ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Sharon Clark

The Magic of Mentoring

Current Company: Blue Cross Blue Shield South Carolina
Job Title: Health Resource Analyst on site for Corporate Client
Industry Type: Employer, Health Care; Client, Retail
Years In The Field: 18
Organization Size: Client 70,000

Professional Development

My education after military service was a MSH for Aging Studies. The internship led to learning the WELCOA 7C’s and completing a Gold level application package. This exposure led me to return to school for a MSH in Health Promotion/Education and a Doctorate in Health Science. Designations include MCHES, CWPC, WELCOA Faculty and served as a FCWWC Board Member. WELCOA has been most beneficial as my working knowledge of the process helped me secure my role with BCBS as it was their wellness planning model. In 2013, I earned a Wellness Leader award.

Demonstrated Success

Promoting completion of both biometric screenings and a health risk assessment on an annual basis is the backbone of the client’s wellness program. Overseeing the planning and administration during the past three years has seen participation rates for each grow to greater than eighty four percent. Completion of these tools allows employees to know their numbers and health risk factors.

I provide education on the tools that BCBS provides to help participants make positive changes to their health status such as on-line health education, advocacy, and wellness/ disease management coaching. Completing an annual needs assessment of this and data including claims and readiness to change provide a basis for programming for the year. It is developed using the WELOCA annual operating plan. Interventions include those to address improved nutrition and increased physical activity (i.e. Weight Watchers at Work, on-site exercise classes with YMCA, etc.). Projects underway are internal/ external walking paths and a stair walking program.

While building this initial wellness program for the client, the outcomes have garnered local awards as one of Jacksonville’s Healthiest Companies, Gold level award with the FCWWC, and AHA Gold Fit Friendly Company.

The program is being built utilizing WELCOA 7 Benchmarks as the planning model. I have developed and presented these principles to three different sets of leadership teams that have transitioned through multiple mergers of the client’s organization with growth to 73,000 employees. As the program grows and more tools are provided to support the employees in making healthier choices easier (i.e. supportive environment), the result is in a culture change to incorporating health as a part of the daily business process.

Previously, I served as the employer role in a heart healthy outcome study done in a unique partnership with the employer, the health plan and pharmaceutical company. The study demonstrated statistical significance in positive changes to participant’s blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. I was able to report these findings in a poster presentation at an AHA conference which garnered recognition in multiple reports and journal articles. This intervention along with a comprehensive level of planning and implementation earned the workplace a Platinum Level Well Workplace award from WELCOA.

I learned how to develop the program solely from WELOCA utilizing the books, website and resources WELCOA provided. I also reached out to the local and national WELCOA organizations to get the support to learn and utilize these principles. Going back to college, I was able to understand the foundations for the WELCOA process such as health belief model; stages of change; importance of self-efficacy etc. The successes of both of the programs demonstrate the WECOA model and principles in action.



My method for finding a healthy balance to life is to share my knowledge and help others as a mentor. I have accomplished this by supporting an Internship program with two colleges at the workplace. In this way, I am able to work one-on-one with individual students for an extended period of time. I teach them both the WELCOA principles and how to prepare for the CHES examination.

I have taught how to establish worksite wellness programs utilizing the WECOA model at conferences and to local companies. I currently serve on the UNF College of Health Advisory Board in which we review and update course curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate tracks to make sure the skill sets needed in the field are covered in the coursework. In 2013, I began to teach part time at the University of Phoenix.  My advice to others is to find a way to give back that matches your particular talents and interests.


Hypnosis sessions were offered through EAP for weight management and stress management but participation in weight management was high while stress management was low. By combining the two into a single course, participation rose past what each had done originally and stayed steady for multiple years. Pre/post evaluations showed positive change in stress levels.

The safety program was already established with a good safety rating. I implemented the wellness component of a behavior based safety program in which our team developed a safety and health passport. I developed the metrics for demonstrating employee wellness habits. The accident rates decreased over the subsequent three plus years.

I was challenged to find a way to engage the retail population in learning about their health benefits. The proposed solution is a virtual health fair that will mimic the experience of an on-site health fair. Initial approval was provided and project is under development.

Compelling Vision

Make a difference in the health of the community by empowering individuals to change.

The most exciting opportunity is that since the majority of health risks are lifestyle related, health promotion can make a difference and is a major part of the solution to the health care crisis. Another opportunity is in expansion of the use of health coaching for lifestyle changes for low and medium risk populations to keep them from moving to a higher risk level. An ongoing threat is the financing for health promotion given the limited amount of resources and other competing groups.


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Sharon C.
Health Resourse Analyst with Blue Cross Blue Shield SC View Sharon C.'s Profile.
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