ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Derek Kanehira

A Wellness Program You Can Bank On!

Currently serves as Vice President and Director of Human Resources at Hawaii National Bank, a community bank, which has 195 employees and 13 branches located on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. My background includes over 25 years of experience in human resources, of which I've had 10 years of experience in providing oversight, planning, and coordinating worksite wellness programs.

Professional Development

I am a certified WELCOA Faculty member, which has been the most valuable learning I’ve received in the field of health and wellness.  Applying what I learned through the certification program, more specifically the 7 Benchmarks, enabled me to help take our wellness committee and worksite wellness program to a higher level.


Demonstrated Success

We launched a health care claims analytic tool in 2013, which captures claims data from our health, dental, and drug carriers.  From this data, we receive reports that outline the most prevalent health conditions our employees and dependents are addressing.

To obtain other data points, we looked to our biometric screening and health risk assessment (HRA).  In an effort to have an impact on our culture and to increase participation, we decided to increase incentives (and disincentives) for employees to complete both the biometric screening and HRA.  We made a couple of premium adjustments to both medical and dental premiums and had our President send an email to our employees to let them know how important it is for them to know their (biometric) numbers.  We were extremely excited that 100% of our employees completed both the screening and HRA!

Based on reports from the claims analytic tool and information from the biometric screening and HRA, we found diabetes and cardiovascular health to be our top health concerns.  Therefore, our wellness committee went to work and created initiatives, lunch and learn sessions, wellness challenges, and policy changes that addressed these health concerns.  Some of the things we’ve done include regular on-site chair massages, healthy cooking demonstrations, diabetes presentations, adjusting prices in the vending machine (favorable pricing for healthier options), physical activity boot camps and challenges, and more!  We’ve seen a significant increase in employee participation and we look forward to seeing improvement in our employee’s biometrics screening results next year.  In addition, we received the 2014 Hawaii's Healthiest Employer Award for mid-sized businesses!



I demonstrate my commitment towards health and wellness by staying active, which includes playing tennis, volleyball, and golf.  I also make it a point to workout at a local gym during my lunch hour.  In addition, I volunteer my time to a variety of community and non-profit organizations, participate as a panelist or wellness expert for local wellness events, and regularly seek out information about health and wellness, which helps me be a stronger leader for our bank’s wellness committee.



Through the collaboration of other businesses and individuals in the community, we recently received a grant from a pharmaceutical company for our “Diabetes for Life!” program.  This program is designed to empower 30 individuals in the community to engage in behaviors to better control their diabetes through education, interactive activities, and goal-setting.   The program will be led by a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and will cover topics ranging from blood glucose monitoring, nutrition, physical activity, and medications.

To demonstrate success we will be evaluating level of knowledge and skills transfer which includes lifestyle or behavioral changes; changes in pre and post program biometric data; and program satisfaction.


Compelling Vision

I think one of the challenges facing the health promotion industry will be to demonstrate results.  Over 10 years ago, “wellness” in the workplace was a buzz word and viewed as a nice to have for most organizations.   Many companies today have some form of a wellness program in place, however, many struggle with validating results and/or ROI for their programs.  With that being said, I think it is extremely important that health promotion professionals and educators collaborate to come up with appropriate ways to measure outcomes, ROI or to simply validate results from a wellness program.  If not, how do we know if we are truly moving the needle in wellness?

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Hi Derek, All the best with your contest entry. Your achievements, innovation and leadership in Workplace Wellness within your organization is most impressive. Congratulations! I would love to connect with you offline to chat more about your programs and services as I am seeking interested and talented Workplace Wellness Professionals like yourself as guest presenters/facilitators for our online Ambassador Certification program. Additionally, I would most welcome a case study of your organization's successes for a KWC International White Paper on Workplace Wellness Perspectives, Best Practices, & Case Studies that we are currently developing. With permission, these papers will also become case studies for our soon to be launched Certification Program providing further recognition to your amazing successes. Please contact me at if either of these opportunities are of interest to you. I look forward to connecting in the near future!

Lisa K. on 10/09/2014

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