Promoting Health and Wellness in Academic Settings

Monday, 18 November 2013: 10:00 AM

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN
College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

As healthcare costs escalate, the United States is focused on prevention as never before and more wellness programs are being created in corporations and institutions across the country. Workplace wellness programs have been the focus of healthcare reform proposals and are important strategies in Healthy People 2020. Because employees spend the majority of their working hours in the workplace, it is an excellent venue to promote wellness.. Multiple studies have shown that wellness programs delivered in the workplace lead to reductions in healthcare costs and health insurance premiums (Chapman, 2012). Individuals who are healthier are more productive and miss less work (Baicker, Cutler & Song, 2010; Chapman, 2012).  Although many worksites provide some type of health promotion programs, few provide wide scale comprehensive and integrated programs recommended in Healthy People 2020 that include health education, worksite screening that is followed by appropriate interventions, and integration of the program into the organizational structure. Innovative programs are needed that will lead to evidence-based screening and intervention strategies as well as new models of health promotion and trans-disciplinary care that enhances Americans’ health outcomes and, at the same time, decrease costs.  This paper will describe the comprehensive strategy that The Ohio State University is implementing to enhance the health and wellness of its faculty, staff and students, including: Wide-scale emphasis on health, well-being and prevention; Programs that are predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory; Emphasis on building an innovative culture and ecosystem of wellness; Frameworks for the various components of wellness; Evidence-based screening and risk stratification with interventions targeted to individuals at risk for or with chronic conditions; Recognition and rewards; Leader participation and role-modeling; Quality improvement and outcomes monitoring; Use of innovative technology for social networking, engagement, gaming, and ease of use; Formation of public-private partnerships.