

“Medical Mutual’s contribution will support this initiative and build upon the company’s previous generous support of the BGSU Center of Excellence for Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan,” President Mary Ellen Mazey said. “I am grateful for their partnership in improving the well-being of the region’s citizens.”

“Bowling Green State University has been a valued, longtime customer,” said Rick Chiricosta, president and CEO of Medical Mutual. “Supporting these broad-based programs fits well with our company’s mission to help improve the overall health and wellness of the population in the regions we serve.”

“Medical Mutual of Ohio has already proved to be a great partner and we are excited about working with them on this new initiative to foster the seven dimensions of wellness through focused educational, service and research activities,” said Dr. Marie Huff, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and co-director of the center. “Both of our institutions recognize the benefit of healthy and active lifestyles across the lifespan and in supporting our communities. With their generous support we will be able to advance a culture of wellness on our campus and in our region.”

The American Council on Education specifically states that higher education institutions are exceptionally positioned to create new frameworks for this population, and is drawing attention to the benefits of lifelong learning for older adults’ health and cognition. 

“BGSU is well situated to meet many of the needs of the growing numbers of older adults,” explained Kathy Golovan, Medical Mutual’s Chief Health Officer. “Approximately one-eighth of the population of Wood County is 65 or older and about one-fifth of the population of northwest Ohio is 60 or older. This initiative will better serve that population.”

Institutions of higher learning also have an important role in advancing the conversation about aging, such as when the center partnered with the Wood County Committee on Aging in July to view the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and discuss how to address those issues locally.

In a year that marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the Optimal Aging Institute is designed to be an important community asset that can mesh with providers, health-care systems and caregivers to support and engage older adults in the community.


About Medical Mutual: Founded in 1934, Medical Mutual of Ohio is the oldest and largest health insurance company based in Ohio. For more than 80 years, the company has served customers with high-quality, affordable group and personal health insurance plans, and third-party administrative services to self-insured group customers. As a mutual health insurance company, Medical Mutual is unique in that it operates for the benefit of its members. Unlike publicly-traded insurance companies that must maximize their financial return, Medical Mutual does not answer to stockholders or Wall Street analysts.

About BGSU: Located in northwest Ohio, Bowling Green State University offers students an excellent educational experience with an emphasis on preparing the engaged citizens of tomorrow. A focus on critical thinking and values makes BGSU’s programs distinctive among institutions of higher learning. A state-assisted, residential institution, the University has an enrollment of approximately 20,000 students on two campuses and approximately 900 full-time faculty. More than 200 undergraduate majors and programs are offered, along with master’s degree programs in 65 fields, two specialist degree programs and doctoral programs in 16 areas.

Updated: 03/01/2021 10:38AM