Speakers and Sessions

​Getting Over the Gender Binary in Physical Activity

Melanie Adams

Melanie Adams, PhD
Associate Professor, Keene State College
Leadership Support for a Culture of Well-being

Traditional sport and exercise are seen as unwelcoming by transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals (Elling-Machartzki 2017, Hargie et al 2017). Despite high rates of depression and known mental health benefits of exercise (Muchicko et al 2014), few transgender individuals are physically active. This session will examine the binary approach to physical activity. Despite biological research that recognizes multi-faceted gender development and variations of normal (Polderman et al 2018, O'Hanlan et al 2018), sport and exercise are highly gendered. Even spaces not designated as single-gender, become culturally segregated based on activity or equipment (Coen et al 2018, Newhall 2013). Fitness testing requires a single-sex designation. Training methods are rooted in gender norms. Co-ed teams require certain numbers of males or females. Creating inclusive physical activity programs requires both individual and organizational action; starting with validating language and de-gendering exercise. Inclusive youth sports and physical education can help re-frame gender norms.

Advocating for Caregiving Infrastructure

Rebekah Azaylia Alexander, MPA
Individual Giving Manager, Caring Across Generations

We’re living longer than ever before, and we can’t always expect family members to give up everything to care for us. There are 43.5 million unpaid family caregivers struggling with impossible choices like paying the bills or being there for a loved one. Right now, one in three people in America are in active caregiving relationships – and this number will only grow as our nation’s population ages. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the financial strain felt by parents and caregivers, especially Black and immigrant women who disproportionately provide care for others’ families as well as their own.

Building a care infrastructure is essential. Expanding access to quality childcare and community- and home-based care will create jobs quickly, spur job growth in other sectors, and ensure financial stability for professional and informal caregivers. Like transportation, energy and public health, a robust care “infrastructure” with comprehensive policies and workforces will allow all people to provide for their families and contribute to the economy. Furthermore, a care infrastructure will contribute to gender and racial equity and improve health outcomes.

This presentation will detail bold policy recommendations health promotion professionals can advocate for and provide a call to action for all organizations to better address the needs of the care workforce.

Leadership Support for a Culture of Well-being

Judd Allen, PhD

Judd Allen, PhD
President, Human Resources Institute, LL

Richard Safeer, MD, FACLM, FAAFP, FACPM

Richard Safeer, MD, FACLM, FAAFP, FACPM
Chief Medical Director Employee Health and Well-being, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Leadership is important to any successful organizational endeavor. This is especially true for a challenge as ambitious and complex as creating a culture of well-being. This session examines opportunities for executives, managers, wellness committee members and other wellness champions to support a culture and sub-cultures of well-being. It is about helping leaders to better understand and engage in six primary wellness leadership responsibilities:
  1. Sharing the well-being vision (aka why well-being is important and how employees can participate).
  2. Serve as a well-being role model
  3. Align formal and informal programs, policies and practices (aka cultural touch points) with well-being.
  4. Use health behavior activities to enhance the social climate (aka morale, teamwork, trust and engagement)
  5. Develop a strategic plan for establishing well-being norms
  6. Track and celebrate success so that individual and workgroup improvements can be acknowledged and reinforced

Changes in Health Risk During the Pandemic: Implications for the Future of Workplace Wellness Strategies

Tyler Amell, PhD, MSc, BSc

Tyler Amell, PhD, MSc, BSc
Chief Health and Strategy Officer, MediKeeper

The SARS-CoV-2 virus and associated COVID-19 disease has dramatically altered the nature of work in a short period of time. The adaptations require societal shifts in long-standing norms for socializing, place and nature of work (e.g. virtual versus in person), recreation, among many others. Due to these changes, the health risk profile of people is believed to have changed. This applied study leverages a large, standardized and NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) certified health risk assessment (HRA) data set to report on changes in stress and depression, lifestyle behaviors, diet, exercise and preventive screening in the period from before the COVID-19 pandemic through mid 2021. These data are extremely valuable to help shape employer or health plan sponsored wellbeing and health promotion strategies going forward as society recovers and works to return to a new normal in 2022 and beyond.

Es Tiempo: Intertwining Art and Science to Implement a Community-Based Intervention to Prevent Cervical Cancer among Latinas in East Los Angeles, CA  

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean, Community Initiatives at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Cervical cancer disproportionately affects Latinas. East Los Angeles exhibits low HPV vaccination initiation rates and high HPV prevalence, making it an ideal target for cervical cancer prevention interventions.

