Employee Wellness Administrator
Cedars-Sinai Health System, Los Angeles, CA.
Years in the field-26
1. Professional Development:
Drake University-B.S., Psychology
Pepperdine University-M.S., Clinical Psychology
WELCOA Well Workplace University Certification
Selected as a Work@Health worksite, a CDC sponsored program
American Heart Association’s Gold Certified Fit Friendly Certification
Cedars-Sinai President’s Award
Critical Incident Stress Management certification
The field of human enhancement has always been a calling that started with my grandparents doing missionary work in Eastern Europe. My father went into academia and my mother pursued nursing. Be it a calling, passion, family expectation or universal destiny, I had my vision set on finding a degree that would help me connect with humans who wanted a better life. Without question, developing the fundamentals of human behavior and mastering the art of connecting has paved a journey from traditional therapist, to trainer/educator, to healthcare administrator, and ultimately a facilitator/shepherd for personal wellness.
2. Demonstrated Success
During the past two years of the official Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program, the wellness committee and I have successfully implemented many successful programs. Highlighted below are a few examples:
The meaning of success varies within Cedars-Sinai and one might expect healthcare workers to be the “example" of healthy living. The uniqueness of this population and their resistance to make lasting lifestyle changes, laid the foundation for what was to become our most impactful wellness initiative.
It’s All About Caring (IAAC): a 2-day personalized wellness experience for the employee that empowers them to identify their own possibilities: unfulfilled dreams/aspirations, learning, career, mind, body, spirit, adventure, fun, travel, relationships or other. Followed by inspiring, connecting and discovering their past, present and future story with the purpose of realizing the necessary steps for success. IAAC: A Day of possibilities (see attached)
Over 9,500 employees have attended this program including senior executives. Under my leadership, a wellness team of 10 facilitators helped employees chose their own wellness path and create successful interventions to achieve their goals. Each program consisted of 30employees from different parts of the organization coming together to create a supportive space that would drive results, “ah-ha” moments, and break-throughs never imagined.
Engagement/Commitment to Cedars-Sinai (see attached)
I’m guessing all the candidates in this application share a similar trait of exercising and being labeled as “the wellness guy (or girl).” Anytime we attend a meeting, walk by the water-cooler, or set foot in the cafeteria everyone suddenly gets a wellness-conscience by hiding their donuts, swallowing their cigarettes, or rolling their eyes when we suggest taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Maybe what sets me apart from other candidates is how Cedars-Sinai recruited me from another hospital and over the last 14 years designed unique job descriptions to fit my strengths and skills. Two years ago they commissioned me to build the first-ever CS Employee Wellness Program. Cedars-Sinai has an international reputation for leading the quest in quality healthcare for patients. They are now asking me to build that same reputation for quality health practices within our own employee population. When offering advice I simply share my 5 core self-philosophies:
I can confidently say those beliefs have propelled both my career and personal life into new realms of excitement and learning. I am constantly reminded the more I step out of my comfort zone the more I grow and excel in life.
It’s All About Caring (IAAC) is both ground-breaking and unique. My favorite part is how it’s not a wellness program that has been crafted around a needs survey or an at-risk population. The employee self-prescribes what’s most important to them in their life. Human beings instinctually (and sometimes intellectually) know what they need for survival and happiness. They don’t need a HRA to tell them they are unhealthy. They don’t need better signage in the cafeteria pointing them to fruits instead of cookies. They don’t need another campaign explaining the dangers of tobacco. And they certainly don’t need to be reminded that their jobs and lives are stressful. What they need is an invitation to take an overview of their own life and a supportive environment where they can build the courage to go after their wants and dreams in life. If you want to see health transformations, immediate behavior changes and a culture that cultivates life-wellness, come experience the 2-day IAAC program and you too will be on a journey never before experienced.
5. Compelling Vision
I keep these three words in mind: Innovative, Malleable and Collaborative.
Generally, when I’m consulting or attending wellness conferences, I hear in people’s conversations that one or more of those three elements are missing within their personal life or structured program. Often I ask which of those three muscle groups could use a little more attention and strengthening?
Over the next 5yrs I will continue to build on my human-centered, design-based approach to help Cedars-Sinai innovate and grow. I will look for new ways to serve and support people by discovering their needs, behaviors and desires.
Through designing new products, services, spaces and experiences, I will continue to breed new life into the Employee Wellness Program and our collective health promotion industry.
Population health management is not coming…it’s already here. If we are not actively in the mix and laying the tracks ourselves, the wellness train will head in its own direction and leave us behind. My ultimate goal is to be the “golden spike” that connects our health promotion industry with US healthcare reform (I can’t help my train metaphors, being born and raised in Omaha, NE and part of a family linage that worked on the rails).
Congratulations Mitch!!! You are an inspiration to many. The programs you have brought to Cedars-Sinai have affected so many people in a multitude of positive ways. IAAC helped people achieve their possibility anything from getting a degree (mine) to opening a business. The fitness programs you have brought her are literally reshaping peoples lives. Thank you for all of your hard work, innovation and determination.
megan r. on 2/05/2015
Mitch, great job!
Ron B. on 1/21/2015
Mitch is one of the most honorable, kindest, hard-working people I know. I am proud to call him my friend.
Craig C. on 11/25/2014
Talk about motivating! Mitch has been very encouraging along my wellness journey. The programs and classes he manages to have easily accessible while at work truly make being my best self easy and exciting. He is one of the reason I love working where I do. I cannot wait to see what else he has up his sleeve!
Kari A. on 11/24/2014
Mitch accomplishes more in one day than most people do in a month! The Wellness program has grown by leaps and bounds since he took the helm and his enthusiasm and commitment to others' well being is an inspiration.
Mary K. on 11/24/2014