Expert Interview: Partnering for Workplace Health: A State-level Perspective Transcript

June 15, 2018 from the CDC Workplace Health Resource Center.

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ANNOUNCER: Successful state level workplace health efforts rely on strong partnerships. Welcome to this expert interview on developing partnerships. We’re speaking with Lindsey Bouza and Chuck Gillespie, who will share their experience and key strategies for developing and leveraging partnerships with organizations such as wellness councils, extension services, Chambers of Commerce and health care system to advance workplace health.

Lindsey Bouza is the Director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Indiana State Department of Health. In her role Lindsey focuses on worksite wellness, farm to school initiatives, breastfeeding and baby friendly hospitals, school and childcare strategies as well as the built environment. She’s passionate about helping make chronic disease prevention a priority for Indiana.

Chuck Gillespie is the former Executive Director for the Wellness Council of Indiana, which partnered extensively with the Indiana State Department of Health to improve workplace health across the state. Chuck has trained thousands of individuals about the importance of total worker well-being. He also serves as co-chair of the Indiana Workplace Wellness Partnerships and the Director or Workforce Readiness for the Indiana State Council of the Society for Human Resources Management. Let us get started. Chuck and Lindsey please share some opening comments on developing partnerships.

LINDSEY: This is Lindsey Bouza from the Indiana State Department of Health. I currently serve as the Director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, but was previously the Worksite and Physical Activity Coordinator for the Division. And I still actually do some work in that area since we haven’t been able to rehire for that, so I’m still doing kind of both positions at this point. But that’s okay.

So as far as partnerships it was mentioned a little bit earlier but we have had a very active and engaged partnerships with the Wellness Council of Indiana. One of the, I believe it was Dasheema from West Virginia, you mentioned the 1305 grant going to that is where our funding is coming from as well to help support what we’ve been doing with the Wellness Council. So that’s been a very strong partnership and we’ve actually been partners with the Wellness Council for I would say probably ten years now.

CHUCK: Seven.

LINDSEY: Seven. Okay.

CHUCK: We’ve only been in existence seven.

LINDSEY: Okay. Well, there you go. I knew that it was prior to this grant. But we have a lot other partners as well. I would venture to say that it really takes a village and we utilize groups such as a local central Indiana coalition that focuses on healthy living for Hoosiers called Top 10. That’s run by the YMCA of Central Indiana. We also have Jump in For Healthy Kids, which is another Central Indiana coalition, which focuses primarily on children, looking at child care in school environments. But it does hone in on the work site somewhat, just knowing that if employees are given opportunities to be healthy and well at their business that that will likely translate to their families and their communities hopefully.

But we also, as mentioned in Chuck’s introduction, we work with the Indiana Workplace Wellness Partnership. We are one of the many organizations that are on that group. And that group meets quarterly to share a lot about what all is going on around the state and then also learn new information from speakers and such. We are partners with the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative, which is a state wide coalition that was formed to put together our state plan for nutrition and physical activity back in 2010.

And some other maybe non-traditional partners. We are more recently have partnered with our Purdue Extension, so that’s our Land Grant University is Purdue. And our Purdue Extension partners have about 40, what they call community wellness coordinators throughout the state. And each one of them serves maybe a part of a county if it’s a large county or multiple counties, up to three or four counties. And they help out those counties with policy systems and environmental changes for nutrition and physical activity.

And then I wanted to add Anthem has been a big partner of ours, especially with the Indiana Workplace Wellness Partnership. But even with other projects and initiatives Anthem … Are they headquartered here, Chuck?


LINDSEY: Anthem is headquartered here in Indianapolis and they also have a foundation. And the foundation is heavily interested in creating healthier environments for Hoosiers. So I would say those, you know, it’s not an extensive list, but those are probably the primary partners that we have in this work. And, you know, everyone kind of plays a little bit of a different role, but we are all essentially in this together. Chuck and I were just talking before this meeting that even though everyone kind of comes in maybe with their agenda, everyone really kind of puts those agendas to the side and works together on whatever topic we’re talking about at the time. Everyone, you know, we come from the background of two minds are better than one and everyone has unique perspectives and can provide insight.

