142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

A community based approach to small employer worksite wellness

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Kala Ladenheim, PhD MSPH CePH , Maine Health Policy dot Info, Gardiner, ME
Philip DiRusso Jr., MS , Cardiovascular Health Program, MCD Public Health, Augusta, ME
Robin Hetzler, MPH , MCD Public Health, Augusta, ME
The Place-Based Small Employer Worksite Wellness Model is an integrative approach to employee health management. Small employers have poor access to worksite wellness because the industry is organized for a larger scale. In the place-based model, employers within a community group together to share and purchase wellness resources and develop community-wide environmental interventions aimed at improving the health and well-being of the employees and community residents. 

The program used a well established downtown development framework (Main Street Maine and Maine Downtown Network programs) to leverage community health improvement in 19 rural towns with a combined population of 180,000.  A suite of worksite wellness tools developed by the State’s health department to inventory, assess and plan the wellness needs of employers was adapted to be user-friendly for small businesses. The survey confirmed that most employees in tiny businesses believed their employers had a role to support behavioral change in the areas of tobacco use (70%) nutrition (80%) and physical activity (65%).  Employers chose from a menu of options to create workplans that averaged 5 strategies apiece for nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use.

Shared results informed community-based work plans to strategically support the very small businesses. For example, while smoking prevalence among employees was low (roughly 10%),  when Main Street businesses individually applied existing state law on clearance from entryways to prevent second-hand exposure, several communities recognized that their downtowns should be virtual smoke-free zones. This very Maine approach blends private and community interests to achieve sustainability in under-resourced rural communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify economic development partners for community wellness collaboratives. Formulate community-level approaches that support enterprise-level behavioral change. Describe how wellness objectives support economic success.

Keyword(s): Workplace, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the program manager and evaluator for this program and its predecessor. I have made numerous presentations about this project for state, local and national audiences.
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.