Using community stakeholder input, in 2015 we developed “Es Tiempo”, a bilingual multi-component intervention using environmental cues (annual blooming of local Jacaranda trees) to encourage Latinas to get screened for cervical cancer. The original intervention included: informational materials administered at waiting rooms in community clinics; reminder postcards for women due for pap-smears; and an outdoor multi-media campaign with a hotline number providing cervical cancer screening referrals. Later components included “Promotores de Salud” and developing a toolkit to effectively respond to a shifting and complex intervention context.

Program Implementation and Evaluation History: Community intercept surveys and clinical data were collected and analyzed from 2015 to 2019 to understand the intervention’s successes and challenges. Yearly program evaluations, community input, and logistic hurdles led the research team to adapt the intervention to best respond to local needs.

Program Impact: Participation, Health, and Financial Outcome: Women in the intervention group were more likely than women in the control group to receive pap-smears (46% vs. 33%, p<0.001). Within the intervention group, those who were exposed to the multimedia campaign in addition to receiving a reminder postcard had even higher pap-smear rates (65% vs. 34%, p<0.001). Results highlight the importance of evaluating programs regularly and remaining flexible to modifying program components in ways that are responsive to evaluation data, community input, and implementation contexts.

Using a Complexity Framework to Address Workplace Challenges 

Alexandria Blacker, MPH
Wellness Manager, Stanford Health Care  

Addressing the health and well-being needs of employees requires more than a “one-sized fits all” approach. Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse with multiple generations in the workforce to increased remote and geographically dispersed teams. Within these complex systems, individuals will act in unpredictable ways and in order to meet these challenges we can utilize a complexity framework. The Cynefin Framework can be used as a sensemaking tool and decision-aid for complex problems. In this interactive session, participants will have the opportunity to apply the Cynefin Framework to a current organizational or team challenge. An example from Stanford Health Care will be used to discuss how a social support program to address the needs of health care employees diagnosed with COVID-19 was rapidly developed and implemented using the Cynefin Framework. Participants will walk away with a complexity toolkit that can be applied to future challenges within their organizations.

Honoring Intersectionality—Challenging Cultural Stereotypes in Suicide Prevention Programming 

Corrie Brinley, MSW
Assistant Research Social Scientist, Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW), University of Arizona 

Workshop participants will learn about the University of Arizona’s Project Lifeline; its use of the Question Persuade, Refer (QPR) training; and the challenges of ensuring that suicide prevention programming is reaching marginalized student populations (e.g., Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, or Veterans). Using role-plays from the QPR curriculum, participants will be invited to contribute to an activity that asks them to challenge stereotypes and identify barriers to accessing mental health support. Participants will utilize qualitative data from Lifeline’s evaluation to create culturally responsive suicide prevention scenarios.

Lifeline is a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy to reduce the incidence of suicide and related risk factors such as alcohol and other drug abuse (AOD) among students, with a special emphasis on high-risk marginalized student populations. The project seeks to reduce adverse consequences of serious mental illness and substance use disorders through the development of a sustainable, comprehensive approach that enhances and evaluates services and campus infrastructure.

HAIR Initiative: Activating Barbers & Stylists as Agents of Change

Michael Brown

Michael Brown
Health In-Reach and Research Initiative (HAIR Initiative)

Katrina Randolph

Katrina Randolph
Health In-Reach and Research Initiative (HAIR Initiative)

The Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) is a community-based intervention developed by Dr. Stephen B. Thomas and a team of researchers from the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health in College Park. The primary aim of HAIR is to create an infrastructure to engage barbershops and beauty salons in Prince George’s County as culturally relevant portals for health education and delivery of public health and medical services in the community.

HAIR builds upon the rich and powerful history of barbers and beauticians as trusted entrepreneurs providing essential services to the African American community. Barbershops and beauty salons also represent private sector business partners dedicated to improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods they serve. Research has proven that barbershops and beauty salons can be mobilized as venues for the delivery of health promotion and disease prevention services designed to eliminate health disparities and advance health equity.

Through storytelling, videos, and interactive discussion, HAIR scholars (including the first barber to join HAIR) will highlight recent work to translate and build upon past successful initiatives in promoting colorectal screening and flu vaccine to increase COVID-19 testing and vaccination. Barbers and stylists have proven themselves crucial partners in the effort to dispel conspiracies and provide accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Particular emphasis will be placed on implementation and sustainability strategies, including certification of barbers and stylists as community health workers.

NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ)

Chia Chia Chang

Chia Chia Chang, MBA MPH
Coordinator for Partnership and New Opportunity Development for the Office of Total Worker Health® at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

While there is much interest in worker well-being, there has been no consistent definition of the concept of worker well-being nor a measurement tool to assess it. To address this gap, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the RAND Corporation conducted research to develop a conceptual framework and operationalize indicators for worker well-being. This session will summarize the initiative, which consisted of a literature review to develop a definition identifying five domains of worker well-being, followed by creation of the NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBeQ) in consultation with an expert panel, and pilot testing of the questionnaire. After analysis of the pilot test, the questionnaire was revised and released. The session will discuss the NIOSH WellBQ and how it can be used by employers, organizations, policymakers, and other stakeholders to build knowledge to better understand and improve worker well-being.

Realizing the Impact of Healing Justice in Practice 

Robin Dunn, PhD
Assistant Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California

Healing Justice is a framework that focuses on the holistic and collective practice of mediating oppression, colonialism, historical trauma, and individualistic beliefs. Using this framework, individuals can reflect on their own positionality, stand in their respective truths, and dismantle biased knowledge learned during their upbringing. Through their individual work and subsequently, exchanging stories of experiences among diverse groups, transformation can take place. Thus, the first purpose of this topic presentation is to discuss the intersection of culture and health by understanding how individuals and groups perceive health based on historical and lived experiences. A second purpose is to have participants reflect on unspoken questions people are hesitant to discuss and engage in shared inquiry. The final purpose is for attendees to apply strategies for healing justice that mediate the impact of stress-related events and find ways to cope and thrive.

Health Risks of a Changing Climate

Kristi Ebi, PhD MPH
Professor, Hans Rosling Center for Population Health and School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington

Climate change is affecting health safety and security everywhere, with injuries, illnesses, and deaths from climate-sensitive health outcomes associated with changes in weather patterns and related changes in our air, water, food, and environment. The largest health risks include the consequences of reduced food and water safety and security, and extreme weather and climate events. The health risks of climate change are projected to increase in the future, with the magnitude and pattern of impacts dependent on the timeliness and effectiveness of adaptation and mitigation efforts. While everyone is potentially affected, some populations are disproportionately vulnerable. Climate change can also disrupt provision of and access to health care, with consequences for human health. Proactive adaptation on multiple scales can increase preparedness to manage risks. There are potentially significant health benefits from policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; these benefits can offset most of the costs of mitigation while improving health.

Closing the Health-Wealth Gap: Lessons from the Women’s Health & Money @ Work Program

Julie Friedman, MPH, CHES
Director, Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Research Center

The mission of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Research Center (WHERC) is to move women and girls towards optimal health across the lifespan. Beyond addressing health through a gender and genetics lens, WHERC focuses on the social determinants of women’s health to advance health equity through advocacy, research, and education.

Women’s Health & Money @ Work (WHMW) is a health education and financial literacy program helping low to-moderate-income (LMI) women balance their health and financial challenges and choices on and off the job. Prior to COVID-19, WMHW was delivered in four sessions, attended by employees of the same business, job training program, or by women served by specific community agencies. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, WHMW transitioned to a virtual format which includes three 1-hour sessions, one on health, one on finances, followed by a third drop-in session for individual assistance. Bilingual health educators and financial coaches conduct the programs. The health component addresses living healthy affordably, and the financial component helps build financial decision-making and money-management skills.

The Neuroscience of Wellness: Leveraging Neuroscience to Enhance Wellness

Raquel Garzon, DHSc, RDN, CPT, SSGB

Raquel Garzon, DHSc, RDN, CPT, SSGB
President, Revitalize Project, Inc.

Individuals typically want to feel enabled to engage in wellness behaviors that lead to positive results; the reality is that they struggle to stay motivated and end up reverting back to old habits. Most wellness solutions are focused on changing behaviors, such as what people eat, how much exercise they do, how much sleep they get, and actions to better manage stress; however, creating sustainable change, especially for individuals that need it most, is difficult. Wellness behaviors are merely outputs that reflect how an individual takes inputs from the nine senses and processes them in the emotional and rational parts of the brain. Changing a behavior requires changing either the inputs or the processing.

