Employees share strategies at US Healthiest HealthLead Forum at OSU

Columbus, OH (June 12, 2012) - Nine organizations representing both the private and public sectors, including three from Ohio, received US Healthiest’s HealthLeadTM Workplace Accreditation and shared their strategies for investing in the health of their employees at the inaugural US Healthiest HealthLead Forum hosted by The Ohio State University and Ohio State’s College of Nursing.

Corporate and academic organizations - including Target Corporation, DTE Energy, ING Direct, Ohio State, HealthPartners, Shape Corporation, and Worthington Industries - participated in HealthLead, US Healthiest’s signature initiative designed to set the standard for employee health management and well-being practices.

 “As the Green Building Council’s LEED certification sets the standard for sustainable building practices, HealthLead accreditation is becoming the de facto standard for healthy, sustainable workplaces,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, chairman of US Healthiest.

High-level representatives from the public, business, and academic sectors outlined worksite health management and well-being as a sustainable business strategy and the importance of healthy workplaces for a healthier nation.  Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS,  17th surgeon general of the United States, president of Canyon Ranch Institute and Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Health Promotion and Entrepreneurship at Ohio State’s College of Nursing spoke at the event on “Worksite Health Management/Well-being as a Business Sustainability Strategy.” Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, discussed “Healthy Workplaces for a Healthy Nation.”

The Ohio State University was the first academic institution to take part in the HealthLead assessment, receiving a bronze rating for its wellness initiatives across campus, including the Your Plan for Health program, One University Health and Wellness leadership group, extended P4 personalized health outreach, and hiring the nation’s first university chief wellness officer.

“There is a strong need for aggressive and innovative health promotion initiatives by employers due to the high prevalence of stress, depression and chronic conditions in the workplace,” stated Dr. Bernadette Melnyk, a nurse practitioner and dean of the College of Nursing, associate vice president for health promotion and university chief wellness officer for Ohio State.  “We are acting with a sense of urgency in implementing evidence-based wellness programs at our university, as findings from research show that healthy employees are engaged and productive, and healthy students are academically successful.  The return on investment is four-fold.”

Through the HealthLead accreditation process, US Healthiest not only recognizes organizations that demonstrate best practices in employee health management and well-being, but also helps them better align these practices with business sustainability, health, productivity, and financial outcomes. As such, HealthLead provides an ongoing continuous quality improvement process, irrespective of an organization’s size and experience in worksite health management.

 “The HealthLead accreditation process provides organizations with an objective lens to examine current health management/well-being practices and provides new insights into making value-based investment decisions that can favorably impact business’ bottom lines, while protecting, supporting, and engaging their number one asset—their people.” said Dr. Nick Baird, CEO of US Healthiest.

After the formal luncheon, newly accredited organizations shared their best practices with attendees through interactive panels. Topics included: value-based benefits plan design, community engagement in health, getting and maintaining senior leader support, the importance of communications in health engagement, measuring and achieving outcomes, healthy food policies, and creating a culture of health through healthful environments.

 “We are thrilled to have HealthLead recognize The Ohio State University’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of our campus community,” said Kathleen McCutcheon, vice president and chief human resources officer, Ohio State. “We will continue to leverage our resources and expertise across our medical center, health plan, and university functions to become the healthiest university on the globe.”

Plans are underway between Ohio State and the US Healthiest to collaborate on a health and wellness assessment for higher education institutions, thereby creating an HealthLead accreditation toward which academic institutions can strive.  A conference dedicated to higher education health and wellness programs will be held at Ohio State in April 2013.

Please visit www.ushealthiest.osu.edu for more information, or contact Kathryn Kelley at 614-688-1062 or kelley.81@osu.edu.