Workplace Health Network

ABOUT US

The UNCG Workplace Health Network (WHN) is an interdisciplinary group dedicated to advancing the impact of Total Worker Health® (TWH) initiatives. In alignment with the TWH Hierarchy of Controls, we take a socioecological approach to workplace safety, health, and well-being. We offer education, training, consulting, and research and evaluation.

Our team members come from multiple academic departments including Public Health Education, Economics, Nutrition, Interior Architecture, and the School of Nursing, as well as the internal UNCG Workplace Wellness Program. Our group has expertise in program planning and implementation, health and wellness coaching, chronic disease management and risk reduction, mental health, screening and brief intervention, food environments, return on investment, cost-effectiveness, evaluation, and more.

We are a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health® Affiliate and we are committed to education, practice, research, and strategic collaborations that will contribute to protecting and promoting worker well-being.

WHY WE DO IT

Why the workplace? As our understanding increases around individual and social determinants of health, we know that workplaces are major influencers on the well-being of workers and their families. We believe that healthy people are important ingredients of business and organizational success. The UNCG WHN aims to help workplaces build cultures of health that impact their employees and radiate into their communities.

HOW WE DO IT

We actively seek collaborators that are interested in advancing the effectiveness and efficiency of workplace safety, health, and well-being through systematic planning, implementation, evaluation and research. We work with external collaborators by 1) partnering to apply for external grant funding that supports research or 2) collaborators funding work conducted by the UNCG WHN for the collaborator’s benefit.

WHAT WE DO

The UNCG WHN offers education, training, consulting, and research and evaluation services to advance Total Worker Health® initiatives. Our post-baccalaureate certificate prepares students and practitioners to lead TWH initiatives. We collaborate with employers, employees, insurers, vendors, and industry experts to discover and support high-quality, sustainable practices that promote workplace safety, health, and well-being. We strive to offer training and consultation that meets the needs expressed by stakeholders through focus groups and open forums. We conduct and disseminate research and evaluation to develop evidence for best practices that inform our education, consultation, and the work of our collaborators.

Below are some of the projects being conducted by UNCG WHN-affiliated faculty and staff on a variety of topics related to workplace safety, health, and well-being.

Practice

Practice

The UNCG Workplace Health Network (WHN) hosted multiple meetings for employers currently engaged in workplace safety, health, and well-being. These have been held in Raleigh and Geensboro, NC and in San Diego, CA. The purpose of these meetings was to create networks of peers across companies for mutual support and to elicit priorities from those on the front lines for research, evaluation, consultation, and education needed in the field. If you are interested in hosting the WHN for an event in your area, please contact gmweaver@uncg.edu. WHN offers support for planning, implementation, and evaluation of workplace health initiatives. Currently, the UNCG WHN collaborates with HealthyUNCG to offer support for our internal employee health and wellness initiatives. We utilize opportunities to test new and innovative approaches as well as opportunities to train and educate students interested in workplace safety, health, and well-being. As a part of these initiatives, HealthyUNCG partnered with UNCG Health Coaching Programs to provide health coaching services to UNCG employees. We are pilot testing this approach for its potential to be implemented in other workplaces. HealthyUNCG and the WHN also collaborate to host an annual conference for workplace health and wellness professionals called Making the Grade in Worksite Wellness.

Education

Education

The WHN collaborates with the Department of Public Health Education to offer a post-baccalaureate certificate in Worksite Wellness. We also partner with UNCG Health Coaching Programs to offer a post-baccalaureate certificate and ongoing health coach training for those wanting to become health and wellness coaches, a profession with growing employment opportunities in health care and other workplaces. For more information about these educational opportunities, see the links below.

Workplace Wellness Post-bac
Health and Wellness Post-bac

The WHN collaborated with HealthyUNCG to host their annual conference focusing on cutting edge practice and research in workplace health and wellness. This two day conference will be an ongoing part of the work of the WHN and HealthyUNCG.

We are also connected with a group that is providing mindfulness workshops through the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNCG. Information about upcoming mindfulness workshops can be found on the Weatherspoon event calendar: https://weatherspoonart.org/calendar/

Research & Evaluation

Research & Evaluation

Quality Benchmarks and Assessment of Workplace Wellness In collaboration with the Wellness Council of America, multiple members of our UNCG Workplace Health Network served on the Advisory Council to develop an updated version of the Well Workplace Checklist. We also have access to the original Well Workplace Checklist data to examine organizations’ performance against quality benchmarks.

  • Weaver GM, Mendenhall BN, Hunnicutt D, Picarella R, Leffelman B, Perko M, & Bibeau DL. Performance Against WELCOA’s Worksite Health Promotion Benchmarks Across Years Among Selected US Organizations. Am J Health Promot. 2018;32(4):1010–1020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0890117116679305.
  • Weaver, GM, Bibeau, DL, Dudley, WN, Bray, J, & Rulison, K. Association Between the Characteristics of Organizations and their Profile of Performance Against Quality Benchmarks for Workplace Health Promotion. J Occup Environ Med. 2019;61(5):424-430. https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000001584.  
  • Weaver, GM, Bibeau, DL, Rulison, K, Bray, J, Dudley, WN, & Unsal, N. Tracking changes in U.S. organizations’ workplace health promotion initiatives: A longitudinal analysis of performance against quality benchmarks. Am J Health Promot. 2020; 34(2):142-149. https://doi.org/10.1177/0890117119883581.
  • Unsal N, Bray J, Weaver GM, & Bibeau DL. Why Do Firms Implement Workplace Wellness Programs? Understanding the Reasons Beyond Return on Investment. In Preparation.