The basics of neuroscience for wellness will be presented, including inputs and processing that contribute to undesired wellness behaviors, inputs and processing that promote desired wellness behaviors, and strategies to leverage neuroscience to enable wellness behaviors.

Do Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs Work? What Does the Latest Research Tell Us?

Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, MA

Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, MA
Senior Scientist and Director of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Vice President of Consulting and Applied Research, IBM Watson Health

Dr. Ron Goetzel will address the rationale behind workplace health promotion (wellness) programs and their potential impact on employee health, medical spending, and productivity outcomes. He will highlight the “secret sauce” necessary to make workplace programs “work,” how to measure a return-on-investment (ROI) and new ways to quantify a value-on-investment (VOI). He will offer a measurement and evaluation framework useful to program managers who want to determine program success.

Dr. Goetzel will highlight recent findings from a RWJF supported study that examined the relationship between a company’s culture of health and employees’ health risks, medical spending, and stock price. He will also review his “top 10” list of best and promising practices revealed from a benchmarking project supported by the RWJF initiative entitled Promoting Healthy Workplace.

Environmental Positionality and Health Outcomes

Allison Grossman
Doctoral Student, California Institute of Integral Studies

Emily Owens-Edington
Doctoral Student, California Institute of Integral Studies

Sean Stefon Bell
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist

As the state of the planet continues to worsen, it is not just our natural resources being harmed. Human bodies have been directly impacted by climate change, with the environment taking detrimental tolls on chronic health issues, reproduction and childbirth, mental health, and mortality rates. However, these health outcomes are notably worsened in low income populations and people of color. This presentation will address how recovery and response from environmental health triggers differ between privileged and marginalized groups, and how this disparity fuels systemic oppression. Finally, we will discuss how a more holistic, intersectional approach to policy change could improve health diagnoses and prognoses for those most affected by climate change.

Using Systems Thinking to Strengthen Organizational and Employee Wellbeing 

Marissa Kalkman, MS, MCHES, ACSM EP-C

Marissa Kalkman, MS, MCHES, ACSM EP-C
Executive Director, Wellness Council of Wisconsin

A 2017 study from the CDC, Workplace Health in America, highlights data on the prevalence of workplace wellness that 92% of U.S. employers with 500+ employees (and 60% of employers with 50+ employees) offer workplace health promotion programs aimed at improving the health and productivity of their workers. A 2020 study from the CDC identified that U.S. adults are reporting considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions – 40% reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. These statistics represent opportunity. With more employers recognizing the importance of employer support for wellbeing, we have a foundation to work from. But in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote/virtual working, technology advancement, racial injustice, political unrest, increasing work demands, high-stress environments and burnout, work/life imbalance, mental health challenges, financial strain, and more – supporting people in their wellbeing is increasingly complex. A systems thinking mindset will equip you to assess and plan a sustainable strategy, not just a program. In this session, you’ll learn and practice the habits of systems thinking to help you analyze your organization and the experiences of your people. You’ll leave this session with ideas for forming a strategy that impacts employee and organizational wellbeing in a process across three pathways: foundational, strategic, and systemic.

Addressing School Employee Wellness During COVID-19 and Beyond

Sarah Margaret Lee, PhD
Lead Health Scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Population Health, Healthy Schools Branch

Teachers and staff have faced enormous pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, while balancing their own well-being. Comprehensive school employee wellness (SEW) programs are needed throughout the pandemic and beyond. The possibility of K-12 schools adding permanent virtual learning options for students means that some of our nation’s teachers will be working remotely 100%. Schools will need to rely on tools available for diverse programs that meet the needs of in person and virtual teachers. CDC collaborated with National Association of Chronic Disease Directors to create the SEW Guide. The guide provides schools with action steps to assess needs, create and implement a plan, and evaluate progress. The guide includes examples of existing, evidence-based programs and interventions with low investment for schools. This session will provide participants with key data and evidence about SEW programs, a hands-on experience for using the SEW guide, and time for discussion to learn from others.

