Public Health and Employee Wellness

Chandra Jennings, Health Educator, has both a bachelors and masters in public health with a specialty in employee wellness, military health and behavioral health.  She talks with Leonore today about employee wellness and how it relates to access to care in the workplace for minority employees. The in-person and community aspect of her job has shifted dramatically since COVID-19, and she talks about starting to think about shifting public health work to the virtual space in order to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • The importance and need for wellness programs and wellness education in the workplace.  Research has shown that the healthier people are at work, the more productive they are.  
  • The different levels of wellness programs in a workplace, and what can be done for employees at each level.
  • How a workplace wellness program relates to access to care for minority employees.
  • Assessing what the needs of the company and the employees are and building (or not-building) a program for employees based on the baseline data.  
  • How some employees use workplace wellness programs as their main, if not only, healthcare they receive.
  • The responsibility of employers to empower their employees by giving them the time off to get healthcare.
  • What can be done when/if employees worry that employee wellness programs have a “big brother” mission and anything they share could be used against their job status.   
  • Re-thinking employee wellness programs during COVID-19 and thinking about out how they can be effective virtually.

Stand-Out Quotes:

  • “Research has found that even with the same access to health insurance (through a workplace), that there is still a huge gap in care and differences in health for minorities compared to those who are not minorities.”
  • “Right now roles have changed into the virtual space.  There is a big need for individuals to get involved in their communities whether it be a church group, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or whatever organization is in your area.  See what you can do to volunteer and help.”
  • “Fear has become a big part of a lot of people’s lives so if we can find a way to outreach using the virtual space, get involved as much as you can.”
  • “It’s so important for all of us to be healthy, no matter where we are and that includes our communities as well.  So get on your congress person, get on your senator and get involved in your community.  Even after COVID-19, continue to be involved and continue to empower yourself and empower others to be at their best and be at their healthiest.”

Action Steps:

  • If your organization does not have an Employee Wellness Program, start the conversation!
  • Reach out to local organizations and find out how you can get involved in your community safely.
  • Re-think and brainstorm how your public health work can be done virtually.  The world needs you and your passion!

Reach Out: