ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Tina Parsons

The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Current Company: MidMichigan Health - University of Michigan Health Systems
Job Title: Manager Employee Wellness
Industry Type: Health Care
Years in the Field: 25 Years (8 years in current position)
Organization Size: 4800+ Employees

Professional Development

  • B.A. Recreation and Park Administration
  • M.A. Health Education
  • Teaching Certificate – Health and Physical Education K-12
  • Certified WellCoach©
  • ACSM – HFS
  • ACE – cPT
  • American Heart Association – BLS Certified
  • Freedom from Smoking© – Certified facilitator
  • Reiki Master Practitioner
  • WELCOA Faculty status
  1. I have always been an active, athletic and health conscious individual. What better way to spend most of your working day loving what you do?!
  2. Specifically in the field of corporate wellness, a combination of my M.A in Health Education, WellCoach Certification, Reiki training and the WELCOA certifications have been the most valuable.

Demonstrated Success

MidMichigan Health’s largest employee wellness intervention is a risk reduction program called “My Healthy Steps” (MHS).Employees are screened for Metabolic Syndrome (MetS). MetS is a cluster of 5 risk factors; employees who have 3 or more of these 5 risk factors present are considered at a significant higher risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

This is a participation base program in which employees can earn the “wellness rate” on their medical plan premium. The savings range from $300-$800 per year depending on the health plan they are enrolled in. The program runs for 12 weeks and may include, free of cost; 6 WellCoach sessions, 12 weeks of Weight Watchers on-line, a consultation with a dietitian or diabetes educator, tobacco cessation and NRT, unlimited Reiki sessions, and either a 12 week membership to our on-site fitness center or 6 personal training sessions. The above opportunities are often mixed and matched to meet the individual interests of the employee.

We consistently screen about 2000 employees during the HRA campaign annually.

In 2011 we piloted our first MHS program. We had 436 employees screen for MetS (about 22% of the population).
In 2013, 283 individuals were screened for MetS (about 14% of the population).
Comparing MHS risk factors from 2011 to 2013;

  • high blood pressure risk was reduced from 54% to 15%
  • high fasting glucose was reduced from 28.7% to 12%

In 2013 MHS post-screening results showed;

  • 23% were no longer screened for MetS
  • 9% were still MetS BUT did eliminate at least 1 MetS risk factor
  • 32% of participants improved their health status during the 12 week program

The 7 Benchmarks; though we have addressed all 7 benchmarks the three below have the most impact right now.

  1. Cohesive Wellness Teams; we have a physician led Wellness Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly, that is comprised of 4 physicians, dietitian, diabetes educator, nurse practitioners, VP of human resources and benefits, food services. These members are representative of the 16 counties MidMichigan Health covers. We also have monthly wellness meetings with the WellCoaches and fitness specialists in our department.
  2. Data collection and Appropriate Interventions; from 2008-2012 we used MayoClinic Embody Health Portal data collection process. The five year data gave us excellent insight to the fact that the health of our employee population was clearly getting worse and that simply offering an HRA without any supplemental programming was not enough. From this data we developed our “My Healthy Steps” 12 week MetS risk reduction program.
  3. Operating plan; our employee wellness program “WellPath” is recognized and used in all communications with wellness. We have a Purpose Statement, Program Objective Statement and a Tag Line. With our Advisory Committee, we have clear annual goals that are in alignment with the overarching MidMichigan Health mission, vision and values.


I have participated with Weight Watchers, worked with a personal trainer and a Wellness Coach. Even though I have been active my entire life and work out daily, that isn’t always enough. We all need a little support and encouragement along the way! I lead side by side with our employees not in front of them.

I have many mentors that are instrumental in my “business” leadership skills. I have taken several leadership workshops including; performance reviews, goal setting, meeting structure, motivational interviewing, appreciative inquiry, Myers-Briggs personality type, 360 evaluation processes, etc… I have read several books including; Emotional Intelligence and Strengths Finder. Internet resources; VIA Institute on Character, Positivity Ratio and WELCOA are great.

Be a life-long learner. Surround yourself with successful people; observe both those you admire and those you don’t. What characteristics do they have that you want to emulate (or not!). Be patient, believe in what you do. Corporate wellness is a leap of faith; be patient, persevere and believe in what you do.


  • Moved from a finger stick to venipuncture for lipid profile and fasting glucose using our in-house lab draw stations. Estimated annual savings of $35,000.
  • Moved from the traditional “open enrollment” HRA campaign to a “year round” campaign.
  • This allows the employee and spouse the flexibility to participate when they are ready.
  • Added spouses, enrolled in the health plan, to the HRA campaign and wellness programming eligibility (free of charge).
  • Successful proposal to hire 4 full-time WellCoaches vs. hiring outside consultants. This allows for a more personal, face-to-face contact and discussion on health behaviors. The medical/hospital industry tends to prefer face-to-face “real” person contact vs. electronic or phone communications.
  • Leveraging in-house technology for data collection and reporting vs. outside consultants. Estimated annual savings of $170,000.

Compelling Vision

My vision for Health Promotion as an industry, I think is the same as what our purpose and objective is here at MidMichigan Health for Health Promotion. Substitute (community, population, individual, culture) for employee and families.

  • To provide an extraordinary, holistic wellness program that is easily accessible, meaningful and engaging for all employees and their families.
  • To create a culture where employees and families are inspired to live healthy.
  • One Life, Choose Well!
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Tina P.
I hold an M.A. in Exercise Science and Health Education from CMU. I am certified through WellCoaches, ACSM and ACE. I manage the Employee Wellness programs for MidMichigan Health. I have spent over 15+ years coaching basketball, volleyball and softball at the middle school and high school level. I am a Master Reiki practitioner and a Freedom from Smoking® facilitator. I have a lot of fun with my husband Jason, sons Jakob and Logan and our dog Delilah. I enjoy spending time at our cottage on Wixom Lake with our family and friends, reading, scrapbooking, running, sports – especially football, softball and golf, theater and sitting on our front porch or in front of our fireplace! View Tina P.'s Profile.
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