Innovative Approaches to Identifying, Scaling and Spreading Public Health Programs:  Reimagining Hypertension Management in a Federally Qualified Health Center

Kincaid Lowe Beasley, MPH
Health Scientist/Evaluator, Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Team, Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Aisha Tucker-Brown PhD, MSW
Senior Evaluator, Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Team, Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rachel Davis, MPH
Senior Evaluator, Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Team, Applied Research and Evaluation Branch, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) builds practice-based evidence through identification and evaluation of promising practices in the field, and replication of successful programs in new settings. Kaiser Permanente of Colorado’s Hypertension Management Program (HMP) is a clinic-level program to improve patients’ high blood pressure. A 2012 evaluation found HMP effective at improving blood pressure control in a four-year period. DHDSP partnered with a Federally Qualified Health Center in rural South Carolina predominantly serving African American and disproportionately affected patients to scale and spread the HMP. Evaluation results showed hypertension control rates increased by 3% over 16 months, improving from 53.4% to 57.3% (p<0.01). This panel discussion provides a systematic approach and practice-based example for rapidly identifying, assessing, and disseminating effective programs to improve quality of care for patients bearing a disproportionate risk of hypertension.

Social Determinants of Health: Is There an App for That?

Karen Moseley
President, Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO)

Anita Shaughnessy
VP Health and Well-being Benefits Strategy Consultant, Wells Fargo
Chair, Board of Directors Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO)

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a singular teachable moment for employers intent on protecting and advancing health and well-being of their employees and communities. The short- and long-term health of the economy is inextricably linked to social determinants of health (e.g., location, food security, financial security, social connection) where people live, learn, work, play, and pray. The connection to employers is strengthened when factoring in a growing remote/hybrid workforce. Employers have access to an increasing number of tools and resources, from abundant data sources to recommendations on relevant measures, to help them support their employees’ well-being needs. Many employers, large and small, have demonstrated successes by leveraging internal policies and programs and collaborating with other stakeholders in their organizations and community. Participants in this session will gain an understanding of the many tools and resources available to them as well as hands-on experience with an organizational scorecard highlighting best practices.

Best Practice Makes Perfect: How to Achieve Better Outcomes in Health and Well-being 

Karen Moseley
President, Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO)

Anita Shaughnessy
VP Health and Well-being Benefits Strategy Consultant, Wells Fargo
Chair, Board of Directors Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO)

Many organizations are interested in fostering an organizational culture that supports workforce health and well-being, but there is little research on the specific practices associated with outcomes and insufficient guidance on how to implement the practices effectively. A 2020 HERO study leveraged data from 845 organizations completing the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer©. The study identified a core set of practices related to organizational and leadership support that predicted higher levels of program participation, health impact, medical cost impact, and employee perceptions of organizational support. Another recent HERO study assessed the impact of incentive design on both participation and workplace health outcomes at the organization-wide level. A high-level presentation of findings from both studies will be followed by an interactive discussion about the challenges associated with implementing the identified practices and what employers can do to implement more successful health and well-being initiatives.

From Workplace to Retirement: Role of Community in a Changing World

Steven P. Noeldner, PhD,
Senior Consultant, Mercer

Charlotte Yeh, MD
Chief Medical Officer, AARP

Bill Dinger
Director, Healthcare Innovation & Labor Support, The Walt Disney Company

Bernie Knobbe, CEBS, CCP
Senior Vice President, Global Benefits, Well-being & Compensation, AECOM

Kristin Parker, PhD
Partner, Total Health Management Specialty Practice Leader, Mercer

Our world has changed dramatically in the last year. Why and how we interact with others at work and in the community, have new meaning and purpose. Enlightened organizations recognize they have a symbiotic relationship with the communities in which they exist and that there are many definitions of “community”. These communities go beyond the workplace and geographic definitions to include virtual and other communities comprised of those sharing common purpose, interests and goals. The interdependencies between organizations and communities have been magnified as the world rises to the challenges of today and the future. The resources and relationships – often virtual –that contribute to the quality of life, and the social determinants that influence the health and well-being of employees and their families, as well as worker and business performance, are greatly dependent on their communities. Communities provide the environment in which future, current and retired employees live, engage and learn, thus influencing their current and future ability to thrive.

This panel discussion will explore what a number of employers and a retiree advocacy organization are doing to establish strong and critical relationships with communities that positively influence health, well-being and business performance. We will explore the opportunities they recognize, the challenges they face, and the successes they have had.

Creating Ecosystems for Healthy Lifestyles

Michael P. O'Donnell, PhD, MBA, MPH

Michael P. O'Donnell, PhD, MBA, MPH
CEO, Art & Science of Health Promotion Institute

We all know the PROBLEM. Our toxic lifestyles are making us sick and driving medical spending to levels that are unsustainable for individuals, employers, state governments, and especially the federal government.