As far as things like strategies for approaching and engaging key partners, I think it’s, in my experience it’s important to speak the language of who you’re talking to. You know, even in something maybe a little different we are partners with the Department of Transportation and they’re very concerned with safety for all road users and so we frame our message a lot of times that if we can build infrastructure for all types of road users to be safe we know that that will then translate to higher physical activity, because we’re going to be creating infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists and transit riders in addition to vehicles.

So it’s really thinking about framing your message but also always keeping in mind the end goal and it’s hard to argue with wanting Hoosiers to be healthier and not just about health care cost but just about having a more vibrant engaged community and talking to city leaders and state leaders about how that can really help the economy as well. So I will stop there and let Chuck do his introduction and then continue talking as we go.

CHUCK: Thanks, Lindsey. Again Chuck Gillespie. Just in March left the position of Executive Director of the Wellness Council of Indiana. Was there for six years, came in when the Wellness Council was merged into the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which is our state wide chamber, with really the goal of helping convene the table of the folks that we need to have around the table to make Indiana a healthier, happier well place to live.

We were just noticing this morning that Forbes is going to be showing that Indiana is in the top ten now of places to do business. And they look at it from a regulatory perspective, cost of living, etc. And not surprisingly if you look at some of the health statistics of Indiana you’ll also note that the biggest issue that we’re running into and probably why we’re not a top five state to do business in is because we lack workforce. And a lot of our workforce is lacking simply because we are an unhealthy state. We typically rank, I think we finally got out of the 40s, but think we’re like 38th or 39th. So it’s not like we’re, you know, but, hey, you got to take one step at a time.

When I came into the Chamber and led the Wellness Council, you know, my goal was really to start to look and say, how can we make sure that workplaces are doing what they can and help those communities thrive as well? A couple of the folks, and again when Lindsey starts rattling off a few of those things, I’m the former chair of the Indiana Workplace, or I’m sorry, the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative, I’m on the Advisory Board for Jump In. I am the co-chair of Indiana Workplace Wellness Partnership. I actually helped get connected to Purdue Extension with everything that’s going on. Anthem is one of our biggest funders for the Wellness Council. I’m on the Advisory Board for Top Ten.

So in other words, you still have to have that crazy dude that’s willing to volunteer and go out there and kind of make a lot of those connections happen. And by having been involved in so many of the different parts it really gave me that perspective to be able to take, but still come at it from what I’m going to say an economic or a business concept. What I have seen in Indiana, and again we were, a few of the other partners that Lindsey really hasn’t brought to the table yet, are we’ve got some great universities here, you know, obviously Purdue, IU, Ball State University, Notre Dame, Butler, you know, we can start rattling them off left and right.

But those universities have been a huge help, particularly Ball State, because they’ve got a wellness management program and we’re very fortunate because the person who’s been the leader, the Professor of Wellness Management for Ball State for the last 15 years also happens to be my sister, so that tends to help a lot. But at the same time she’s very involved and very forward thinking.

So what we find in Indiana is very interesting in that we’re very forward thinking because we have to be. And we have to be forward thinking, we have to be very partnership oriented, because we’re 48th in public health financing. So the only way that we’re actually going to get things done in this state is not by being able to find money from our state, but to be able to find partnerships that can help kind of drive everything together.

And what we’ve really seen, and I will say this very, very adamantly, and that is our Indiana State Department of Health, particularly this division in nutrition and physical activity. And in the seven years now that I’ve been involved with it, Lindsey’s really the only one that has been the mainstay, and she’s the third Director in the last seven years. But I know that Lindsey knows this job well and what she’s able to do from a collaborative perspective really makes it easy for an organization like myself to bring a lot of the groups together, both business side as well as the public health side to really have that conversation.

And our conversations now here, are more, not necessarily about health for health sake, but health for economic sake, because when you look at Indiana we’re doing a lot of things very well. We’re never going to have the warmth of Arizona, we’re never going to have the rapids of West Virginia, we’re never going to have the wonderful football of Wisconsin; we’re just not. Go Wisconsin please! Big Ten. But at the same time we do have a number of things that we can bring to the table. But until we start to get some of our leaders, our true business leaders, our government leaders, our legislative body to truly understand that health is an economic factor, we’re going to continue to struggle in our health factors here.

