ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Diane Harlow

Geisinger Health System Culture of Health and Wellness -The Continuing Journey

Geisinger Health System is located in central Pennsylvania and is comprised of 8 Hospital campuses, multi-specialty group practices, 2 research centers and a 500,000 + member health plan. The system employees number over 22, 000 and is continuing to expand with additional acquisitions and partnership. As the Assistant Director for the department of Geisinger Wellness and Occupational Health, I assist with administrative oversight and duties of the department and manage the wellness program for the system

Professional Development

Education and experience include over 20 years’ experience in health promotion including a BS in Dietetics, a M. Ed., Master’s certificate in Project Management and the Corporate Wellness certification. A Masters level education is being pursued in population health and the application with corporate wellness. Our program has achieved, 5 years of Platinum Healthy Workplace award from the AHA, 3 consecutive Gold Distinction awards from the National Business Group on Health and most recently presented our program to the national HERO conference.  The most valuable recognition is all as they all allow networking and ability to learn from others


 Demonstrating Success:

The Health system as a whole has been recognized for growth and innovation. An example of this was the initiation of the wellness program in 2006. Utilizing WELCO Resources -The initial culture audit and 5 year strategic plan were developed.   In addition to the overall development of the structure of the developing program, the first major initiative was to first implement the tobacco free environment system wised and then 5 years later –complete the plan as the system no longer hires tobacco users as of 2012. I collaborated with every health system within our locations and additional business to all go tobacco free at the same time and that success and partnerships continues to enhance our growth and relationships in our community. Interventions vary to meet the need of the participant and include the environmental, multiple education resources and on line modules,  telephonic, individual or group coaching and the additional Health Plan support for medication options as prescribed.    Success of the strategy is evidenced by the HRA trend results of now 3% of the participants reporting tobacco use and the continued interaction of employees, spouses, domestic partners and adult dependents in all offered resources.   We additionally implemented a successful population health initiative that supports personal wellness, identifies those approaching or at risk, and allows a financial incentive tied to health insurance premiums. This program is showing consistent participation of 70-72% of eligible population and those completing the program including meeting goals consistently is exceeding expectations with over a 50% rate of achievement.   ROI numbers are preliminary for this as we wait for the first 5 years of data with respect to cost savings. We do have a documented ROI linked to our free medication program of 2.1 as we offer to all employees’ free medications for Hypertension, Depression /Anxiety, Cholesterol and Diabetes. The removal of this common barrier continues to support the culture of health and wellness.  Another intervention that is highly valued by our population is our Health and Wellness Coaching. They currently have a case load of over 5000 and we utilize various interventions /programs to assist. We do utilize behavioral interviewing and the partnership/accountability between the coach and participant to lead to continued success and support.

In 2006, WELCO was the first resource I utilized to assist in building structure and design as Wellness was an emerging field and I was the only person tasked with building the program.



Of the 7 benchmarks –I really need to share I used and continue to use this structure for all aspects of our program and quite honestly –for the department as a whole. Developing an overall strategy that is both comprehensive and collaborative continues to contribute to the success of the program.





In my opinion, Leadership is developed by utilizing knowledge, common sense, organization, collaboration and knowing how to work with people. I “walk the walk ‘by being an example to our employees in all and have implemented and lead walking meetings, Lunch with Wellness, Healthy catering guidelines for all internal meetings and act as a Wellness Coach.    The best example of my contribution to the field is recognizing the amazing opportunity I have been given to develop our program, the willingness to share and learn from others in the field and act as a mentor. I developed and chair our Central Pa Regional Wellness group which include members from business, health care and others organizations to assist with benchmarking and networking. I initialed with Academic Affairs Wellness Grand Rounds with national and internal speakers. We initialed a wellness intern/extern program at both undergraduate and graduate level; and the Dietetic interns spend a minimum of 1 week each in our program




 Empowering our employees through a focus on their personal and professional well -being is one of the three strategic priorities of the organization

To achieve better results:

Technology: Implementation of electronic report card for Participants to view progress -leading to greater participation and activation.
Telemedicine for OH and the utilization of that technology for health coaching- Participation satisfaction in pilot was encouraging  
Marketing: Utilization of unique Website for our entire population including spouses and domestic partners. Additional partnered with Corporate Communications to publish and contribute to community website version. Most active site internally
No Hire Tobacco- reduction in HRA score to 3% of population identifying tobacco use
Integration of Wellness programming and coaching within the new hire process and with the Occupational Medicine patients including acute and chronic back pain-Pilot for low back showing greater activation in care and  compliance



My vision includes to continuing to reinforce the value of wellness strategy in addition to the financial rewards of the overall strategy for organizations and the general business community.   So much focus has been on the ROI that the value is often missed including employee satisfaction, translation of knowledge to community and family and the value for recruitment for an organization. Additionally I do think utilization of consistent and standardized analytics and evidence based research will continue to enhance programs, increase organizational support and recognition of the value of eth overall strategy of culture of Health and Wellness

To advance the industry I will continue to engage, learn and share our success and lessons learned, with my medical director continue o identify and pursue research and publications opportunities and continue to learn and mentor in the field of Health promotion and Population Health


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Diane H.
Diane S. Harlow, M.Ed., is Assistant Director of Geisinger Wellness and Occupational Health for Geisinger Health System. With more than 20 years of health promotion experience, Diane initiated the wellness program for Geisinger in 2006. Diane has assisted in the implementation/expansion of a culture of corporate health and wellness that includes extensive internal collaborations, a benefits population health strategy and targeted programming to meet the needs of an expanding health system of more than 20,000 employees and assists in various administrative duties She holds a B.S. in dietetics, an M.S. in education and additional advanced certificates in project management and corporate wellne View Diane H.'s Profile.
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Hi Diane, 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 Kelly

Lisa K. on 10/09/2014

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