Upcoming Learning Opportunities Abound!

Check out the Upcoming Events section below. You will find information on the member’s only Fall Think Tank, “The Intersection of Financial Well-being and Mental Health,” taking place at 2:30 PM on Monday, October 1st. That morning we will also be hosting the University and Healthcare Summits. Each Summit features expert panels discussing research and trends that effect our workplaces.

After all that, the keynotes, panels and networking continue with HEROForum18 on October 2nd – 4th in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Three days of learnings designed to advance your work in improving the health and well-being of all workers, from those on the front lines and beyond. We hope to see you all there!

Finally, tomorrow’s HERO webinar offers a spectacular preview of one of the Forum’s keynotes. Jack Groppel and Jennifer Bruno’s “What’s Your Mountain?” webinar is this Wednesday, August 15th at 12:00 PM CDT. Registration information below in Webinars.


HERO Fall Think Tank

A HERO Members Only Event

The Intersection of Financial Well-being and Mental Health

October 1, 2018 | Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Sawgrass Marriott

The movement from wellness to well-being has been, at its heart, a shift from a human deficits orientation that focused on reducing health risks and managing disease to an assets-based model that appreciates individual autonomy and aspirations and fosters human performance. In practice, this shift has been ushered in by more workplace initiatives intent on building a supportive culture and social connectivity. Though the need for health coaching for stress, healthy eating and smoking cessation has not abated, we are also seeing ever more programs that teach mindfulness, financial well-being and resiliency. Review the teachings about dualism from the likes of Aristotle and René Descartes and you are reminded that the connection between mind and body are far from new concepts. Nevertheless, are employers and workplaces poised to do like the Greek and French philosopher/scientists did and foster a seamless integration between their occupational health and mental health initiatives?

Informal interviews with HERO members and study committees over the past months shows that worksite health promotion leaders fully appreciate the profound intersection between financial well-being and mental health. Nevertheless, we are at the nascent stages of an inclusive approach that treats this busy intersection as a place where strategic planning, data collection and program evaluation should reside. In this HERO Think Tank, we will walk carefully through this perilous intersection and, in our usual Hegelian dialectic fashion, we will conjure and debate various theses and antitheses relating to money and emotions. We will ask how financial well-being initiatives can be tailored to address both the famine of savings in America as well as confront the mental strain that is eroding American resiliency and productivity. Most decidedly, we will structure this half day to equip HERO members with ideas and actionable approaches to walking into this intersection with confidence and with eyes wide open about the grand possibilities on the other side.

Things to Do

✔ Read the AGENDA

✔ REGISTER for Fall Think Tank (HERO members only)

HERO Healthcare Summit

What Do Consumers Really Want? Health System Transformation in the Era of Consumerism

October 1, 2018 | Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

U.S. Healthcare is in a state of constant rapid and tumultuous transformation driven by advancing technology, unsustainable rising costs and changing consumer demands and expectations. Healthcare consumerism has intensified as consumers are sharing an increasing economic burden and are confronted with expanding options for accessing healthcare services. This year’s Healthcare Summit will explore the role of healthcare consumerism on health care transformation and its impact on key stakeholders.

Things to Do

✔ Watch for the AGENDA – coming soon!

✔ REGISTER for the Healthcare Summit

HERO University Summit

Community Building as a Pathway to a Thriving Campus

October 1, 2018 | Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Includes the University Summit Dinner on Sunday, September 30th.

Things to Do

✔ Watch for the AGENDA – coming soon!

✔ REGISTER for the University Summit


From the C-Suite to the Shop Floor: Well-being for All

October 2-4, 2018 | Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

The aims of the C-Suite and the shop floor need to be aligned and congruent; health improvement has always required interconnectivity between the organization and its subgroups and individuals. But here’s the big audacious challenge: Health risks and related costs have not abated, and the pathways between well-being and business performance are still being forged in both science and practice. As HEROForum17 demonstrated so powerfully, socio-ecological models for health and the influence of the built environment, families, and communities are vitally linked. At HEROForum18, we are dedicated to elevating the conversation in worksite health promotion by bringing new thinking, open and honest disciplined reflection and, as always, innovative new strategies and tools to make well-being possible for all.

Things to Do

✔ Browse the 3-Day AGENDA

✔ Meet our EXPERTS

✔ REGISTER for HEROForum18


New HERO Scorecard Commentary

There is no simple answer to the question, “Do employee health and well-being initiatives work?” because it depends on the specific goals of each organizational sponsor, the quality of the initiatives implemented, and the contextual environment supporting them. A recent analysis of the benchmark database from the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer examines the role of individually targeted lifestyle management services on health and medical cost outcomes. Check out the HERO Blog for the latest analysis on “Lifestyle Management Services Associated with Employee Health Risk and Medical Costs,” authored by Dr. Xiaohui (Sherry) Tang, PhD, Research Coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine.

HERO position paper on the value of wellness initiatives

Despite a large and growing evidence base demonstrating the positive outcomes of best-practice health and well-being initiatives, media coverage of occasional studies with negative findings sometimes creates confusion among employers about what really works in wellness.

