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Healthy Perks and Discounts

Posted By Laura Polas, Friday, April 25, 2014

Thank you WWCMA Member and Communications Committee Volunteer Colleen Caruso for these great ideas!

One way to support a culture of wellness in your organization is to offer perks and discounts that can help your employees choose a healthier lifestyle.   Here are some discounts and perks that may work for your organization.  Please share your ideas in the comments below. 

•   Boston Organics - Offer employees a healthy snack option by having fresh fruit delivered to your office.  Boston Organics delivers in Boston and the surrounding cities and towns.  

•   Hubway - Hubway is a bike sharing system that provides more than 1,300 bikes at 140 stations throughout Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.  Companies in this area can support the health of employees as well as their “green” initiatives by offering the benefit of discounted memberships to Hubway.

•   Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - Some local farms will deliver fruits and vegetables to organizations whose employees sign up for their CSA.  Farms may also be willing to set up a farmers’ market for the employers in your area.

•   JP Morgan Corporate Challenge - Sponsor a company team for this annual race in June in Boston.  The race is sold out this year, but you can get on the list to form a team next year.  If your company supports a certain charity, you could also form a corporate team for their local run or walk.  Event calendars are available on sites such as Cool Running, New England Runner and 

•   Gym discounts - Many area gyms will offer discounted rates to employees at your company if a certain number of employees join or if your company agrees to subsidize a portion of the membership. 

•   Health plans - Promote the discounts offered by your health plans.  Many employees are not aware of the cost savings that are available to them.

•   On-site fitness classes - Many area fitness instructors are willing to conduct on-site yoga, bootcamp and other fitness classes for your office if there is enough interest. 

•   On-site massage - Local gyms, massage therapists, and wellness staffing companies can also  send a massage therapist to your organization to offer seated massage to employees.

•   Financial Education - Support employees’ financial health and relieve stress with financial seminars.  Many 401(k) administrators, advisors, and community banks will offer on-site seminars on financial topics such as investing, budgeting, saving for college, and buying a home.

•   Volunteer days - Partner with an organization such as Boston Cares  to sponsor a company event or allow employees to take a day off to volunteer for an organization of their choice. 

•   Caregiving resources and backup childcare - Relieve stress and improve productivity by offering assistance finding childcare through organizations such as or Bright Horizons.

Do you offer another wellness-related perk or discount to employees that has worked well for your organization? We would love to hear your ideas - post them below! 

Tags:  Boston  Wellness Discounts  Wellness Perks 

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Is Wellness Certification Right for You?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 19, 2014





Wellness Certifications
Colleen Caruso

The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts has again invited Larry Chapman to conduct his WellCert training in Massachusetts. Larry will be offering his Level 1 training June 10-11 and his Level 2 training June 12-13.

Have you wondered if a wellness certification is right for you?

I participated in the Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist (CWWS) class offered through the National Wellness Institute. I have also completed Level 2 of the WellCert program online to obtain a Certified Wellness Program Manager designation. Through these certification classes, I gained knowledge, learned of additional resources, and received templates that I could bring back to my job. I valued the ability to complete the WellCert class online on my own time, but in in some ways, I wish I had waited to take the class in person so that I could benefit from meeting other local wellness professionals.

WWCMA co-founder, Kristie Howard has completed Level 4 of the WellCert program and stated,"As a trusted advisor, it is critical for me to have the best training and resources to guide corporate clients in creating and executing a workforce health strategy that drives meaningful results. For three years in a row, I traveled to the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to complete four levels of the WellCert program taught by Larry Chapman, one of the world’s most respected experts in the field. While this was a long distance to travel, not only did I have the chance to learn from the best, but I also had the opportunity to connect and share ideas with a group of my peers, which I would argue was almost as valuable as going through the training itself. I have stayed connected with many of them over the years, and to this day we still bounce ideas off of one another. For anyone who is currently in the field or looking to enter the worksite wellness field, the WellCert program (in-person, if at all possible) is the best training investment you can make.

I interviewed one of the attendees of last year’s Massachusetts Level 1 WellCert training, and she raved, "Larry Chapman’s WellCert class is a must for anyone who needs to manage or develop a wellness program at their company. His material covers everything from the reasons wellness makes sense financially as well as how to change your corporate culture to embrace a healthy lifestyle. This course is a great start for anyone looking to cover the essentials in starting any corporate wellness program.”

Certification classes are a great place to connect with other professionals in your field. These relationships can provide a means for idea sharing that can extend well beyond your time at the certification class.Our own organization was founded as a result of Kristie Howard and Mari Ryan connecting through National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, WI!

For more information on the WellCert program or to register, click here!

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An Interview with Janet Edmunson – Creating a Positive Workplace

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 30, 2013
On Tuesday, October 15th, Janet Edmunson presented on the topic of negativity in the workplace in her presentation "Creating A Positive Workplace".

Janet Edmunson, has over 30 years of experience in the health promotion field, most recently as Director of Prevention & Wellness at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) and previously at Georgia-Pacific Corporation, New England Telephone and the Boston Five Cents Savings Bank. Janet has spoken to over 300 groups, including women’s conferences, association conferences, as well as for worksite employee and leadership programs.

