209327 Structure and function of 14 employee wellness committees participating in the WAY to Health research study

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Laura Linnan, ScD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Carolyn Naseer, MA , Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Healthy People 2010 objectives aim to increase to at least 75% the proportion of employers offering a comprehensive worksite health promotion program; yet only 6.9% offer such a program. Employee wellness committees (EWCs) can assist in the planning, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive worksite health promotion programs, yet little data is available on the theoretical foundation, structure, function and outcomes associated with EWCs. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the development, structure and function associated with fourteen EWCs organized as part of a large worksite-based group randomized controlled trial. Phase 1 of The WAY to Health study enrolled 14 North Carolina campuses (5 community colleges, 5 historically black colleges and 4 universities) into the research study. The Phase 1 goal was to organize and work with an EWC at each campus to create a strategic plan for wellness targeted to each campus community following an established protocol. Fifteen process objectives are used to monitor EWC progress. Results at 12 months reveal that 100% of campuses have organized an EWC; 93% have selected a chairperson; 71% have completed a campus inventory of wellness programs, environmental supports and policies; 43% have completed a local resource inventory; 100% have identified the top 5 health care claims; 100% conducted key stakeholder interviews and 64% conducted an assessment of employee health and interests. Characteristics of high (vs. low) functioning EWCs will be discussed, including strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of EWCs in planning, delivering and evaluating comprehensive worksite health promotion programs.

Learning Objectives:
1) describe 3 benefits of mobilizing an employee wellness committee as part of a comprehensive workplace health promotion program 2) explain two theories that were used to guide the work of the employee wellness committees in this study 3) describe the structure and at least 2 functions of the employee wellness committees 4) explain two characteristics of employee wellness committees that separate high functioning from low functioning EWCs

Keywords: Worksite, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of this 5 year NHLBI-funded study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.