ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Elisabeth Doehring


Alabama State SHRM Council
Wellness Director
Human Resources
5 years
2 People on a volunteer basis serving the health and wellness lives of approximately 250,000 in the state of Alabama.


I received my BA from University of Alabama.  Attended/studied at Cumberland School of Law.  Gravitated towards health/sports promotion/marketing.  Found that the best wellness leaders clearly understood communications and marketing.  While working at ST Aerospace Mobile, an international company, I obtained certification as WELCOA Faculty member in 2012.  The 7 WELCOA Benchmarks were key in my work.  In 2013 I attended onsite courses at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and obtained CWWS and CWWPM certifications.  In addition I have written worksite wellness articles for Alabama HR Magazine, Worksite Health International Quarterly, HR Professionals Magazine and an upcoming piece in American Fitness Magazine.


“Wellness Alabama” is a voluntary grassroots education program adopted and launched by the Alabama State SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) Council.  Basic health and wellness outreach delivered to the masses.  “Wellness Alabama” has directly or indirectly impacted the health and wellness of over 200,000 Alabamians.  It is based on WELCOA Benchmarks of “Capturing CEO Support” and “Creating A Supportive Environment (Culture)”.  This resonates with HR and business leaders.

An eye-opening statistic that first caught SHRM leadership’s attention was America’s Health Rankings 2013 Annual Report.  In terms of overall ranking Alabama was 47th.  On an outcomes basis, Alabama ranked 50th nationally.  Diabetes rates placed our state at 47.

Next was the Alabama Department of Public Health’s numbers that showed 1.2 million Alabamians were obese.  More than 430,000 adults have diabetes.  Also, in the same year, physical inactivity decreased from 32.6 percent to 27.2 percent of adults.  Furthermore, there are still more than 960,000 physically inactive adults in the state.  This equates to nearly a million people--many of those who might be dependents of our SHRM member’s employee base--Alabamians who sit in a chair all day watching “Judge Judy” while eating salted carbs out of a bag and washing it down with a can of caffeine soda.

To date “Wellness Alabama” and related wellness conferences have delivered to 90% of our total 14 individual chapters.  Record attendance was noted at many chapters for “Wellness Alabama” programs.  Another milestone!  Chapters have initiated local wellness conferences and forums.  Bimonthly individual chapter newsletters are supplied with health-related articles.  A live “Wellness Alabama” stream went out from Tuscaloosa to all participating chapters on April 17, 2014.  The State Council dedicated the 2014 Annual State SHRM Conference in Birmingham to wellness.  Our campaign and message is on the Alabama SHRM website

“Wellness Alabama” centers around two teams.  Alabama is rich in a heritage of national championship college football programs (Auburn and Alabama) and producing a rich heritage of leaders.  Many world-changing leaders were either born in Alabama or arrived in Alabama and worked or walked our soil and made an impact within our state and beyond. 

Alabama and Auburn football have become a fanatic cry of rallying people around health and wellness in our state.  We have taken free resources that we are rich in and made it a touchpoint for our health and wellness campaign.  Want a loyal commitment from an Alabamian in the fall?  Center it around college football!

“Wellness Alabama” touches lives everyday.  People speak about how the program has directly touched them or changed behaviors for them, their families, and their employees.  I’ve received handwritten notes from supporters of “Wellness Alabama” sharing how this program has affected or changed their lives.

At the end of the year individual SHRM chapters will complete a tracking report.  Points are awarded for hosting a wellness program, publishing articles in chapter newsletters, discussing worksite health and wellness with company/organization leadership or sharing a health/wellness tip at monthly meetings.  Response has been tremendous.


I “walk the talk” by working out at least three days a week.  Also I practice and teach yoga, and have been a RYT-200 Level with Yoga Alliance since 2005.  In addition I practice meditation regularly at the Alabama Meditation Center and promote meditation to employees for work-life balance.  In terms of getting enough rest in the last two months (again winding down last quarter of “Wellness Alabama”) is an area for improvement.  So here I prefer to honestly say that I am “a work in progress!”

In addition I chose optimum health--so I do not eat processed foods.

The resources that I have used to achieve leadership were first and foremost my WELCOA certifications and NWI trainings and certifications. 

Best advice for other wellness practitioners is to never ever stop learning from other wellness leaders.  There are many free resources out there from WELCOA, NWI, and HERO.  Use them.  And don’t be afraid to jump without a parachute!


Meg Baker, Wellness Director for UAB, was in attendance at the Birmingham SHRM Chapter program of “Wellness Alabama” on August 13, 2014.  Meg and other attendees were impressed with the behavior and culture changes noted in the “Wellness Alabama” program.  After hearing and watching the interaction in Rosewood Conference Hall, Meg immediately invited me to be a part of UAB’s upcoming “Third Annual Innovations in Wellness Conference”.

I am honored to be opening speaker at UAB on November 21, 2014 in Birmingham.  My presentation will be “Managing Stress in the Workplace: How to Be Your Own Undercover Stress Boss”!  Other speakers will include Lauren Whitt, Google Wellness Manager, and Mim Senft, Wellness Director for Plus One Health Management of Goldman Sachs.  The event is geared for human resources, nurses, business leaders and health and wellness professionals. 


Threats disappear when all groups within the health promotions industry work together in a team approach.

Speaking of team approach, Greg Payne, Director-Elect of the Mississippi SHRM,  approached me back in late 2012 about the health crisis over in Mississippi.  Greg was concerned.  We talked at length about the CDC’s 2012 Study of Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity for Adults listing Mississippi at 34.6.  Another glaring indicator from a 2012 CDC report was the prevalence of obesity with a BMI of 30.0-99.8 averaging 27.6% for the United States overall.  Yet the rate for Mississippians was 34.6%.  The further breakdown was 30.2% for whites and 43.2% for blacks. 

Mississippi’s new SHRM leader knows that the Magnolia State needs to do much better in the health arena.  Greg asked and recruited me to team-launch a new health and wellness initiative in 2015.  I am honored to be a part of the exciting new program, “Health First Mississippi”.

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Comments 6

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No one is more deserving Elizabeth!! Congratulations! Those that have the opportunity to learn and gain insight from you in this field are better for it.

Justin S. on 11/19/2014

Good luck, E!

Penny D. on 11/18/2014

Congratulations, Elisabeth!

Penny D. on 11/18/2014

Congratulations, Elisabeth!

Gabrielle L. on 11/16/2014

Congrats Elizabeth on your nomination! Well deserved!

Kent A. on 11/13/2014

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