A few of the, and I’m going to stop after I say this, a few of the folks that I have really seen to be a huge help in bringing to the table here are some of the national players that we’ve been able to connect into, particularly the U.S. Chamber Foundation with their Health Means Business forum. I don’t know if any of you were aware of that program that they’re doing. It’s being led by at Elyse Cohen. And Elyse is actually the former director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. So she’s really got a great grasp on what’s going on and now she’s working inside of a business, a very business-oriented type of organization and really driving a lot of things that are going on.

But as Lindsey and I were just talking we’re bringing a couple of, we’re really looking to bring a couple of these national programs to the State of Indiana to see if we can model things and not recreate the wheel over and over again. And in doing so I think that’s really going to be a key in bringing these pieces together and helping drive what’s happening in Indiana around to what others are going on. So, you know, we’re always looking to have conversations with folks like Dan Johnson at the Wellness Council of Arizona. I know the Wellness Council of West Virginia bankrupted so they’re no longer there. Wisconsin. Maine used to have one, but they don’t anymore. Wisconsin actually has one of the most successful Wellness Council in the country.

So as you can see there’s a number of different ways that we can do this, but to have that partnership together there really makes it way. And the way Lindsey and I have worked over the last four or five, six, seven years now is really with public/private partnerships and contractual work. So from a legal perspective, and I know that was a question that was brought to the attention, we’ve always done everything very contractually, even with some specific language about solicitation and, you know, how to do that.

But the Wellness Council is a nonprofit as well. So that tends to be a little bit easier to drive it and to connect to those local economic development organizations, local chambers and so forth, because they are still in that world. It really does bring kind of a different perspective sometimes to the table.

The last group that I don’t think we really talked enough about is we’ve got some amazing regional hospitals here in the state. And we’ve got some wonderful large hospitals too. IU Health, you know, Ascension, but at the same time it’s really been a lot of these regional hospitals that truly understand that they have to do this in order to survive. And they’ve been great partners of ours over the last five or six years.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you Lindsey and Chuck for those informative comments. We have some questions for you. Can you tell us about the progress you’re making on the worksite objectives and strategies noted in Indiana’s comprehensive nutrition and physical activity plan, 2010 to 2020? What tools are you using for the worksite assessment and what are you doing to sustain your efforts?

CHUCK: The three assessment tools that we have typically used, one of them is the Wellness Council of Indiana, the AchieveWELL product. It’s actually something I developed for the Wellness Council of Indiana with the help of Ball State University and a whole bunch of their students. It’s wonderful to have Masters in Wellness Management students at your beck and call. And then as well as with the IU School of Public Health and a lot of their students. So we were able to kind of interconnect a lot of those students to help us in developing our own tool within the Wellness Council of Indiana.

At the same time we’ve also, we’re very much adamant about using the Heart Association’s assessment’s a good one. WELCOA, we’ve got a number of companies in the State of Indiana that have gone through the WELCOA program. And then at the same time about three years ago the Wellness Council started to develop the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative. And that was actually a program that I’m probably most proud of in the time that I worked on in developing that. Simply because it really does interconnect workplace and communities together and show that approach and what we need to do to make sure that those things happen.

We’ve also got Healthiest Employer. And actually Healthiest Employer happens to be dama- (ph.) found here in the state of Indiana. We’ve also used Dee Edington’s model, the five pillar model out of the University of Michigan. I’m proud to say that Dee is a mentor of mine and a friend. So it’s always helpful to have somebody just a little north of us here to connect into.
So we don’t have one particular assessment. We really have looked at how to try to help a lot of different companies go in a number of different ways. And I’m sure in your states just like in ours, we’ve got a lot of haves and have nots. The companies that really want to, that are five star certified recognized companies for the Wellness Council that are, you know, platinum members of WELCOA, that are at the top of the list of the Heart, I think we have five of the type 100 Healthiest Places to Work according to Healthiest Employer.

