Aparna Niroola, Vice President, Health Transformation, Aon
Aparna consults with Aon’s Health Transformation Team in Southern California. She works with middle and large market clients to design, implement and measure workplace health management programs. Her focus areas include well-being, employer-sponsored health centers and primary care strategies. Her most recent work has been developing employer solutions around financial and emotional well-being initiatives.
Aparna first began working in the health care industry in 2000. Prior to Aon, Aparna was a Senior Consultant at UnitedHealth Group, involved with the ideation and implementation of United Healthcare’s community-based Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) program. She also served as a consultant working with a team of clinicians, statisticians, programmers and vendors to assess impact of employer health management interventions. She has also held analyst roles at IBM Watson, Willis Towers Watson, ProQuest Company and Kaiser Permanente across a variety of specialties including data warehousing, health and welfare and health plan marketing.
Aparna’s strengths reside in her passion to leverage population health data and evidence-based research to make the lives of employees and their families healthier and, in turn, impact the bottom line. She is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified and holds a Group Benefits (GBA) designation and Six Sigma Green Belt certification.
Aparna earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master’s degree in Health Services Administration (MHSA), specializing in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor School of Public Health.
Thinking towards the future, where do you think the next major focus will or should be in the field of workplace health and well-being?
The next major focus in health and well-being must be organizational changes to the environment and culture. We have been talking about this for a number of years yet, I do not see them regularly occurring. Without these interventions, we cannot expect major outcomes. To drive true behavior change, companies need to rely less on implementing individual tools, resources and incentives and invest more on organizational and cultural changes so that healthy behaviors become the norm.
Can you share a story about a grassroots leader who is helping to advance well-being for employees within your organization?
To evolve the work culture into a culture of health, an organization must have a champion network. Despite that many companies indicate having a champion network, I have often seen them not get off the ground effectively or it fizzles in the excitement. An example of a champion who helped advance well-being in an organization was someone that connected with others to change their attitudes and beliefs around their health and well-being. She was so successful in helping them break down fears and overcome excuses and encourage them to do some self-discovery and be optimistic. Another reason why she stands out is that she tends to focus on those that fall between the cracks – those in the middle who are neither low risk or high risk, but just flying under the radar.
What’s on your professional or personal reading lists that you’d recommend to fellow HERO members?
Currently, I am pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration. A workforce with strong well-being is essential to an organization’s success yet many companies are either approaching it inadequately or worse do not believe that well-being can have an impact to the bottom line. I would like to help connect the dots and better position well-being as an investment to drive company growth and not to be seen as a business expense. Other than school, I subscribe and read research studies, survey results and case studies written by a variety of organizations such as HERO, World at Work, NBGH, Employee Benefit Adviser and Harvard Business Review. I often find myself using Google and Google Scholar to curate reading lists whenever I want to learn more about a topic. We can easily become overwhelmed living in the Information Age so I tend to stay updated by researching topics that are actionable.