Evaluation of Workplace Health and Wellness Initiatives Our group conducted a systematic review of economic evaluations in workplace health and wellness. Additionally, in collaboration with Well-Spring, a local non-profit retirement community, we conducted an economic evaluation of one of their workplace wellness programs.

  • Unsal N, Bray J, Weaver GM, Bibeau DL, Link, A, Saake, G. Return on Investment of Workplace Wellness: Evidence from a Long-term Care Company. Under review. Workplace Health & Safety.
  • Unsal N, Weaver GM, & Bray J, & Bibeau DL. A Systematic Review of Economic Evaluations of Workplace Wellness Programs. Under review. Public Health Reports.
  • Bray, J.W., Hinde, J.M., Kaiser, D.J., Mills, M.J., Karuntzos, G.T., Genadek, K.R., Kelly, E.L., Kossek, E.E., & Hurtado, D.A. (2018). Effects of a flexibility/support intervention on work performance: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network. American Journal of Health Promotion, 32(4), 963-970.
  • Dowd, W. N., Bray, J. W., Barbosa, C., Brockwood, K., Kaiser, D. J., Mills, M. J., … & Wipfli, B. (2017). Cost and Return on Investment of a Work–family Intervention in the Extended Care Industry: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(10), 956-965.
  • Barbosa, C., Bray, J.W., Dowd, W.N., Mills, M.J., Kelly, E.L., Moen, P., & Wipfli, B. (2015). Return on investment of a Work-Family Intervention: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 57(9): 943–951.
  • Karuntzos, G. T., Bray, J. W., Cluff, L. A., & Galvin, D. M. (2011). Young adults in the workplace initiative: Cross-site evaluation methods. In J. Bray, D. Galvin, and L. Cluff (Eds.), Young adults in the workplace: A multi-site initiative of substance use prevention programs (pp. 133–155). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

Opioid Misuse Prevention in High Risk Industries In collaboration with Prevention Strategies we submitted a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant proposal to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a project to develop a mobile web-based intervention focused on opioid misuse prevention among workers in industries with a high risk for injury and opioid dispensing.

      • Phase 1 SBIR: Development of an opioid misuse prevention program for young adult workers in industries with high risk for injury and opioid dispensing.  Principal Investigator:  Stephen Hebard  Co-Investigators:  GracieLee Weaver and David Wyrick
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Assessment of Food Environments in the Workplace Our group is beginning to assess the impact of food environments in the workplace on dietary intake. The impact of food environments may be particularly interesting for those in field work or rural areas.

  • Calancie L, Leeman, Pitts, Ammerman, Kettel-Khan, McGuirt J, Evenson, Owens, Fleischhacker, Quinn, Johnson, Dean, Piltch, Byker, Barnidge, Schreiner, Pinard, Kolodinsky. Nutrition-related policy and environmental strategies to prevent obesity in rural communities: A systematic review of the literature. Preventing Chronic Disease. In Press. 2015.

Diabetes Prevention and Management in the Workplace One of our faculty members in Public Health Education is examining how occupational characteristics are associated with diabetes prevalence and management. This research is particularly focused on Latino workers as they suffer a disproportionate burden of diabetes and are often overrepresented in low wage service jobs.

  • Echeverría SE, Divney A, Rodriguez F, Sterling M, Vasquez E, Murillo R, L Lopez. Nativity and occupational status as determinants of physical activity participation among Latinos in the United States. Am J Prev Med. 2019;56(1):84-92.

Well-being and workplace performance in health care Some of the UNCG faculty are currently working on a systematic assessment of depression among registered nurses. Previous work has included the examination of worker health, productivity, and presenteeism on the quality of care provided to patients in health care.

  • Letvak, S., Gupta, S., & Ruhm, C. (2013) Differences in health, productivity and quality of care in younger and older nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 21, 914-921.
  • Letvak, S., Ruhm, C. & Gupta, S. (2012). Nurses’ presenteeism and its effect on self-reported quality of care and costs. American Journal of Nursing, 112(2), 30-38.
  • Letvak, S., Ruhm, C., Gupta, S. (2012). How Nurse Health Impacts Quality of Care and Patient Safety in Hospital Settings. Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) National Conference. Washington, DC.

MEET THE GROUP

WHN ASSOCIATED FACULTY & STAFF

GracieLee Weaver, Ph.D. Department of Public Health Education
Jeremy Bray, Ph.D. Department of Economics
Daniel Bibeau, Ph.D. Department of Public Health Education
Jared T. McGuirt, Ph.D., MPH Department of Nutrition
Mike Perko, Ph.D. Department of Public Health Education
Sandara E. Echevarria, Ph.D. Department of Public Health Education.
Ratchneewan Ross, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Cone Health Distinguished Professor of Family and Community Nursing
Susan Letvak, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Adult Health Nursing
Amanda Gale, Ph.D., NCIDQ, WELL AP, LEED AP (BD+C), Department of Interior Architecture
Stefanie Milroy, MPH, Director, HealthyUNCG Employee Wellness Program
Nilay Unsal, Ph.D., Ankara University, Turkey
Ashley Peters, Department of Economics

 

CONTACT THE WHN

For additional information about the UNCG Workplace Health Network contact:

Dr. GracieLee Weaver
UNCG Department of Public Health Education
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
Email gmweaver@uncg.edu
Telephone (336) 334-5532

Ashley Peters
UNCG Department of Economics
PO Box 26170
Greensboro NC 27402-6170
Email arpeter2@uncg.edu
Telephone (336) 256-1010