ENTRY FROM: 2016 Top Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Monica Pampell

From Mines to Boardrooms: An Unbridled Enthusiasm for Wellness

Monica Pampell, President of PentaFit LLC, practices fearless innovation in delivering preventive care services where it is needed the most. Whether in the mines of America’s industrial minerals workforce, the board rooms of Washington, DC’s most prestigious organizations, or with the best and brightest leaders in our nation, Ms. Pampell applies the same principles of fitness, nutrition, and self-care using a quantifiable and tailored approach, wherever she is needed. As the president and founder of Pentafit, LLC, and with a decade of experience, Ms. Pampell is a rare talent with a reputation of transforming individual lives and entire industries.

PentaFit LLC was established in March of 2011 and works with a team of eight administrative and media personnel, in addition to dozens of consultants and partners in the field. The PentaFit model uses a comprehensive and tailored approach to wellness and a model that is scalable to client size and scope. With services ranging from individual program designs to large organizational preventive care initiatives, PentaFit programs aim to improve lives both at work and in all personal endeavors.

Operating under the leadership of Ms. Pampell, PentaFit’s impressive client list includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America, the National Industrial Sand Association, CBS and ABC correspondents, and other well-known Washingtonians.

1. Professional Development

Monica Pampell’s first accolade was upon graduating high school with the Award for Excellence in Science. She attended the George Washington University and earned a BA degree in Psychology (neuropsychology focus), minor in Biological Sciences (molecular focus), and completed all Pre-Medical requirements and the MCAT exams. Then she began pursuing preventive care. After a year of experience serving individuals’ health and wellness needs, she returned to GWU for a MS in Exercise, Nutrition, and Eating Behavior. The capstone of her degree was piloting a corporate wellness program. One year later, she formed PentaFit.

2. Demonstrated Success

One example of the success of the PentaFit preventive care designs is a recent project where sustainable workers are essential. Designed for the Industrial Minerals Association – North America, the MineFit program aims to make a unique contribution to corporate wellness by integrating principles of “athletics” among workers to prevent injuries and promote optimal health within the mining industry. This workforce is underserved in the realm of health, nutrition and wellness, with employees working in remote areas where access to amenities and resources is limited. MineFit brings information to workers by (1) engaging leaders within member companies and leading from the top; (2) offering tangible and user-friendly information to be disseminated on-site via heads of health and safety in conjunction with HR departments; (3) illustrating the correlation between proper physical and nutritional habits and injury reductions; (4) measuring progress via employee surveys and on-site information dissemination; and (5) meeting with a leadership task force to gauge needs and progress. The bedrock of the MineFit program is understanding that safety goes in tandem with physical and mental health. Our initiatives have a system to minimize injury rates, improve hourly focus and physical health, and afford workers ways to be productive and feel good.

An equally important case study to highlight is the themed collection of fitness and weight loss Challenges furnished by PentaFit for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The objective was placing amenities and providing motivation to a staff of over 500 whose work ethic and responsibilities necessitate a focus on employee presenteeism and preventive care. Our wellness challenges, with upwards of an 85% retention rate, engaged employees in both team building and individual health improvements. PentaFit worked closely with the Chamber’s HR department, UHC healthcare, a benefits brokerage firm, and the art and creative department to best tailor the programs. We also awarded several “wellness champions” throughout the four years of service within the organization. Each large wellness challenge had two metrics to measure success: participation and retention. Additionally, we provided weekly updates for challenges, bi-monthly health seminars, partnerships with biometric screenings, follow-up for high-risk employees, and quarterly assessments to keep wellness “fresh” within the organization. 

Each PentaFit program begins with an examination of client need, scope, demographic, and culture. After completing a tailored needs analysis using quantifiable metrics to illustrate ROI, we engage with both the leadership team and the HR department to build a timeline for programs and mark tangibles for employee distribution. Then, we implement organization-wide themed initiatives, often in partnership with healthcare provider amenities, to engage as many employees as possible and create a lasting change in organizational culture. Our primary objectives for all programs are: (1) employee retention, (2) healthcare cost reduction, and (3) quantifiable metrics of employee satisfaction. 

3. Leadership

Ms. Pampell is a born leader. With a commanding voice, permanent smile and positive attitude, she encourages a lifestyle which embodies 24/7 healthy practices. Her daily doses of preventive care can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Her newsletter, The Other 23 Hours: Advice for Life Outside the Gym, reaches an audience of over 500 people each month. 

In addition to guiding her PentaFit team, Ms. Pampell is a certified Master Trainer, teaching instructors best practices to serve special population clients. She was also the captain of her Division I Swimming team in college, was among the top 20 women overall in her most recent marathon, and finished her most recent triathlon season with a win.

Her advice for aspiring health leaders: ask the right questions, don’t go black and white, and offer multiple avenues to achieve best health practices, beginning with information gathering and using principles of best practice in health promotion. 

4. Innovation

The MineFit program is an outstanding example of innovation. It places focus on fitness and nutrition as a primary method to improve safety and well-being in the mining workforce. This complements and challenges traditional methods such as safety trainings, new machinery, or regulatory regimes. Ms. Pampell’s MineFit program addresses a neglected underlying cause of injury in the industry: improper nourishment and low physical aptitude. In the short time the program has been in effect, thousands of communications have been distributed to the mining workforce. The areas that have been emphasized to date include: Locomotion and Posture; Focus and Attention; Joints and Muscles; and Physical and Mental Stressors. This program is changing the culture of this entire population, embedding new habits for worker health, and ensuring reductions in both acute and chronic illness and injury. 

5. Compelling Vision

Healthcare is changing. It is a substantial challenge for the health promotion industry to navigate this change and elevate the healthcare system. Historically, far too much emphasis has been placed on reactive care. Preventive care has been neglected due to a lack of understanding and no structured methodology to use primary prevention techniques in lieu of secondary and tertiary approaches. Medical and pharmaceutical companies are effective in their work with cancer drug therapy and screening equipment; however, they are ineffective in getting ahead of the 85%-90% of other types of disease. The preventive care approach is invaluable, sustainable and cost-effective. We should pursue our course by offering advanced screenings and employee amenities free of charge and co-pay fees, and by bringing health professionals to the people who need them the most: America’s underserved populations. Success is defined by unique and effective programs and a lasting change in culture.  

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Darrell S.
Darrell K. Smith is Executive Vice President of the Industrial Minerals Association - North America (IMA-NA) and the National Industrial Sand Association (NISA). For over a decade, Darrell has been active in the public policy arena in Washington, DC. Previously, Darrell represented the petroleum industry as President of the National Association of Shell Marketers, and the chemical industry as Director of the Public Health Team for the American Chemistry Council. Darrell has also served in the past as Vice President, Government & Environmental Affairs for IMA-NA and NISA. Darrell has a reputation of assisting heavy industry in the promotion of a positive, progressive image. He is well-versed View Darrell S.'s Profile.
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Comments 6

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There's no one more dedicated to other people's wellness than Monica! Her enthusiasm is infectious and drives everyone around her to exceed what they thought was possible in the realm of all-around wellness. Her approach is exactly what's needed in the wellness community!

Andrew P. on 12/16/2016

Monica Pampell is hard-working, knowledgeable, and innovative in her approaches to wellness. She is a star!!

Meredith D. on 11/29/2016

Perhaps the best I have ever worked with!!!

nate d. on 11/29/2016

Truly dedicated and knowledgeable. Mark S.

Mark S. on 11/29/2016

Gotta work with this woman. She is amazing!

Nancy A. on 11/28/2016

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