So what we have in our state is we’ve got a lot of people that are doing amazing stuff, but unfortunately we have a ton of people that are not doing a lot. So how do we start to interconnect those things? And that’s really starting to … this is where we see a lot of this collaboration being such a critical factor in going forward. You got anything else Lindsey?

LINDSEY: Yeah. I can add as far as assessments another one that we’ve utilized is the CDC Healthiest Scorecard. I’m not sure if …

CHUCK: Sorry, Jason, forgot about that one.

LINDSEY: I don’t know if that’s the whole title. But we often promote that assessment tool to employers.

CHUCK: It’s fantastic.

LINDSEY: We utilize that through the National Healthy Worksites Program and also the Work at Health Program that were both CC initiatives. You know we went to make sure that the assessment tool fits the organization as well, because they’re all in different places. We did create a document called The Indiana Healthy Worksite’s Toolkit and within that, that’s more geared small and mid-sized businesses. And that has a few assessment tools in there as well. It’s a little more for those that ae just getting started or don’t have a lot of resources. So there’s a lot of options out there as far as assessments go. And I think it’s just trying to find the right one for the organization that you’re working with at the time. But we have a few that were developed in Indiana, but then also there are the national ones that have been developed.

Related to your question about the state plans, that was created as part of our previous CDC five year grant that ended in 2013. We do still work on these objectives. Maybe in a little bit of a different way, the strategies might be a little bit different. But the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative is the coalition that came together that wrote these objectives and that coalition still does work on these objectives. And this serves as kind of a roadmap for other organizations in the state that are looking at doing evidence based changes for nutrition and physical activity.
There are four worksite objectives. One of them is to identify and disseminate an assessment tool. So we do that through a variety of ways. By having the toolkit on our website and those other types of assessments, by contracting with the Wellness Council through our current CDC grant and utilizing assessments that way.

ANNOUNCER: And what do you contract Wellness Councils to do? What role do they have?

LINDSEY: We started out at the beginning of the 1305 grant contracting with the Wellness Councils to … it’s a variety of things, but the main one is to reach out to ten additional businesses each year, at least ten additional businesses each year then they would have normally worked with, to go through what is called the AchieveWELL process. And we can explain that here in a minute. But it is also to focus and hone more on nutrition and physical activity policy changes and environmental changes.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for sharing that. Can you tell us a bit more about the AchieveWELL Recognition Program?

CHUCK: The AchieveWELL is a workplace evaluation and recognition process that was developed under the Wellness Council of Indiana that is part of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. And really what we do within the AchieveWELL process is that we use it to create an emphasis in cultivating a culture of well-being in the workplace. That’s based really on ten key strategic traits that have been developed over the last 25 years to determine what it is that it’s going to take to create a strong wellness strategy within the workplace.

Again, it’s intended to guide the workplaces along their path, offering ideas, best practices and mentoring from other AchieveWELL companies. So part of the AchieveWELL process as you move up the stream from three star, four star to five star, once you reach into those higher levels part of the role of staying in that five star level, for instance, is by actually mentoring other companies through the system as well.

Topics, things like supporting alignment strategies, communications, planning. And these are all done through telephone evaluations until you reach some of the higher levels and then we have, actually have evaluators come onsite and do kind of a site evaluation as well.

That’s really a lot of what we do. And again we’ve been doing the process for over 25 years and really get excited about where we can help take employers going from just kind of looking at checking a box for wellness up to the point where it’s actually creating some cultures to help them in identifying risks, identifying issues and helping them and kind of leading those efforts in measuring the right things and helping their employees get healthier and better.

LINDSEY: We at the State really see the value in this type of a program that the Wellness Council led and about five years ago what we decided to do was to provide additional funding for this designation, try to recruit new companies to come on board and then also specifically work with them on physical activity strategies and food service guidelines and through some funding that we had.

And it was a great partnership that we have at the Wellness Council in order to kind of enhance what they’ve already been doing with the AchieveWELL designation, just because we, rather than create something new from our end and we were already good partners with the Wellness Council, we really just saw the value in already having a partner organization that is doing some consultations with businesses on this strategy, overall strategy for well-being in a capability culture.

