Our Summer Research Think Tank Proceedings

We framed much of our Research Think Tank on well-being last week around one of the best examples I know of that catalyzes a super smart group who are determined to improve health and well-being in America. Sound familiar? Dr. Carley Riley, a researcher from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) joined us to review their “100 Million Healthier Lives” campaign. If the system IHI envisions is built well, they hope to “fundamentally transform the way the world thinks and acts to improve health and well-being.” Nico Pronk from HealthPartners said “we can treat 100 million healthier lives as our own.” Such enthusiastic adoption is precisely what Riley hoped for when she accepted our invitation. My sincere thanks to my colleague Dr. Jessica Grossmeier who so memorably organized and led our sessions. Our full Think Tank Proceedings feature presentations and PowerPoint slides from eight other nationally recognized experts in health and well-being. HERO members can access two of the Think Tank Webinars in our Resource Center. Don’t miss reading about Dr. Ron Goetzel’s “Do the Duh!” idea and how this silly notion may well be precisely what it takes for HERO members to help IHI realize their dream.


HERO’s Big Audacious Goals

Dr. Riley and IHI are taking such an exemplary approach to partnerships, her work spawned great questions and comments during our Think Tank about HERO’s goals. We’re glad you’re asking! Last year, the HERO Board substantially revised our vision. Where in the past HERO’s goal was essentially “to advance best practices in employee health management,” our new vision is: “All workplaces will positively influence the health and well-being of employees, families and communities.” The words “all,” “well-being” and “families and communities,” all signal the Board’s anticipation of what Dr. Goetzel described last week as “seismic changes” occurring on our field and what Dr. Riley described as a need for “unprecedented collaboration” if we are to achieve true transformation.

We need to put more details behind such a grand HERO vision and that’s what I’m presently working on with the HERO Board. Currently, there are several big, daring elements to our plan that are conceptually quite simple but far from easy. Where in the past HERO has been known for framing the rules of the game (our metrics guides) and helping people keep score during the game (the HERO Scorecard), our new plan is about being game changers. Our big dream is to increase the number of companies who use the HERO Scorecard and who track a cohort over time. But, even more ambitiously, we want to effect positive changes in their scores. That is, we want HERO to play a big role in the number of companies in America who are improving in their use of strategic planning in health and well-being, increasing employee engagement and, due to this, improving health and well-being outcomes for employees, families and communities. To do this would mean that we’re full partners with Riley and many others who share a vision of millions of healthier lives in America.

New Volunteer Leadership for HERO’s Research Committees 

We are excited to announce that Dr. Steven Noeldner has accepted a new role at HERO as Chair of the HERO Research Committee. As most long time HERO members know, Dr. David Anderson has been serving in the role forever and as part of succession planning at HERO, we recruited Steven to step into this leadership role. As part of this succession, Kristi Rahrig Jenkins and Colleen Saringer have been selected to serve as the new Research Study Subcommittee Co-Chairs. To see their contributions to HERO and their impressive research backgrounds and interests, read on.


jenkins kristi 3132123705Colleen_Saringer


Forum Logo






HERO Forum

The 2016 HERO Forum on Leading in Well-Being: Workplaces Influencing the Health of Employees, Families & Communities will be in Atlanta, GA, September 27-29, at the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

HERO Think Tank on Sustainability (Monday, September 26th)

HERO Pre-Conference Healthcare Summit (Monday, September 26th)

HERO Pre-Conference University Summit (Monday, September 26th)


The Final EEOC Rules: What was answered? What remains unanswered?

In June, HERO hosted a Wednesday Webinar regarding the EEOC rules issued May 16 on the use of financial incentives in wellness programs. Read more about what our expert panel discussed and access the recording of the webinar here.

HERO Research Think Tank Webinars

Were you unable to join us at our annual Research Meeting? Not to worry! HERO members can watch recordings of certain sessions and view the PowerPoint slides in our Resource Center.

Upcoming Webinar

Innovations in Incentives and the EEOC Final Rules
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 at 1:00 PM Eastern.
Register for the Webinar HERE.

HERO partners with the American Journal of Health Promotion for webinars of interest to our members. The July/August 2016 issue of The Art of Health Promotion features expert commentaries relating to the final rules issued by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) last month. As most employers hoped, the rules better align the EEOC rules with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) wellness provisions. They also offer more clarifications about the boundaries that human rights proponents consider critical to fairness in employee relations and attempt to address the balance between voluntariness and accountability. We have invited some of those experts to join us for this free, live webinar where we will explore this timely and important issue.


