Constantly looking to improve its scope of services and to provide excellent value to its clients, J.W. Terrill added a Wellness Consultant to it employee benefits team in 2009. The Wellness Consultant position supplements the benefits program by providing wellness initiatives that positively impact the group experience. The leadership at J.W. Terrill; an insurance, benefits and risk management firm of about 200 employees, wanted to provide their clients with an experienced and committed professional in the wellness field. The Wellness Consultant is Diane Andrea, a registered and licensed dietitian who has been in the wellness field for over 20 years. Diane’s core purpose is to assist over 100 employers with wellness initiatives that are tailored to each organization. It is because of Diane’s commitment to the wellness profession that she deserves consideration for the Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals.
Diane Andrea, Wellness Consultant
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Hospital Dietetics from the University of Illinois and am currently a matriculate in an MBA program. I am a registered and licensed dietitian, a certified health coach and Freedom from Smoking® facilitator. I have received academic honors from the University of Illinois, various workplace awards and several WELCOA certifications. J.W. Terrill received the Healthiest Employer Award from the St. Louis Business Journal in 2012. I have a strong desire to educate and encourage others on their path to well-being. My nutrition degree has been the most valuable to me and my clients.
A successful program can mean different things to different organizations. I have been successful with initiating a physical activity challenge in a manufacturing facility where the main benefit was the comradery observed among employees in departments that previously never interacted. Whereas success in another organization was the implementation of a point-based system where employees were receiving premium discounts not just for their results, but for their behaviors. This turned into workplace sponsored 5Ks and bicycle rides during the workday so that employees could earn points. I definitely feel as though the smoking cessation classes I have taught have been successful, even if only 2 employees quit smoking. The personal satisfaction and freedom they receive goes beyond all measure. I have had opportunities to demonstrate healthy meal preparations and success was had when an employee later told me that the recipe I demonstrated was now her favorite recipe that she often prepares. When assisting clients with onsite biometric screenings, there’s great success when employees receive an out-of-range result, which the workplace screening uncovered, leading them to engage with their primary care physician. All these events were examples of demonstrated success in the eyes of a wellness consultant.
It is my privilege to work with each individual client, review their claims experiences and prepare a program suited to their culture. One organization went from a participation rate of about 30% to 91% when we implemented a wellness point-based system. I was able to communicate the program to employees, educate employees about various chronic diseases, sit on the wellness committee to map out the program, provide fruit and vegetable tasting parties, interact with employees at a carnival themed health fair and help organize physical activity events. Another organization purchased accelerometers for all employees and began step challenges. The President of the company communicated with all employees the importance of the wellness initiatives, they branded the program had great employee participation and ended up as one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s Healthiest Employer for 2014.
At J.W. Terrill, the wellness program is branded “Insuring Healthy Lifestyles.” Leadership is very supportive by participating in many wellness programs. J.W. Terrill has a policy where all food is kept in the break room and healthy options are available at all employer sponsored events. We are focusing on the American Heart Association’s seven simple steps to decrease the risk of heart disease. Employees are decreasing their sugar intake, getting their blood pressure and cholesterol measured, walking in an employer sponsored 5K, participating in weight loss challenges, eating more fruits and vegetables and offered smoking cessation programs. All employees receive monthly notices of wellness events along with a healthy treat. As a health coach I am able to work one-on-one with employees to help them achieve their healthy lifestyle goals
I enjoy being a champion for good health.. This starts with eating healthy personally and exercising regularly. I regularly share tips and recipes on the intranet wellness website. I share weekly articles and newsletters with clients that highlight the National Health Observances. I enjoy various fitness activities in the office such as wall push-ups and wall-sits while I am printing materials, inviting employees to join! I provide personalized health coaching to employees at my workplace. I serve as a preceptor for a dietetic internship program, sharing corporate wellness opportunities with students who are studying to become dietitians. I have organized walks, healthy lunches, chair massages, healthy beverages, fruit and vegetable sampling, healthy smoothies and many other fun activities. I believe that my MBA will enhance my value in the workplace. Attitude is everything. I believe that little changes can make a big difference in the lives of individuals and I believe in them.
I think it is so important to show instead of talk. I demonstrate healthy cooking and give out samples. I bring in a heart model for employees to see how a heart attack happens. I encourage employees to stand while they listen to my webinars on exercise. I have employees move when talking about fitness in the workplace. I lace up my shoes at lunch and walk, trying to take others with me. I prepare healthy beverages for employees during the workday. I get individuals, even fire fighters, to practice deep breathing at stress management programs. Employees can read the information themselves and can hear it too, but when someone shows and lets the employee practice the behavior, then it becomes easier to do and more likely they will engage in the behavior later.
I see so many opportunities for wellness professionals to make a mark in the workplace, but more guidance is needed. I have run into several wellness professionals that seek my assistance with nutrition related programs and information. They feel ill prepared and ill equipped to speak on nutrition related topics. In the next five years I would like to see more dietitians in the field. My role as a preceptor for a dietetic internship program gives me the opportunity to share my story and forge a path for future dietitians. Dietitians are passionate about healthy lifestyles and have obtained the educational background that can supplement many wellness worksite programs. They would not only serve well as workplace wellness professionals but can assist the future of the profession with their nutrition knowledge and insight into behavior change. They can be the future leaders of the profession.