256594 Engaging Employers to Create Healthy Organizations in Kentucky

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jennifer Swanberg, PhD , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Jess Clouser, MPH Candidate , College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Lee Ann Walton, MS , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Diane Loeffler, PhD , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Laura Hilliard, MEd , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Background Chronic disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs employers billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity. Organizations increasingly employ worksite wellness programs as a strategy to reduce costs and employee chronic disease risk, yet many are not integrated into organizational culture despite evidence suggesting the effectiveness of such an approach. To address this disconnect between research and practice our study aimed to: 1) create a business-oriented healthy organization model based on scientific literature and employer practices, 2) develop case-study examples of integrated wellness initiatives. Methods In-depth interviews (n=23) were conducted with Kentucky employer representatives to gather information about health-related initiatives and associated cost savings. A systematic review of the business and scientific literature related to healthy organizations was also conducted. Interviews were transcribed, analyzed and coded by a 5-member multidisciplinary research team based on the content of interviews and literature. These codes became model dimensions. An employer panel and NIOSH's Work-life team offered feedback on the model.

Results Our study yielded: 1) the HealthIntegrated Organization Model, consisting of five dimensions—Risk Recognition; Education, Activities, and Resources; Supportive Environment; Linkages; and Alignment—and four essential business processes—Communicate, Demonstrate, Evaluate, and Incent; 2) twenty-two case studies illustrating integrated worksite wellness initiatives and associated benefits.

Conclusions There has long been a gap between the research and practice of holistic organizational health initiatives. This employer-engaged research project helps bridge this gap by translating research into a business-oriented framework and facilitating peer-learning by sharing promising practices.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the five dimensions and four business processes that constitute a HealthIntegrated Organization. 2. Articulate the qualities of effective and holistic health promotion programs.

Keywords: Health Promotion, Practice-Based Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I’m an interdisciplinary social scientist with research interests in understanding how work organization impacts worker (e.g., health and work-life fit) and organizational outcomes. I’ve been the PI of multiple federal- and foundation-funded grants focusing on worker health and well-being, many of which engaged community and industry partners. I am also the executive director of an organization that conducts and translates research into employer tools that improve employee working conditions, health, and work-life outcomes.
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.