So just kind of wanted to add my support and accolades for having this type of a program in Indiana.

CHUCK: Well, and on that, what Lindsey and I were able to do over those five or so years is really look at, okay, we’re missing within the AchieveWELL process within some of the steps we were missing things like do you have a policy in place for healthy meals, for healthy vending, or just an overall health policy associated with those kind of nutritional conversations.

So it really helped us do that and incorporated a lot of what the state wanted us to do as well as some of the national, you know, the CDC guidelines as well as some of the other guidelines out there and incorporated that into it and with the help of Lindsey and the State Department of Health here we were able to do that because of that relationship that we were able to create.

ANNOUNCER: So have any of the partner organizations expressed concerns about losing individual employers that they serve because of the partnerships with the state? And, if you would, please share how states can help employers understand that all of these organizations and their multiple recognition awards are not competition, but rather help to shape employers’ culture of health.

CHUCK: No, as a matter of fact we encourage … yeah, this is Chuck, we encourage actually anybody to go through any kind of assessment that they deem as important as they are. But, no, you know, we always talk about the fact that we don’t necessarily want to tell a company that they have to go through this process. We want them to go through a process that they believe in and that they feel like is going to help them out and then we can come in behind that, whether we’re doing the assessment or not and we can really help them in understanding what’s going on.

And we’re very lucky because we do have the Chambers, the Indiana Health and Wellness Summit, which has about 500 employees, and we do the recognition at that event for the AchieveWELL folks. But at the same time I was, when I was the head of the Wellness Council I was very adamant about trying to make sure that any company that got Healthiest Employer, they got the Heart Association designation, got WELCOA designation, we always did a huge congratulatory out to them through our email blast, which got to about 25,000 people. Lindsey usually sent it out through the list serve that was developed back when In Shape Indiana was kind of a big piece of what was going on here. We still have that list serve. We do that.

So, you know, we’re definitely very adamant about whatever recognition is being gotten we want to make sure that our state is well recognized in that regard. I will tell you we have particularly one company in the state of Indiana who has been an absolute model for the country. And it’s a little company in, we’re talking an hour east of Indianapolis, and in fact to get to their factory you have to go through a neighborhood. And most of the people that live in the neighborhood work for the factory. We’re talking the middle of nowhere. And it’s a company called Draper and they sell screens for videos.

But Draper has gotten the WELCOA designation, the Healthy 100. They were number one on the Healthiest Employer. They’re a five star AchieveWELL. And they were recognized through us by the Health Means Business Forum at the U.S. Chamber. No, I’m an absolute advocate of making sure that we get as much recognition to our employers as we possibly can, not just a designation. And I think that’s where a lot of companies fail.

ANNOUNCER: Who are your critical partners? And what roles or gaps do they fill?

LINDSEY: Well, I would definitely, you know, again have to say the Wellness Council, you know. And I didn’t mention this earlier, but something that really helps us out, the State Health Department, is the reach that the Wellness Council has with organizations. And it’s not just those that are members of the Wellness Council, but it’s really just of organizations throughout. I mean, if someone’s a member, someone’s not a member, there’s a list serve of information that goes out to multiple organizations and it’s just, we just don’t have as a State Health Department that kind of reach.

So I was just talking with the current Executive Director of the Wellness Council yesterday about doing some outreach related to another work at health training that I’m wanting to do in Indiana. And she’s more than willing to put out kind of a call for that and to give my contact information.

And so I think that’s super helpful when we’re trying to reach out to employers is to have that partner that’s willing to send things out for you. You know, we utilize that in other areas too.

Our Department of Education, we ask if they can send things out on our behalf, because schools just listen more to the Department of Education than they do the Department of Health.
So I would say that again Wellness Council is a critical partner. Like Chuck said earlier the regional health systems and the large hospital systems, a lot of them are doing community needs assessments right around now and they’re finding that their communities need more access to healthy foods and access to places for being physically active. And what better way to start doing that then by doing it with their employees.