We also know that harnessing lifestyle as medicine offers a potentially powerful and cost effective SOLUTION. BUT so many efforts have fallen short because they are superficial and not scientifically validated, especially to address the cultural and socioeconomic conditions that influence health behaviors. Equally important, the vast majority of the US population (our estimate is 95%) does have access to effective approaches. This is one of the most impactful health disparities in society. The core problem is lack of resources: financial, social capital, intellectual capital and policy authority. So the real solution needs to be mobilizing more resources to support harnessing lifestyle as medicine. But how do we do that?

Our approach has five core elements:

  • Move beyond the intermittent “programs” that reach too few people, to creating ecosystems that engage all people where they work, learn, pray, play and heal…regardless of their economic status or geographic location.
  • Provide a therapeutic dose of evidence-based approaches that change people’s knowledge, motivation, skills and behavior and create opportunities in their social, economic and physical environments to make it possible to practice healthy lifestyle.
  • Aspire to be fiscally self-sustainable, requiring no government funding, requiring only seed funding from foundations, and repaying that seed funding over time.
  • Reach a scale large enough to help solve state and national level problems.
  • Create a mobilizing organization (MOG) that identifies and harnesses the financial, social, intellectual capital and the policy authority from individuals and organizations that have these resources and will better achieve their own goals by investing a small portion of those resources in this effort.
  • We are striving to push this approach from concept to reality, beginning with health systems, and are adapting based on successes and set backs.

Leveling Up in Action: Tackling the 4 Levels of Influences That Shape Our Behaviors 

Laura Putnam, MA

Laura Putnam, MA
CEO & Founder, Motion Infusion

Jacinta Riedinger
Manager of Wellness Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

By overdelivering on the message “Take personal responsibility for your health,” have we lost sight of the bigger picture? Arguably, we have been too focused on the individual in isolation – what motivates them, what stage of change they’re in, what skills they possess or what attitudes they bring – and we have not focused enough on the context within which the individual operates and makes these choices. Learn about how Blue Cross Blue Shield ND, in partnership with Motion Infusion, has been “leveling up” to take a more collective approach to well-being. In particular, explore how they have addressed the systemic forces that inform behaviors, how they have fostered meaningful cooperation across departments, and how they have engaged leaders on all levels to become multipliers of well-being. Inspired by their compelling story, level up to better tackle the four levels of influences – community, organization, team and individual.

Building a Better Brain: The Emerging Science and Practice of Promoting Brain Health In Daily Life

John Randolph, PhD

John Randolph, PhD
Board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, Randolph Neuropsychology Associates, PLLC
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Board-certified coach, Engaged Brain

An increasing focus of health promotion perspectives and activities is on brain health. Given the critical importance of effective brain functioning on decision-making and other cognitive skills related to general wellness, brain health is “the elephant in the room” regarding health promotion. This presentation will discuss health promotion in the context of the brain by considering the emerging science and application of four key brain health domain areas: Cognitive strategies that enhance the learning process, improve time management, and lead to better task focus; Activity engagement (e.g., social and physical activity) known to have robust cognitive and physiological benefits for the brain; Prevention of cognitive problems through dietary and other lifestyle choices; and Education about how the brain works. Participants will engage in related exercises and small group work to enhance learning and takeaways.

Black Bodies, Green Spaces, White Minds: The Nature of Pandemics, Protests and Prejudice 

Jennifer D. Roberts, DrPH, MPH
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
Director, Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory;
Co-Founder and Co-Director, NatureRx@UMD

In 1906, W. E. Burghardt DuBois said “The health of the whole country depends in no little degree upon the health of Negroes” in an effort to discredit theories of biological racial inferiority and perpetuate an understanding that African American health was “largely due to the condition of living, rather than to marked racial weaknesses”. The work of DuBois, a prominent sociologist and civil rights activist, was particularly important during the early 20th century because the general and public health rhetoric of scientific racism framed a level of culpability among African American communities for the spread or worsening of infections and diseases, such as the 1918 influenza pandemic. Over a century later, the pathology of race still occurs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the glaring and unmistakable institutional and structural inequities of built, social, and natural environments, including, but not limited to, housing, healthcare, and greenspace access.

