1) Where did the HERO name and logo come from?

Bill Whitmer was a very creative person and was responsible for coming up with the original name (Health Enhancement Research Organization) as well as the HERO acronym. As a result of unanticipated results from Google searches of the term “health enhancement,” the organization began relying on the acronym. HERO is a wonderful and memorable metaphor for the organization’s leadership in changing how we think about health and well-being, which was Bill’s bold vision from the beginning.

The logo was designed in the early days by a HERO member who was a marketer for Polar, the maker of heart rate monitors. After the name had been decided, he sat in one of our meetings and created it on the fly. I’m not sure of the symbolism but people liked the simplicity from the start. It was adopted by the group immediately.

2) Early Meetings

All meetings, in the beginning, were meetings of the whole. If you paid your dues, you came. To a sophisticated observer, it was kind of like the Wild West, but it worked. The membership was small in the beginning but, even as the organization grew, this core value of collaboration has served HERO well. The insight that much more can be accomplished by working together with no hidden agendas is a legacy passed down by our founders and has positioned HERO as a leader in bringing diverse stakeholders together to find common ground on difficult challenges.

An early example of the benefits of collaboration was the project proposed by David Anderson and Ron Goetzel in the organization’s kick-off meeting, which was to put the HERO database together. They estimated it would cost about $150,000 to establish and conduct the initial research project. Mark Dundon stepped forward and agreed to fund half the cost if other members would cover the other half.  We decided to ask the health systems to pledge $15,000 each and the remaining amount we needed was divided up among the other 13 members on a voluntary basis. Within about an hour we had a commitment from all members and had raised the $150,000 we needed to get started.

By Mark Dundon, HERO co-Founder and original HERO Board Member and David Anderson, Original HERO Board Member

Mark Dundon

David Anderson

Submitted by: David Anderson, PhD LP  Co-founder & Adviser, StayWell


©2024 Health Enhancement Research Organization ‘HERO’


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