So it’s really starting to, I think we’re starting to see a tipping point in employers throughout the state. And when a large health system really takes their employees’ health into consideration then you start to see it trickle out to other businesses as well. And, you know, when you get that hospital CEO to be able to publicly announce that they’re doing the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative or going to the AchieveWELL process and kind of other people listen.

CHUCK: It’s huge.

LINDSEY: Yes, it’s definitely big.

CHUCK: And if you can get your large employers to do the same thing. It’s such a critical piece of it. The other group that I would suggest really connecting into is the SHRM Group, the Society for Human Resource Management. In Indiana we have 17 chapters. So that means we’ve got reach in all those communities right into the HR Departments, which typically are by default heading up their wellness. So that’s, and believe me, they’re struggling and they’re trying to figure out what the heck’s going on. I get a lot of those phone calls.

So there are just so many opportunities to really do it. I think the biggest factor that I’m seeing, and I think one of them that we’re actually missing here today that we haven’t talked about is Jerry and the Indiana Public Health Association. Our Indiana Public Health Association actually, they have at least five coalitions?

LINDSEY: Four, I think.

CHUCK: Yeah, they’ve got four or five of the coalitions. Well, they’ve got four of your coalitions, plus they’ve got, they are now the fiduciary for our Health by Design organization for Central Indiana. So our Public Health Association does a great job of just helping kind of handle the day to day administrative work so that our coalition folks can actually just coalesce.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks. That’s excellent information. Thanks so much. What advice do you have for states who want engage human resources partners?

CHUCK: I can tell you right now the number one issue in HR today is attraction and retention. And if you can talk about how wellness programs and how community health are critical to attracting and retaining great employees and then you can start to talk about all your other stuff, always start with that and you will get a crowd. But these are the kinds of things that you just have to have and you’ve got to make sure that these things are interconnected. But if you can talk more about the business side of this story you’re going to have a much stronger conversation with everybody.

ANNOUNCER: How did you figure out what role each partner, such as the State Health Department, WELCOA, Wellness Councils and others would play?

CHUCK: One of the things that, you know, when you have a state like Indiana quite frankly we don’t have a lot of public health funding that comes from our state. So we’ve got to rely on each other to do so much of what we’re doing. It really comes down to, and it sounds really funny the way we say it here, but it comes down to trial and error. And then it also comes down to who individually is willing to take on those tasks and move it forward.

The great thing we have though is, and again it’s the relationships that we have created because we have such a good dynamic organization within the State Department of Health that know that they need our help and we need theirs. We do a really good job here in Indiana of taking off our organizational hats and kind of putting on our citizens of Indiana hats and in doing so really looking at it and kind of putting our agendas maybe secondary to the main agenda of what we’re trying to do within that coalition, within that group.

And then as well, you know, you’ve got somebody here like Lindsey who, between Lindsey and I, I think we sat on just about every health coalition you could possibly sit on, and in doing so we were able to then get together and kind of have a conversation back and forth and say, well, x, y, z group is doing this and the other coalition is doing this, how do we maybe form those groups together and maybe go after something even bigger and broader?

LINDSEY: And I would just add that, you know, another way that we kind of figured out who was going to play what role is looking at our strengths and what kind of resources we can bring to the table. So, for example, the State Health Department can secure grant funding at the national level and then we can utilize that funding to help enhance some programs, interventions, things that are already successfully going on in the state and that can be sort of our contribution, in addition to being at the table and having the conversations on evidence based practices and we learn those types of things through the CDC and other organizations.

And then also we, you know, are the State Health Department so we can, we have a lot of data that we can pass along to other partners that might be interested in that. So that’s one way that we know what our role is. But just by, like Chuck mentioned just by being a part of so many other coalitions and community groups we just kind of know where we all fall in line when it comes to the roles that we can play and the pieces of the puzzle that we are.

And we at the State Health Department are as much the role of working with businesses one on one whereas the Wellness Council and others do have more of that role. So how can we again help each other out? How can we provide assistance to have that happen rather than try to go out and do it ourselves? And then also in the same way, how can the Wellness Council and other groups help us accomplish our deliverables and our mission and our goal, which is in the end to have healthier Hoosiers and you know this specifically with employees and their families. And then even further out to go out into the community and create healthier communities.

