Contributing to a National Conversation: A word from Karen

Last month, I was invited to attend the Southeastern Summit of The Carolina Center, one of the newest Centers of Excellence funded by NIOSH. I love to travel to new places, but it’s also nice when a short drive is all that’s needed. That was the case in December at The Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC.

This month, my commute was even shorter – up two flights of stairs to my home office – to attend the first-ever HERO Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Summit.

SMB23 Word Cloud

We spotlighted inspiring examples of how employers are flipping the narrative: small companies with seemingly more barriers (e.g., limited financial and human resources) are well positioned to maximize the leadership and organizational support best practices that have been linked to lower medical cost and higher productivity. For the full blog post on a few of my takeaways from those meetings, click here.

Next month, the HERO Winter Think Tank will take place at The Rizzo Center on the theme, “Total Worker Health®: Getting Further Upstream in the Integration of Safety, Well-being and Mental Health.” This national conversation is happening in my own backyard, but it’s also happening on every Main Street in America. Small and midsize businesses (with fewer than 1,000 employees) make up more than 99% of businesses in the U.S. For that reason, they must be at the table when we talk about connecting science and practice to demonstrate the value of a health and well-being employer ecosystem. The challenge for HERO and other organizations committed to workforce health and well-being is identifying the evidence of application in the small and midsize workforce.

A recent commentary on the HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer© brings data to the conversation by assessing the differences between organizations of varying sizes relative to how they integrate their health and well-being initiatives with their worksite safety programs.




HERO Hub Launched: Log in to win two room nights at the HERO Forum23

January saw the soft launch of the HERO Hub. Every member can create an account. Explore the site and take advantage of special members-only access. Find everything HERO in one place:

  • Check out the improved HERO Resources. This expanded resource allows you to find HERO presentations, studies and white papers by topic or from a specific event.
  • View a calendar of all HERO Events. See what is coming even before we begin promotions.
  • Register for members-only events.
  • Search the Active Member Directory for a complete list of HERO members.
  • View the HERO Job Board
  • Add to the HERO Resources content. Do you have valuable, non-commercial, content you would like to share?

You still have a few days to get entered into the drawing for two nights at the host hotel during the Forum23 dates. Just log in and add or update your job title, and the state field of your mailing address to be entered.

Don’t have the personalized email invitation that was sent?  Request a new invitation be sent by emailing

HERO Forum News

The HEROForum23 submission portal is open to accept all abstracts for our call for presenters. We invite you to submit an abstract and to share this information with others to help us spread the word and provide Forum23 participants with a variety of speakers from all over the world! See the links below for more information on submission guidelines and the theme of HEROForum23.

Abstracts are due Friday, March 31, 2023.




Forum22 On Demand content is available! Visit the Forum site and click on the Agenda tab. Scroll through the agenda and click on On-Demand Resources for any Forum session to find the slides.

Questions? Contact Ariane Mistral 

The HERO Forum22 Proceedings are now available. We’re grateful to all those who have shared their knowledge with us as a Forum22 speaker. The Forum22 Proceedings are sponsored by Ardmore Institute of Health. Read the full proceedings here.
People with Hands up in the air

Questions on Forum sponsorship? Email


HERO Workplace Health & Well-Being (HWB) Awards

Nominations for the 2023 HERO Awards will open soon. Information on the nomination process, award categories, and submission guidelines will be coming soon. Watch your inbox! Learn more about the 2022 Award Recipients.

HERO Upcoming Events

Winter Think Tank 2023

February 27 & 28, 2023
The Rizzo Center | Chapel Hill, NC

HERO Members- Don’t miss this free, members-only event! Register today and book your room at the Rizzo Center hotel. HERO’s discounted hotel block will end February 13th, so book your stay today!


HERO Health and Well-being Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer©

New Best Practice Scores

It has been noted that organizations of different sizes face unique challenges and opportunities when establishing integrated safety and health programs. A recent HERO Scorecard commentary assesses the differences between organizations of varying sizes relative to how they integrate their health and well-being initiatives with their worksite safety programs. Read the full commentary below.


New Video Case Studies to be released!

The videos will be available to the public for one month before becoming exclusive to HERO members.

February 7th – March 7th

HERO’s Employee Experience (EEx) and Workplace Mental Health and Well-being (WMHW) Committees are pleased to share new video interviews with employers making great strides in advancing EEx and WMHW for their workplaces. Video interviews are available for public viewing February 7 – March 7, and will then be added to HERO’s Member Only Think Tank General Library. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from these exemplary employers!


The Learning Series

Searching for the Path from Employer Wellness Programs to Healthier Employees for Small Businesses

February 16, 2023 | 12 p.m. CT | Register

The University of Washington Health Promotion Center completed a cluster-randomized, controlled trial of HealthLinks, which promotes the implementation of 12 evidence-based interventions (EBIs) aimed at increasing cancer screening, healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation. The three-armed trial in 78 workplaces compared HealthLinks alone, HealthLinks with workplace wellness committees, and a control. Compared to control, workplaces in both intervention arms significantly increased EBI implementation, our primary outcome.

This webinar will describe an analysis of the effect of HealthLinks on seven employee outcomes: the four health-related behaviors above, as well as perceived stress, depression risk, and presenteeism. The analysis tested bivariate associations along potential paths from EBI implementation to these outcomes. Associations were significant for 4 of the 6 indicators of physical activity and healthy eating, as well as for perceived stress, depression risk, and presenteeism.

Learn More


Resources and Readings

  • Depression, anxiety tied to less ideal CV health in young adults(Cardiology Today) – Depression and anxiety in young adults are associated with less ideal CV health, which may be improved with a better diet, physical activity and improved sleep, researchers reported.
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness as a vital sign of CVD risk in the COVID-19 era – A recent article published by Dr. Mary Imboden, HERO’s director of research, cardiorespiratory fitness as a vital sign of CVD risk in the COVID-19 era, highlights the importance of physical activity and fitness for population health and protecting against severe outcomes of COVID-19 infection.
  • A consensus method for estimating physical activity levels in adults using accelerometry – Dr. Imboden also recently published the article A consensus method for estimating physical activity levels in adults using accelerometry in the Journal of Sports Sciences. This article assesses a consensus method for capturing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity using accelerometry.
  • Feature on Award Winning Workplace Health and Well-being Research – Advancing HERO’s role in connecting research and practice often involves bringing researchers and company leaders together in our think tanks, webinars and conferences. We recruit experts from companies and universities world-wide and we’re always eager to hear from our members about studies and stories we can share. A regular source of great ideas comes from the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP) where Paul Terry, A HERO Senior Fellow, serves as AJHP’s Editor in Chief. In cooperation with AJHP, in this HERO Blog Post, we share some of the journal’s best studies in worksite well-being from 2022 and we link you to HERO webinars that feature these award-winning authors. For free access to the complete list of winners read AJHP’s January 2023 Editorial.
  • Women and the Obesity Epidemic Overview and Opportunities for Action Roundtable Proceedings – In July 2022, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) held a virtual roundtable to gather stakeholder insights on the impact of the obesity epidemic as related to women.
  • 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2023 and Beyond (Harvard Business Review) – Last year was another tumultuous year in the workplace, with continued high employee turnover rates, evolving return-to-office policies, inflation, and more. In 2023, amid a looming economic downturn, organizations will continue to face significant challenges — and how they respond could determine whether they are an employer of choice. Several authors from Gartner’s HR practice predict nine trends that organizations will have to confront this year.

©2024 Health Enhancement Research Organization ‘HERO’


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