Online Program

Worksite Wellness in State Health Agencies: Policies and Practices to Improve Health Statewide

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:02 p.m. - 1:18 p.m.

Kristen Wan, MS, PAPHS, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Elizabeth Walker Romero, MS, ASTHO, Arlington, VA
Background: The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) encourages all state health agencies (SHAs) to consider the emotional and physical well-being of their employees and to consider how worksite wellness programs can help support this effort. By serving as role models of success, SHAs can help our nation move from an unhealthy worksite culture to one focused on healthy and productive employees.

Methods: In 2012, ASTHO conducted an environmental scan of worksite wellness activities in all 50 SHAs which provided a snapshot of the state of worksite wellness initiatives within SHAs. ASTHO then conducted interviews with eight states to gain a better understanding of specific policies and programs that were being implemented and to document the successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

Results: While the environmental scan indicated that practices and policies varied across states, the case studies provided specific examples of how SHAs can successfully help worksites become places where the healthy choice is the easy choice. For example, Arkansas and Colorado implemented comprehensive programs supported by policies to reward employees for healthy choices. While Kentucky explored the health impact of a tax credit and Iowa worked to improve employee’s emotional and mental health. Other states focused on maternity policies, smoking cessation, and healthy eating.  

Conclusions: Worksite wellness is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Utilizing the SHA as a site for worksite wellness policy and program changes is an important consideration. Keeping worksite wellness visible and relevant is a crucial need in times of severe financial cutbacks in SHAs.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe evidence-based and best practice worksite wellness policies and programs across state public health agencies. Identify policies and programs that can be implemented at the state and local level that effect public and private employees.

Keyword(s): Workplace, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in conducting the interviews and interacting with each of the state health agencies who are featured in the worksite wellness case studies. In addition, I helped to implement the environmental scan and assess the results. I participate in several worksite wellness related steering committees and have a background in Exercise Physiology and am PAPHS certified.
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.