Health Means Business

health means business

Coming Together to Improve Community Health

Adapted from content provided by Chamberlain University for the Health Means Business U.S. Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

What’s the connection between businesses and the overall health of their communities? That’s the focus of the Health Means Business campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The goal of the Health Means Business campaign is to engage businesses of all sizes in an enlightened national discussion “about the interdependency between health and economic empowerment, and to promote a Culture of Health in the United States.”

In February 2017, I had the honor of participating on a panel of business and healthcare industry leaders at the Health Means Business National Summit in Washington D.C. as part of the Health Means Business Champions Network. The panel included Chuck Gillespie, Executive Director, Wellness Council of Indiana; Rachna Govani, Co-Founder, Foodstand; and Margaret Gifford, Watervine Impact, U.S. Chamber Wellness Council of Indiana Foundation. The panel was moderated by Richard Crespin, CEO of CollaborateUp and senior fellow of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and covered topics related to how businesses can impact the health of the community.

How does a business begin to improve the health of its own employees, let alone the health of its extended community and the U.S. – and why does it matter?

Throughout my career as a business owner, entrepreneur and educator, I learned that promoting health among my employees went beyond providing insurance benefits, days off and workers’ compensation benefits. People spend most of their waking moments working – more than they spend with their families or in leisure activities. So it makes sense that employers use that valuable time to foster wellness.

Promoting a Culture of Health

If we think about health as a sense of well-being that enables a person to bring his or her best self to work every day, creating an environment where people thrive means people feel valued, are respected and are doing meaningful work.

One of the most powerful ways a business can begin to contribute to health is by creating an environment that provides alternatives to stress and tension in the workplace. This can be in the form of socio-emotional opportunities to make healthy choices, an environment that encourages colleagues to move and stay active, opportunities for professional growth in areas of interest or a company-wide dedication to encouraging a work-life balance.

In my current role, I serve as president of Chamberlain University. One might think that a caring culture is an obvious attribute at a university where nurses and healthcare professionals are educated. But a caring culture has to be intentionally created, promoted and supported by leadership in order to provide employees with a clear model of how to live care each day.

Supporting a culture where employees can thrive – mentally, emotionally and professionally – requires time and a commitment to modeling the behaviors you wish to promote. As a result, because they feel cared for, colleagues are much more engaged in their work and better able to care for other colleagues and students. What a great testament to health being good for business!

Learn more about the Health Means Business Movement at:

*Adapted from content provided by Chamberlain University for the Health Means Business U.S. Chamber of Commerce newsletter.



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