Corporate Wellness Programs
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Corporate Wellness Programs

Linking Employee and Organizational Health

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen

Corporate Wellness Programs offers contributions from international experts, examining the planning, implementation and evaluation of wellness initiatives in organizations, and offering guidance on how to introduce these programs into the workplace. Previous research evidence surrounding corporate wellness programs is reviewed, to illustrate reduced health care costs, higher levels of employee well-being, greater work engagement, higher levels of performance, and financial gains on well-being investment costs. In this innovative book, various chapters examine the planning, implementation and evaluation of corporate wellness initiatives with guidance on how to introduce these programs in one’s workplace. In addition, organizational case studies highlight best practices and lessons to be learned from them.
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Chapter 8: MD Anderson Cancer Center employee wellness program journey

William B. Baun


There have been few publications that elucidate the evolution, the life journey, of an organizational wellness program from startup, through cross-promotion, maintenance and growth phases to program maturity. The Johnson & Johnson program is probably the longest wellness program followed in the peer review literature, but the studies have primarily focused on the financial aspects of the program, with few operational details (Goetzel et al., 2002, Carls et al., 2011; Henke et al., 2011). This chapter follows the life journey of the MD Anderson employee wellness program for the past 15 years, from program startup to its current newly transformed state. The author, William B. Baun, tells the story of developments during the 15 years he has served as the program startup manager and Wellness Officer. In preparation for writing this manuscript Baun interviewed two senior executives. Dr. Thomas Burke, MD was Chief Medical Officer at the time the organization initiated the employee wellness program. Dr. Burke recently became the Executive Vice President of the MD Anderson Cancer Network. Shibu Varghese, Vice President Human Resources/Chief Human Resource Officer currently ‘owns’ the employee wellness program, and has been in his position for the past six years. The author used the interviews to illuminate senior executives’ thoughts and concerns along the way on the employee wellness program journey. The operational details provided along with senior management insights can help program managers and practitioners better understand the life journey challenges of organizational wellness programs.

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