HERO has collaborated with numerous researchers, consultants, and subject matter experts to develop a commentary to help HERO members better assess research findings by providing tips on how to critically examine research on program effectiveness. Our bottom line message encourages consumers of media to read research studies for themselves, applying a series of critical thinking questions to it and drawing their own conclusions about the study findings rather than relying solely on mass media articles and bloggers to interpret the findings. The tips are available in a brief executive summary on the HERO Blog, and an expanded version applying the tips to the recently published Illinois Workplace Wellness Study is available in the HERO member Think Tank Library.


What’s Your Mountain?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 – 12 p.m. CDT

Jennifer Bruno

With Guests: Jennifer Bruno, vice president of Global Health Services, Johnson & Johnson, and Jack Groppel, PhD, co-founder of Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute

Jennifer Bruno and Jack Groppel were tested when climbing the largest mountain on the African continent. From the known challenges they planned for to the unknown events they could never have imagined, their human spirit was tested. The goal was to summit Mount Kilimanjaro and return safely. But with any goal in life, what lies in the purpose is what really makes the journey. This webinar shares insights they learned while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, offering applications to overcoming life’s challenges. Register now online.

Management Practices that Produce Human Sustainability

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – 12 p.m. CDT

With Guest: Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and co-host Patty Purpur de Vries, Associate Director of Enterprise Wellness: Innovation & Strategy; Director, Stanford LeadWell, Stanford Health Improvement Program, Stanford University

Every company is in the health care business because companies decide on what health benefits to offer (and who will pay for them) and because work environments profoundly affect employee health through things such as work hours, economic insecurity, work-family conflict, social support, and job control. Company performance is also in play, as stress is correlated with turnover and sickness with productivity and workers’ compensation costs. Work organizations need to build healthy workplaces, not through programs that attempt to remediate harm but by building management practices that produce human sustainability. Register now online.


Resources and Readings

New study examines employee preferences in incentives

Researchers from HERO member University of Michigan published a new study in Health Promotion Practice led by HERO Research Study Subcommittee co-chair, Kristi Rahrig Jenkins. The study examines differences in employee preferences for incentivizing participation in healthy behaviors and wellness programs. The study found preferences for incentives differed by employees’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Organizations may consider using a similar approach to identify employee preferences and modify their approach to effectively engage non-participants in wellness offerings.

Making Health a Business Strategy

Paul Terry was a guest on the Matt Johnson Performance Podcast, June 16, 2018. Listen Here.

Marion Nestle: One of my Heroes who Disrupts the Spread of Falsity in Nutrition

When it comes to our core work of supporting healthy decision making for individuals, organizations and communities, the unfettered, voluminous material available has, unimaginably, made facts seem fickle. Read Paul’s Blog here.

Do “workplace wellness” programs work?

Read this thoughtful and even-handed analysis of workplace health promotion programs from Knowable Magazine.


photo of Matt Miller

Matt Miller

Matt Miller

Throughout 2018, each edition of HERO Briefs will include a member profile with answers to three questions we believe will interest HERO members.

Our July member profile features Matt Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Science for Staywell.

Q. Can you share a story about a grassroots leader who is helping you advance well-being in your organization?

A. Stefan Gingerich, a name that should be familiar to many of you, is a long time StayWell employee. In addition to his work helping to lead research and evaluation efforts for the products and services we offer, Stefan has been a regular attendee at the StayWell employee fitness center. For the last 6+ months Stefan can be found in the gym around the noon hour using his lunch break as an opportunity to invest in his health. Weight lifting, treadmill workouts, and high-intensity-interval-training are all common parts of his routine. Although he appreciates the opportunity to improve his personal fitness, Stefan also sees the activity as a chance to reduce stress and improve focus for the afternoon’s responsibilities. As you are all well aware, having internal wellness champions is a crucial component of developing an organizational culture of health. Stefan’s commitment to personal well-being is an inspiration to other employees. As you might imagine, Stefan is often no longer in the gym alone as other StayWellians have taken up similar routines.

Q. What is a key focus for your health and well-being initiatives in the coming months?

A. Continuing to do deep dives into the literature around evidence-based best practices for stress interventions is a key focus for the coming months. We are particularly interested in expanding our virtual reality programming on meditation and mindfulness. To do this well, we need to have an exhaustive understanding of the appropriate behavior change techniques to include in our offering along with the most valid and reliable measurement strategy. We’re also planning on executing a number of different research protocols in this space to better understand the efficacy of our current virtual reality program. Pretty exciting stuff!

Q. What’s on your personal reading list that you’d recommend to fellow HERO members?

A. A favorite book of mine that I am currently re-reading is “A Failure of Nerve – Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix”‘ by Lee Friedman. If you haven’t taken a systems theory class in a while, parts of the book are a bit laborious. That said, I think it provides a wonderful framework for creating and maintaining healthy relationships that can be implemented at work and at home. Highly recommend.

©2024 Health Enhancement Research Organization ‘HERO’


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