ENTRY FROM: 2016 Top Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Teri Palmer

Stepping Beyond Medical And Moving To Human Capital Risk Management

Teri joined PayneWest Insurance—a top-10 nationally ranked insurance agency—as its first ever Health Management Consultant in August 2011 to partner with employer groups to develop health management programs to contain health care costs. Teri brings with her 22 years experience from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) where she worked in Corporate Planning, Compliance and Ethics, Training, Human Resources, and as that company's first Health and Wellness Management Specialist.

While with BCBSMT, Teri was responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of effective wellness and ergonomic activities aimed at improving employee health and well-being. This included researching, analyzing, and evaluating wellness-program best practices and integrating them into the employee wellness rewards program.

Teri designed and implemented the Well with Blue Rewards Program, the company's first rewards credit program, in 2006. She was also instrumental in the development of a proactive ergonomics program that decreased BCBSMT's annual workers’ compensation premium from $600,000 to $200,000.

Today, Teri consults with various employers groups throughout a four-state footprint and customizes wellness programs to fit each employers' needs and objectives.

Teri also designed the internal PayneWest Healthy Together program for its 650 member employer group.

Teri’s passions in life are the love of her family, the love of animals, and the love of health and fitness in all shapes and sizes.


I attended Pennsylvania State University and Carroll College studying Liberal Arts, Business Administration, and Finance. I am a Certified Wellness Program Manager (Chapman, Level II) and completed Level 8 certifications for Well Workplace University (Wellness Council of America) along with being a WELCOA faculty member. I am also a member of the Montana Worksite Health Promotion Coalition.  I also received the WELCOA top 100 Health Promotion Professionals in 2014.

I decided to go into the field of corporate health and wellness after spending ten years as a certified IDEA fitness instructor and seeing first- hand how even small steps toward healthy choices could change people’s lives.



Besides my day-to-day relationships with my clients, and partnering with them to grow their programs, one of my most rewarding and life-changing events was

My overall philosophy I share with CEOs and their employees is that improving just one behavior not only saves dollars but, most importantly, it save lives!  


For the past seven years I've been a member of the Montana Worksite Health Promotion Coalition, which allows me to engage and collaborate with wellness professionals throughout the State.  The Coalition’s award system recognizes employers for their achievements in worksite wellness. 

I actively participate in local and regional 5k’s, 10k’s, and half-marathons.  I can be seen on a regular basis at our local health club. I live in a beautiful part of the country and try to be outdoors as much as I can.  I enjoy hiking and running with great friends and family along with my two best pals – my pups!

WELCOA provides me excellent ongoing support and education around the current wellness industry and is my number one resource.  It is so important to stay in touch with the ever-changing field and legislation.


My advice to wellness practitioners would be to continue to build a culture of health by investing in organizational human capital—an employer’s number one investment.  Investment in one's workers' long-term health eventually eliminates the need for an expensive, expansive marketing campaign - the workforce becomes one's company's best marketing team!


Wellness is dynamic and needs are different among employers, therefore in order to stay ahead of the wellness industry you need to be constantly looking for state-of-the-art programs.   The PWI Healthy Together program has been a great test pilot for various programs before introducing to the market.


I think partnering various options

Others examples would include development of the PWI health management program package for clients, financial wellness certification, and bringing in guest speakers to the Coalition and the Assurex wellness committee to introduce new and innovative ideas.


An emergent threat over the past two years to the wellness industry is ACA and the possibility that employers might look at eliminating employee benefits.  And now with the introduction of EEOC and GINA guidelines and a whole new government.   This could be an opportunity or a push back. 



Our greatest opportunity is that wellness is now at the forefront.  Employers want to keep their most important asset—their workers, their human capital—healthy.   It is just the right thing to do.  We need to remember how long it took us to introduce tobacco free environments.  It is going to take us just as long to cure the obesity epidemic.  




I hope in the next five years, by remaining credible, sensible, and trustworthy, that we've grown  beyond wellness and toward it's logical progression to a total risk management process. This will require collaborating and growing together as dedicated wellness professionals.  I see WELCOA as being the foundation for the evolution of a healthy American workforce and setting the pace for innovation and guidance. 


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