Danielle is currently a Health Management Specialist at Keenan & Associates, the largest privately held insurance/brokerage consulting firm in California, with 700 employees. She has been active in the industry for four years. Danielle graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Psychology, and is currently enrolled in the MPH for Health Professionals program at UCLA, designed for working professionals seeking to attain leadership positions in public health. She decided to go into the field to shift the culture in worksite environments towards optimal health, and also lives and breathes health in her personal life through her passion for plant-based nutrition and teaching yoga.
Danielle is currently a Health Management Specialist at Keenan & Associates in California. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Psychology, and is currently enrolled in the MPH for Health Professionals program at UCLA, designed for working professionals seeking to attain leadership positions in public health. She decided to go into the field to shift the culture in worksite environments towards optimal health, and also lives and breathes health in her personal life through her passion for plant-based nutrition and teaching yoga. Each degree and certification earned has shaped the experience and passion behind her career.
In her current role as a Health Management Specialist, Danielle works with clients to plan and implement health management programs that will shift their culture towards optimal health. In working one on one with them, she is able to present programs and ideas that could reduce the long term chronic conditions of their populations, provide better access to health care, and educate them around healthy habits which can trickle into their families and children’s lives. She was also able to take the lead in planning and implementing the first year of the internal employee wellness program at Keenan in 2011.
Over the past two years, Danielle has worked with a California hospital to transform their employee wellness and condition management program, increase engagement, and reduce risk factors among their population. The hospital had implemented biometric screenings and health assessments over the past 3 years as a way for employees to earn discounted medical premiums. Participation and risk factors remained unchanged over 3 years, and engagement in supplemental online and phone coaching programs was minimal. In 2014, the organization implemented a wellness points system in which employees must participate in various health/fitness activities throughout the year, in addition to the completion of a biometric screening and health assessment, in order to earn their premium discount.
With the combination of senior level support, a cohesive wellness committee, program coordinator, strong communication strategy, and partnership with various areas of the hospital, the program has seen tremendous improvements in both participation and reduction in risk factors. In particular, they have seen an increase in health coaching from .6% of their population working with a health coach, to 20% of the population engaged with a health coach. 33.7% are participating in various online programs, and 40.4% have completed a wellness challenge over the past year. Risk factors have seen improvements from 2011 – 2014, with overweight participants reduced from 36% to 28%, obesity decreased from 28% to 26%, and hypertension decreased from 24% to 18%. Besides the reduction in risk factors and increase in engagement, the culture has shifted and is embracing the health coaching program, have become more involved in community walks and events, and are getting active in hospital events such as farmer’s markets and hospital-wide walking days.
Within the Keenan internal employee wellness program, Danielle worked with Human Capital to implement a Fitbit activity program where employees can earn gift card rewards each quarter by achieving various step levels. Keenan employees can also earn savings on medical premiums by participating in a biometric screening, health assessment, and by maintaining a tobacco-free status. The success of Keenan’s program and the shift in culture has largely been due to senior level support, using data collected through biometric screenings to target specific interventions, such as the Fitbit program, and consistent communication strategies.
Danielle lives and breathes health in her personal and professional life and her true passion is inspiring others to find their most optimal level of health. She is an advocate for plant-based nutrition and educates friends and family on healthy eating and how to improve their diet to look and feel their best. She is a certified yoga teacher, and enjoys leading her students through an inward journey towards improving their overall health through meditation, stress relief, and physical activity.
Danielle has been developing her leadership skills as part of an internal Keenan leadership program, and continues to grow through her interactions with Keenan clients and the UCLA MPH program, in which she is surrounded by fellow leaders in the public health field. She is also an active WELCOA Faculty member and is continuously enhancing her knowledge through WELCOA certifications. For those interested in becoming leaders in the field, she would recommend obtaining a degree in a health-related field, immersing in a health promotion position, gaining experience by practicing the methods set out by WELCOA for a best-practice worksite health promotion program, and not being afraid to fail in order to grow.
Danielle has worked with her clients to provide one-on-one guidance to implementation and management of their worksite wellness programs. In implementing a successful program, one of the most important factors in reaching the population has been communication. The organizations that are able to communicate consistently and in an effective way that touches their specific culture see great success in their participation rates and reduction in risk factors, as mentioned previously. Another factor that greatly influences the success of the program is incentives and rewards. Incentives that are tied to medical premiums have a much greater likelihood to motivate employees to get involved. Once they are involved, the culture begins to naturally shift as the organization continues to focus on their wellness communication efforts, and thus behavior change occurs.
Danielle believes that the biggest threats or opportunities that the health promotion industry faces in the next 5 years is many organizations’ need to see return on investment tied solely to cost savings. If organizations can focus on sustainability of their wellness program as a long-term investment, they will find that the real return is reflected in the productivity of their workforce, top candidates for recruitment, increased commitment to the organization, higher job satisfaction, and the trickle of better health into the surrounding communities. With this focus on sustainability, a worksite wellness program will be able to enhance much more than the organization itself.