ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Gina Dansak

On the Road to Wellness

My name is Gina Dansak. I work for Highmark, a leader in the health care industry with more than 20,000 employees. I am the Mobile Marketing Manager and I have been overseeing the mobile tour for five and a half years.

1. Professional Development

I attended Philadelphia University on a full basketball scholarship, where I earned a bachelor’s in Management, a Psychology minor, and my MBA. The competitive basketball program and MBA program prepared me for the challenges of the wellness field. In 2010 I was honored as a Highmark Star for my contributions to my department. I am a National Wellness Institute Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist, and recently earned faculty status through WELCOA. My decision to work in the health promotion field stems from a desire to live a full and meaningful life, and to be able to spend my life helping others.


2. Demonstrated Success

The Highmark Direct Mobile Marketing Tour is on the road visiting clients to assist with implementing worksite Wellness Profile campaigns. We help consumers complete an online risk assessment, which gauges an individual member’s overall health and offers applicable resources and recommendations for improvement. We return to the same clients several years in a row and are able to witness the successes of our program. It is indescribably rewarding to see members who have struggled with their weight come back lighter and healthier. It is exhilarating to see the two-pack-a-day smoker check the box on his wellness profile that he has finally kicked the habit. We know that our wellness profile and programs identify for the individual an unhealthy decision and ultimately lead them to make a lifestyle change. While these outcomes certainly have a monetary benefit for the individual, the plan, and society as a whole, the reward to me is knowing that we have played a part in helping that individual live a longer and healthier life.

All seven of WELCOA’s Benchmarks are necessary if a workplace is going to be successful in its long-term wellness goals. Specifically at Highmark there are teams of wellness professionals who carefully advise clients and work collaboratively to implement the right programs for each client. Data capture is a focal point of the mobile tour to ensure that a value can be given to each tour stop made. Also a priority of the tour is creating a supportive environment to encourage full engagement for the members that we are serving. We always make sure to provide a comfortable, non-judgmental space with a welcoming staff where clients can freely ask questions and provide information about their lifestyle choices. 

The data the tour collects is used to mold wellness programs to the individual clients. No two programs are the same because each client the tour visits has different health challenges. For example, one client may have workers who spend their work day hunched over a computer screen while another client may repetitively insert bolts into an engine block. The data we gather about their workplace health and their home health leads to smart and tailored programs that have the greatest chance to make impactful changes to clients’ health.


3. Leadership

Each day I choose to make my health a priority because I want to be at my best for my family and friends. If am well, then I can do more for others. The most rewarding way for me to “walk the talk” is to do so alongside the people I care about. I regularly play tennis with my husband and I participate in a variety of group fitness classes.  I have learned that my wellness and that of others is a communal effort where the support and encouragement of your friends and family coalesce to make everyone healthier. The realization that wellness does not occur in a vacuum has led me to take an active role in my community to encourage everyone to be well for the ones they love. My advice for those wanting to become leaders in the field is that influence does not always come from speeches or rhetoric, but often by example.    


4. Innovation

Highmark’s wellness programming approach is innovative because we engage members on an individual level, where and when it is convenient for the consumer. In 2009 the Highmark Direct Mobile Marketing Tour launched. The tour consists of two vehicles: a 53 foot double expandable tractor trailer and a 28 foot box truck. We bring meeting space and on-board technology directly to our consumers’ places of work to provide one-on-one conversations about health and wellness programs. Individualized conversations promote better engagement which translates to cost savings for both the consumers as well as their employers. The better engaged members are with their wellness program, the more likely they are to see results that can lead to lasting behavior change. When a company demonstrates their commitment to worksite wellness by bringing such a visible resource directly to their employees there is an opportunity for the culture of that workplace to be enhanced.


5. Compelling Vision

I consider competition in the marketplace to be the biggest opportunity and also the biggest threat to the Health Promotion Industry. As the industry expands and more professionals join the workforce, there is an opportunity for us to push ourselves to be at our best. On the other hand, the substantial funding that is invested in the healthcare industry can invite unscrupulous behavior. There is the threat of people entering the market without employee health as their priority. For those of us working in the industry with the right intentions, it is our obligation to make sure that we are always servicing our clients in an ethical and responsible manner. In the next five years I intend to continue investing in my education by staying fully engaged in all the programs that WELCOA has to offer.

You can vote as often as you like. You may vote once per hour per entry.
When you come back, use the search function to find this entry.
Flag as Inappropriate

You can vote as often as you like. You may vote once per hour per entry.
When you come back, use the search function to find this entry.


profile photo Posted by
Gina D.
View Gina D.'s Profile.
Post a Comment

Comment 1

Comments are in order of newest to oldest

Gina is a assest to the working professional.

james c. on 11/07/2014

Post a Comment