This February, Get Healthy Utah and the Utah Worksite Wellness Council held the Utah Business of Health event, with the theme “Good Health is Good Business.” Leaders from Utah businesses and insurance payors attended to learn more about how and why they should promote health. Speakers shared specific ways that businesses can improve the health of their workforces and communities.
Greg Bell, President of UHA and Get Healthy Utah Board Chair
Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, spoke to the need to improve health in Utah. Though often considered one of the healthiest states, data shows that health in Utah is in fact declining at an alarming rate, following the same trajectory as the rest of the country. This decrease in health is fueled by the increasing prevalence of inactive lifestyles, easy access to unhealthy food, and shifts towards larger and larger portion sizes. Reversing Utah’s poor health trends will require intense collaboration across sectors and system level changes. By getting involved, businesses can have a major impact on the health of their employees and their communities.
Chet Loftis, managing director of PEHP
As Managing Director of PEHP, Chet Loftis is familiar with both the costs of poor health and the opportunities businesses have to promote health. When businesses improve health, it not only reduces costs but improves their employees’ quality of life. He encouraged everyone to find innovative providers who want to improve the healthcare system. He shared six things businesses can do to improve health:
- Make employee wellbeing a strategic priority.
- Find strength from within.
- Find the right partners (including Get Healthy Utah!).
- Help employees find their “why” for good health, and personalize wellness.
- Leverage data.
- Stay agile as new developments arise.
You can view Chet’s slide deck HERE.
Heidi Strickland, Utah Worksite Wellness Council
Alysia Ducuara, Executive Director of Get Healthy Utah
Heidi Strickland and Alysia Ducuara presented on why good business is good health. Heidi spoke first about how businesses benefit from healthy worksites. While historically businesses implemented worksite wellness programs because of their cost savings, now more businesses are focusing on programs’ value on investment. The best worksite wellness programs address the whole person, and recognize that wellness changes over time. She encouraged attendees to apply for the Utah Worksite Wellness Awards, which recognizes innovative and successful worksite wellness programs. This year’s awards will be presented at the Annual Worksite Wellness Conference. She also invited anyone who is interested in promoting workplace wellness to volunteer on the Worksite Wellness Council.
Alysia spoke about why businesses should play a role in promoting healthy communities. She noted that where we live has a huge impact on our health, habits, and abilities. Businesses can get involved by partnering with community leaders and others working on promoting health. One opportunity is for businesses to join a community health coalition, like the one required by the Healthy Utah Communities designation!
A panel of five Utah leaders shared how they and their businesses have promoted health. Alexx Goeller, from The Front Climbing Gym, talked about how businesses should partner with nonprofit organizations, rather than only providing money. Craig Weston, from Blunovus, reminded attendees that virtually everyone has been affected by mental health conditions, either personally or through a loved one. Kathryn Gibson, from ARUP, noted that direct costs are only a portion of the costs of bad health to employers. Donald Cherry, from USANA Health Sciences, exhorted attendees to design health-promoting initiatives that have the greatest impact. And Stephanie Larsen, from Health Equity, discussed tools employers can use to put healthcare dollars directly in the hands of their employees.
Attendees wrapped up the event by participating in roundtable discussions on what their businesses are already doing to promote health, and what they would want to improve in the future. At the end, each table shared their insights with the whole group.