Hosted by: Paul E. Terry, PhD

karen horgan

Karen Horgan, MBA

Michael O'Donnell 2011 Bill Whitmer Leadership Award

Michael P. O’Donnell, PhD, MBA, MPH

 Jim Pshock Founder, President and CEO, Bravo HERO Member and Co-Author of our EEOC Guidance Paper

Jim Pshock






lavaughnJust Three Questions
for LaVaughn Palma-Davis

Palma-Davis is Senior Director of Health and Well-being Initiatives at the University of Michigan and Immediate Past Chair of the HERO Board of Directors.

What are you advising young professionals just getting into our field? 

I encourage young professionals to pursue a well-rounded education and experience that not only includes content in specific health topic areas and health behavior/health education theory, but also includes broader knowledge about public health and psychology (both individual and organizational). I also encourage them to develop an understanding of and skills in change management, strategic planning, leadership development, organizational development and marketing. All of these skill areas are important to making a sustainable difference at both the individual and organizational levels. To gain experience and skills in these areas, I strongly encourage them to seek internships and volunteer opportunities as well as attending national best practice forums.

What are you currently reading from your professional bookshelf?

The latest publication that I am reading is the recently released survey report conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and NPR on “The Workplace and Health,” which can be found here.

What are you currently reading for pleasure?

I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which is about the experiences of a family living in France during World War II.

Rx: Pokémon Go?

A few days ago, I went to the “Poke-stop” in my small town of Waconia, Minnesota, (population 11,490) to learn why I was losing my Pokémon “gym battles” and, more importantly, to survey the growing numbers of twentysomethings exploring my community’s parks and landmarks. Time will tell whether Nintendo has produced a magic bullet with salient effects on health-related engagement. Read on.


A Barber, a Professor, and an Entrepreneur Walk into a Room: Health Equity and the Strength of Weak Ties

I wrote this article on Employers and Health Equity after a convening meeting that surpassed my expectations. I was pleased to represent HERO at an inaugural event hosted by The Futures Institute and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which we later dubbed the “Lincoln Cottage Assembly” in Washington D.C.

New Measures of Health and Well-being.

HERO member, HealthPartners, has developed summary measures of health and well-being. At our Research Think Tank last week, Dr. Nico Pronk, one of this report’s co-authors, described his belief that “well-being and sustainability need to be advanced together.” We will be discussing this premise at our fall HERO Think Tank on Sustainability. The lead author for this just released report is Dr. Tom Kottke, who also presented at last week’s HERO Research Think Tank. Kottke and colleagues describe measures that align with the recommendations of the For the Public’s Health series of reports from the Institute of Medicine. The sustainability of health measure comprises member reporting of six behaviors associated with health, plus a clinical preventive services index that indicates adherence to evidence-based preventive care guidelines. Life satisfaction represents the summary measure of subjective well-being.

The New EEOC Rules and Incentives Design: A Call for Effort Based Incentives.

Too many incentives schemes I’ve reviewed connote that employees will be penalized if they don’t hit a ‘‘required’’ target. It shows either an indifference or an ignorance about both the ACA and the EEOC’s guidance in the use of incentives. The rules essentially say voluntariness means ‘‘either/or’’ when health contingent designs that take vital measures are used. Either show progress toward or achieve a clinical standard, or show some effort. The Art of Health Promotion articles on “Incentives and the EEOC Issue” is here.


Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Named 2016 Prevention Excellence Award Recipient

Prevention Partners Board Chair, Gregg Stave, HERO President & CEO, Paul Terry, HERO Director of Marketing and Operations, Pat Rohner, and Prevention Partners President & CEO, Meg Molloy.

Prevention Partners Board Chair, Gregg Stave, HERO President & CEO, Paul Terry, HERO Director of Marketing and Operations, Pat Rohner, and Prevention Partners President & CEO, Meg Molloy.

Meg Molloy, President and CEO of Prevention Partners presented HERO with Prevention Partners’ 2016 Prevention Excellence Award at the inaugural National Healthy Places Summit on June 14 in Raleigh, N.C. The Prevention Excellence Award is a national award given to an organization that exemplifies leadership in prevention. Molloy wrote that “HERO is the recipient of the Award for how well they advance best practices to employers to support healthy employees, and doubly so because of how they work. They bring a true spirit of collaboration, they celebrate the wins of colleagues, and they foster continuous learning within the field.” Read on.


©2023 Health Enhancement Research Organization ‘HERO’


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