• Current Company - Preventure, Inc.
• Job Title - Director, Client Engagement
• Industry Type - Corporate Wellness
• Years In The Field - 21
• Organization Size - less than 100 EEs
- I’ve been connected to health and wellness since a very young age. My mother was a physician who practiced free medicine and took me with her to low socioeconomic regions in South America. At age 12, I helped underprivileged young kids with disease prevention. I have a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education (State University of Rio de Janeiro), a Master’s in Education (Boston University), and a Master’s in Public Health (UCLA). I’ve received certifications from ACSM and Cooper Institute. My MPH had the biggest impact as it opened my universe wide.
Demonstrated Success - major health promoting contributions made on behalf of my organization, clients’ organizations, community, etc.
a. What my most successful program/intervention addressed:
- I led a team who implemented a comprehensive wellness program to an eligible population of over 100,000. The program succeeded because it was designed to address what the individual was most ready to tackle- awareness, physical activity, nutrition, weight management, stress management- through quarterly themes. We had a variety of activities to address our client’s top risks but marketed specific activities for each quarterly theme. Because the company is a faith-based hospital system, we followed their culture and named the quarterly themes accordingly: Quarter 1: Know your Spirit (biometrics/ HRA), Quarter 2: Move your Spirit (exercise), Quarter 3: Fuel your Spirit (nutrition), Quarter 4: Celebrate Your Spirit (stress management).
b. Intervention that worked best to address this issue:
- We launched a marketing campaign called “What’s Your Why” where employees shared their own reasons of why they would participate in the wellness program. Although this program has an extrinsic reward, we concentrated on the intrinsic reward.
c. What were the specific outcomes of your intervention as they relate to each of the three outcomes categories (health status improvements, behavior change, culture change)?
- Participation in the first quarter of 2014 was higher than the whole year in 2013, and all wellness champions addressed their own locations’ efforts, leading to improved employee morale and engagement.
d. Impactful use of all/some of the 7 Benchmarks:
- Capturing CEO Support - Our client’s internal magazine and intranet were the main vehicle where leaders promoted and disseminated their vision and actions, becoming the voice for the wellness program.
- Creating Cohesive Wellness Teams - We created a wellness champion website for important information so they could address their locations’ needs appropriately and held monthly meetings, developing a scorecard with metrics they were responsible for.
- Collecting Data To Drive Health Efforts - Our wellness portal and data warehouse collect valuable data from our “Measures of Success” document which includes participation and outcomes of our HRA, biometrics, incentive, Health coaching and DM, workshops, challenges, and satisfaction surveys.
- Carefully Crafted Operating Plan - Our project management tools/skills were critical to success. We broke the program down into actionable items by priority. Every weekly meeting we showed our operating plan, progress and outstanding items.
- Choosing Appropriate Interventions - Our quarterly incentive promoted programs to address the client’s top risks and made it fun and engaging. We believe participants like autonomy so we provided a variety of programs to address employees’ various stages of change.
- Creating A Supportive Environment - We addressed the work and home environment. At home we promoted and educated the employee population on the importance of and how to start their own garden. At work a recipe book with employees’ recipes was created and made available to the whole company. Physical activity and health coaching were promoted and permitted during company time.
a. How I “walk the talk” by living a healthy lifestyle.
b. Resources/experiences that have helped me achieve leadership status in the field.
c. Advice to other wellness practitioners hoping to become leaders in the field.
- Since a young age, I’ve been passionate about physical activity and health. I’ve been a professional dancer (trained with Alvin Ailey in NYC) and worked as a personal trainer/exercise instructor for AFAA and ACSM. I “walk the talk” by practicing Dr. Dan Siegel’s “The Healthy Mind Platter” every day. I always stay updated on trends by attending conferences and reading journals. I’ve spoken in conferences including the World Research Group and American Journal of Health Promotion. My eagerness to learn and challenge the status quo helped me achieve leadership status. I’ve always asked why and how can we do better. My advice to others is to follow your passion and learn something from everywhere you connect with, even the people you disagree with.
a. What I have done differently to generate better results.
b. For each innovative strategy/intervention, what were the results/outcomes?
- Technology- to engage the population in healthy behaviors (i.e. fitbit, Healthynow app, etc.). 19,000 fitbits were sold and 9,000 employees/spouses enrolled in the exercise challenge
- Innovative marketing – The “What’s Your Why?” marketing campaign led to a substantial increase in health coaching participation and its blog stimulated conversation on each person’s reason to be healthy
- Target communication - emails to match “Stage of Change” participation in various programs increased after target emails were deployed
- Localization efforts – empowering wellness champions to be ambassadors for health in their locations and company-wide, giving them the tools they needed, and holding them accountable.
a. Biggest threats/ opportunities in the health promotion industry.
b. What directions I plan to pursue to advance the industry.
- The biggest threats the industry faces are developing strategies that truly impact culture in the workplace and the belief that ROI is the only way to show return on investment made through wellness. It’ll be important to design studies showing the value of health promotion in the workplace. I believe positive returns from wellness and health promotion take time and involve many different levels; each corporation/industry is in a different stage of willingness to change and have different cultures. In the next five years, I plan on designing, developing and deploying strategies that can impact population health, improve cultures, and provide a financial return over time, and publishing studies from these experiences.