And so we do really heavily rely on our partners. And I’ll just echo what Chuck said about not having a lot of public health funding in our state that it really does take lots of different groups and even non-traditional partners to come together to try to move the needle in Indiana on some of this work, especially in the work site arena.

CHUCK: And I can definitely say with quite a bit of authority that the resources that we receive from the State Department of Health, the funding that we’ve received through the State Department of Health and the knowledge and the data and the research that we were able to get that we didn’t have to do ourselves within the Wellness Council of Indiana probably increased our ability to get out there and get in front of organizations.

We’re probably five or more years ahead of where we could have been had it not been for the fact that the State Department of Health created these relationships with us and helped us kind of grow our footprint and grow our abilities to kind of create the processes, the services and the programs that we work.

ANNOUNCER: Lastly, what are some of the roles that partners, such as Anthem, Chambers of Commerce or extension services can take on for workplace health?

LINDSEY: Yeah, I mean, they all can do a variety of things that help us out. And like you even mentioned have a space available. Anthem provides a space for the Indiana Workplace Wellness Partnership meetings in addition to food. We cannot pay for food at any event. So that is helpful in that way.

CHUCK: And we have about 60 people that come to that event each quarter. So it’s a good size. And they’re large businesses for the most part.

LINDSEY: Yeah. And, you know, Purdue Extension, they provide the benefit of having 40 people out in the state working with local leaders every day. And at the State Department we just don’t have that reach. We’re in Central Indiana, smack in the middle, and so sometimes the outer lying cities in Northern, Southern Indiana sometimes feel like they don’t get as much attention, but with Purdue Extension Wellness Coordinators they’re out there every day, they feel then like they’re more a part of the state and more a part of the initiative.

We kind of see the Wellness Coordinators as our boots on the ground, doing a lot of the work that we have been trying to do from Central Indiana. We do get out and about as much as we can, but it’s just not the same as having 40 people throughout the state doing that work. You know and then there’s those partners that can provide resources.

We have limited funding as Chuck mentioned, 48th in public health funding. There’s just a lot of money out there through Anthem, through Lilly, the YMCAs are always looking at trying to get their communities healthier. So we really, we lean on our partners a lot for funding and for helping us fund initiatives that are evidence based and that we know will work. I’m trying to think of other specific benefits.

CHUCK: And then the other thing is a lot of this is volunteered, you know, a lot of the time and energies that are being done by these coalitions are being done without additional pay. It’s really truly because we do have folks that care. I’m with Lindsey though I can’t say enough about what Purdue Extension is doing with community health coordinators and quite frankly even the directors of each of the … you know, we’ve got 92 counties, which means they have 92 directors. But then to have those community coordinators, financial coordinators, etc., it really does help out a ton.

Where we see, you know, the large corporations, companies like Cummins (ph.), Lilly, Anthem, C&O Financial. These are companies that are always doing some great things. We’ve got the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and we’ve got the 500 Festival. And they do, you know, amazing stuff from a physical activity perspective. Our universities have great programs that we can really tap into. Our community college, IB Tech here in Indiana has such a great extension and we have great working relationships with them.

So it really is just truly making sure and Lindsey pretty much is on her own and to be honest with you the Wellness Council of Indiana has a total employment group of two. So even the Wellness Council has to rely on a lot of begging and pleading for those boots on the ground. So we’re always looking for ways to make those folks appreciative and they just, you know, they understand it because we’ve given them the message that says we need to do this, but we need to do this because it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the people, it’s good for the health, it’s good for the kids, it’s good for business. But it’s constantly in that focal point of economics and not as much health for health sake.

I hate to say it this way, it’s just a reality, but we’ve been saying health for health sake for the last four decades and look where it’s gotten us.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you both so much. Lindsey Bouza and Chuck Gillespie you’ve highlighted how vital partnerships are to advancing workplace health initiatives. And you’ve provided some excellent examples of productive partnerships from Indiana. This has been so informative. Thank you.

This concludes our discussion on developing workplace health partnerships.

On behalf of CDC’s Workplace Health Resource Center thank you for making workplace health your business.