Staying Above the Fray: Resiliency Skills and Adaptation Strategies in Troubled Times 

Brian Luke Seaward, PhD

Brian Luke Seaward, PhD
Executive Director, The Paramount Wellness Institute

The world and the culture we live is rapidly changing and we can either adapt to these changes gracefully or get swept away with the currents. What are healthy boundaries? What are the essential skills that comprise a Resilient nature? This presentation takes participants through a seven-step adaptation program offering personal health challenges to strengthen one’s resiliency muscles in these changing and challenging times and concludes with an expose on the three bones of resiliency: The backbone, the wishbone and the funnybone.

Health Inequities in the Workplace  - Is it Time to Rethink our Approach to Health Promotion Programs?

Bruce Sherman, MD, FCCP, FACOEM

Bruce Sherman, MD, FCCP, FACOEM
Medical Director, Employee Health Plan, Cone Health/Triad Health Network;
Medical Advisor, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions;
Adjunct Professor, University of North Carolina – Greensboro;
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine 

In the US, interest in social determinants of health as a major contributor to overall health status has dramatically increased in the past two years. Recent events, including racial disparities in COVID outcomes have prompted a more critical look at health inequities as a major concern, likely fueled by a combination of institutionalized racism and social determinants of health. For employers, the time is right to identify and address health inequities among employees as a largely overlooked opportunity. This session will provide an overview of the foundations for health inequities in commercially insured populations, and review recent research detailing our current understanding of the issues. We’ll work together to develop a thoughtful approach to evaluating workforce health inequities, using ‘real-world’ analytic reports as a basis for development of equitable solutions. Importantly, we’ll also discuss the implications of our findings in relation to sustainable employer business goals.

Resilience in First Responders and Athletes: Applications for Optimal Mental Health, Wellness, and Performance

Robert Swoap, PhD

Robert Swoap, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Warren Wilson College;
President and Owner, MindHealth, Inc.

First responders and elite athletes bear a great deal of stress on their bodies and psyches as they train for their jobs and performance. This has, of course, been exacerbated by the pandemic. What can we learn from groups (e.g., firefighters, national sports teams) who have proactively built a culture of health and well-being into their organizations? Using the Resilient Mind Program as an example, this breakout session will examine evidence-based practices to optimize mental health, wellness, and performance. We will focus on the science and implementation of mindfulness-based practices and resilience-training, and their benefits – e.g., enhanced executive-cortical function, improved heart rate variability, reduced stress, more efficacious coping skills, more social connection. Drawing primarily from two settings, a fire department and a U.S. Olympic team, this session will examine key psychological and behavioral strategies for developing holistic mind-body solutions that can work across multiple settings and organizations.

Mental Health – It’s Not Just Therapy 

Christina L. Torizzo, MPH, CPC

Christina L. Torizzo, MPH, CPC
Mental Health and Employee Assistance Program Consultant, Kaiser Permanente

If mental health and emotional wellbeing weren’t top priorities before 2020, it’s likely they are now. With high demand, a changing work environment, and a shortage of mental health clinicians, how can employers buoy individual and organizational resilience? Employers are attempting to meet the needs and preferences of their people amid a dynamic landscape of mental health care services and point solutions in the market. While oftentimes weekly therapy is seen as the solution regardless of the condition; it is neither sustainable nor necessary. Taking a cue from wellness programs targeting physical wellbeing and chronic disease prevention, we need to stratify emotional and mental health needs, and explore digital solutions, tools, and clinical care across the mental health continuum. We’ll also discuss key elements within a psychologically healthy work environment that provide a foundation of education and support to empower employees as stewards of their emotional health and the collective resilience of the organization.

Socially Connected Communities are Good for Business 

Risa Wilkerson

Risa Wilkerson
Executive Director, Healthy Places by Design

Health begins where we work, and where we live, learn, and play. Many factors influence our ability to make healthy choices, including the social and the physical environments around us—in other words, our community. People living in socially connected communities are more likely to thrive because they feel safe, welcome, and they experience reciprocal trust. Social supports, however, are often neglected and social isolation is a national crisis. Businesses that engage in creating socially connected communities gain stronger, healthier, and more productive employees and families, plus economic conditions that are more conducive to business growth. This session will explore the key dimensions of a healthy community necessary for equity, health and wellbeing. We will discuss how to incorporate social well-being into quality and affordable housing, safer neighborhoods, and a health-enhancing transportation system. Action steps for starting and advancing business investments in community health will be described.