Serving as the Workplace Wellness Consultant for the last five years in the employee benefits division at Rosenfeld Einstein, A Marsh & McLennan Agency I assist our mid to large sized employers in developing health and wellness initiatives in the workplace. As the agency's health management practice leader I work with clients to develop, implement and maintain targeted health and wellness interventions to assist in keeping their most important assets healthy and well. For the employees, including our own, health and wellness programs provide opportunities to lead healthier lifestyles, manage chronic illnesses, reduce stress, and improve their psychological well-being. These programs include health awareness and education, mini-challenges and yearlong initiatives, as well as health coaching to on-site health clinics to assist employees in their individual needs and goals. Through the use of data analytics our population health management team assesses available data to increase the success of managing and improving an organization's population through cost driver identification, value-based benefit design, risk mitigation, and recognizing gaps in care. I serve as the lead facilitator of the At Work group of a local coalition called LiveWell Greenville. This organization provides resources for many of our agency’s smaller clients and for all businesses they are able to share ideas, learn from others, and benchmark their programs through the coalition’s offerings.
My career in health and wellness began as a pre-med student with thoughts of becoming an orthopedic surgeon, but soon realized I wanted to be a part of preventing illness and disease than treating or suturing it. After redirecting my efforts, I graduated with a BS in Athletic Training. As the Athletic Trainer in high school settings focused on preventing injuries and treating or rehabbing those that occurred, I quickly appreciated a greater passion for education and prevention. Desiring to transfer those efforts I moved into wellness coaching directly for an organization’s employees, and earned my certification with Wellcoaches. Our team cultivated a comprehensive wellness program which received WELCOA’s Gold Well Workplace Award. During this time, I also earned my Masters in Business Administration. I joined Rosenfeld Einstein soon after with a goal of impacting more of our community through outreach to the local businesses. Not only has Rosenfeld Einstein earned distinctions from WELCOA, American Heart Association, and LiveWell Greenville, but many of our clients have earned these honors too.
My role in achieving success is a much more behind the scenes role. My goal and desire is to help my clients (organizations) design and implement programs that will help them build a healthier and stronger organization. Success is happy and healthier employees that result in a happy and healthier organization through improved morale, productivity, and decreased costs in the way of decreased healthcare and disability claims.
The most successful intervention for the majority of our clients has been on-site health coaching either through certified health coaches, registered nurses, or nurse practitioners who are focused on assisting employees with their individuals needs and permeate a sense of well-being throughout the organization. Data becomes invaluable in assisting healthcare providers with this role. When we include dependents in these offerings, the success grows exponentially. The impact of the healthcare providers truly runs the gamut of turning around the onset of serious illness and disease to simple lifestyle changes that can change a whole family’s direction to a more positive and healthy outcome. Relationships are so very important, and as successes occur in an organization whether its reversing hypertension, losing weight, or quitting smoking positive news will spread like wildfire and encourage others, and with the right efforts a new culture born.
WELCOA’s Benchmarks are the building blocks of these successful outcomes. Every client and situation approaches these benchmarks in different ways and manners. As consultants we rely heavily on the data, and this drives many of our initiatives and the superseding plan. Yet, in many cases the foundation needs the most work, and I tend to spend more time working with my clients on improving the environment. However for some, senior leadership is a greater obstacle. I rely on some variation of WELCOA’s environmental checklist to determine the greatest needs and opportunities for each of my clients, and review this checklist frequently to assess progress as well as next steps.
I am an adventurous spirit and desire to live life to its fullest. Leaving no rock unturned and no challenge unaccepted. With regularity I train for triathlons, and also enjoy yoga, hiking, soccer, backpacking and walking my dog, Gracie. I summited Mt. Rainier, which seemed an even more difficult accomplishment than finishing an iron distance triathlon in less than 121/2 hours. The bigger message is what once thought impossible is definitely possible. Sure, I have nights when I just want to collapse on the couch instead of going for a two hour bike ride. I juggle long training hours, charitable work, social hours, and work among all else life has to throw at us, and somehow manage. I am blessed and fortunate to be able to live my life to the fullest and every day of a little pain and suffering is a reminder of how lucky I am. My career certainly reminds me to take care of my whole self in order to find longevity and quality of life. I found activities I enjoy and are rewarding to me, and that is always my advice to my clients and friends. Find an activity you enjoy or find someone’s company to make the activity more enjoyable. Even though my goals may be a little different than most, the important thing is that I am achieving my goals, that is where it all begins. Set your goal today!
Individuals are uniquely motivated to create change in their lives and our goal is to create opportunities to help them find this motivation. Focusing on overall well-being and helping people seek out personal goals and the important aspects in our lives is one difference I have made in the way we approach health and wellness. This is why health coaching is successful. A unique program I started during the holiday season that resulted in great feedback and incredible impact was a program I called “Give the Gift of Wellness”. During the holiday season employees were encouraged to find a co-worker or friend to “give the gift of wellness” to by sharing a healthy activity on their challenge sheet. Activities included nutrition, physical activity, mental health, spirituality, finances, and philanthropy. A few examples were to donate blood or donate three coats to a homeless shelter (as a result save three lives), write a letter to a friend you have not spoken to in a while, cook a healthy meal with a friend, have a salad today, write down five things in which you are grateful, go for a walk with a friend or your pet, try a new class today, perform ten minutes of meditation, and the list went on and on. I received notes of gratitude and excitement as our employees engaged in these activities and found not only personal successes in these small activities but renewed habits, passions, and even friendships. In addition, for every employee who completed the challenge our organization donated $10 to a local agency that helps victims of domestic violence.
One of our toughest challenges as wellness practitioners is combating convenience. Our population runs up against more convenient yet unhealthy choices several times a day. We are encouraging our population to be active when they are tired, to cook when they can dine out or order in, to save when every turn they make encourages them to spend, to give back when most feel they have nothing to give, and even to disengage to find peace and quiet in a world that is more connected and tumultuous than ever. Thus our toughest challenge has become to make the healthy choice the easy choice; as is the tagline of the coalition in which I lead our At Work community initiative within LiveWell Greenville. Beyond education and health promotion, I believe our focus needs to be on environmental and policy change that supports the goal of making the healthy choice the easy choice for all. This will take the collaboration of not only wellness practitioners but our business leaders, healthcare providers, non-profits and coalitions, researchers, and many volunteers. I intend to continue my efforts of working with our local businesses and leaders to improve our community resources and environments to offer healthier, easier choices.