We held a brief interview with Janet as a preview to her presentation and asked her to speak about her experiences with negativity in the workplace.

You definitely don’t need to look very far to find negativity in the workplace. When I was working at various corporations, I was able to attend many team meetings in which there was great interaction and respect, but I have also attended meetings in which everyone seemed intimidated.

Janet Edmunson Founder & President, JME Insights, and Partner, sPeak Performance.

Negativity can also exist in relationships in the workplace, which includes interpersonal, team-related, and cultural relationships. If the culture of an organization encourages a lack of trust for one another, the organization is most likely not performing at its best

In my presentation, I will talk about studies that show positivity in the workplace is not just fluff or "nice to have.” A positive work culture is at the core to having a productive business, and it takes knowing how to create positivity to make an impact and succeed as a high-performing organization.

Positivity is linked to longevity and prevention of disease so it ties into health promotion and worksite wellness programs nicely. I encourage those who are wellness, human resources, and training professionals to attend the upcoming program and learn how to apply evidence-based techniques that increase optimism, build on strengths and foster the proper balance between inquiry (asking questions) and advocacy (stating viewpoints). Negativity can be integrated in many ways and is an issue that impacts the whole company.

This blog post was written by the WWCMA Marketing & Communications Committee Volunteer,Colleen Caruso (Grady), CEBS, CWPM
, Senior Consultant, Employee Benefits
, Longfellow Benefits.

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Transforming Worksite Wellness Beyond ROI: An Interview with Ron Goetzel

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013


As the keynote speaker for the 2nd Annual Wellness Conference, "Transforming Worksite Wellness Beyond ROI,” Ron Goetzel, Ph.D.,will address impacts beyond healthcare cost savings, organizational culture and effectiveness, as well as the challenges and limitations of ROI studies.

Dr. Goetzel, is a nationally recognized expert in health and productivity management, program evaluation, and return-on-investment and outcomes research. He has two current roles, Research Professor and Director, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Vice President, Consulting and Applied Research at Truven Health Analytics.

We held a brief interview with Dr. Goetzel as a preview to our upcoming conference.

1.) What advice would you give to an health promotion or HR professional who is trying to make the case for an investment in wellness in his or her organization?

I will be covering this topic in my presentation. To respond on a high level, workers have modifiable health risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol that can lead to various diseases and disorders. The modifiable risk factors and associated diseases cost companies money in terms of higher medical claims and diminished worker productivity. The question is, "Can a company do anything about this?”, and the answer is "yes.” A systematic literature review by the Community Guide to Preventive Services, housed at the CDC, found that well-resourced, comprehensive, and evidence-based health promotion programs can "move the needle” on these modifiable risk factors and can have an impact on claims and productivity. Also, a positive ROI is possible if good programs are put in place.

2.) I’ve read a few articles recently and have spoken to a few employees who feel that health promotion does not belong in the workplace and that it has become an invasion of privacy. How would you respond to those critics?

Employers have a stake in the health and well-being of their workers. Healthy and present workers help a company perform better. Employers pay most of the insurance costs (the average is 75%) for their employees, so if the company is paying the bill, employees, as part of the contract, should do their part to try to be healthy. It’s a win/win situation because being healthy also means having a long and fulfilling life for individuals.

If we are looking to budget per employee, what is the minimum you’d recommend for a successful program?

There are ranges for this. US employers spend around $5,000 per employee per year in health insurance alone. This amount does not include the cost for dependents. When you factor in absenteeism, disability, presenteeism, and safety costs, this number can double or triple the amount spent on healthcare. I’d recommend investing $200 to $500 per employee per year for a good program. This is a small fraction of the investment already being made in employees’ health.

4.) Outside of health plan costs, how would you recommend that an organization measure the success of their wellness program?

There are many layers to measuring the success of a program. The first level is a structural assessment to measure the elements of a good program.Does it have a no smoking policy? Do they offer healthy food in cafeterias and vending machines? Is there flextime for exercise? Are employees provided low or no cost prescription drugs needed to manage chronic conditions? The next level is a process evaluation. Employers should measure the extent to which employees participate in a program and are happy with it. The third level is outcomes that are related to health improvement, medical cost savings, and productivity improvement. Employers should look at behaviors and risk factors to measure if programs are working, for example, if they are helping employees quit smoking and lose weight.

5.) Knowing that you have two jobs, Research Professor and Director, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Vice President, Consulting and Applied Research at Truven Health Analytics, what do you do to manage your own health with such a busy schedule?

I have worked to establish health habits as part of my routine. I take 45 minutes to an hour of each day for a walk or other physical activity. I try to eat healthy and make two out of my three meals salad-based. I weigh myself each day, and I make sure I receive all recommended health screenings for my age. To manage stress, I try to be mindful about how to best respond to stressful situations. To manage work-life balance, I make time for non-work activities and family. I try to take the many lessons I have learned from health promotion studies and apply them to my own life.

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DPH: Working on Wellness

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Have you launched various programs pertaining to employee health but are ready to begin to coordinate and integrate your efforts into a long-term worksite health strategy? Are you looking for ways to create a workplace environment that encourages employees to be healthy while at work? The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is recruiting employers to participate in Working on Wellness, a training program that will guide employers on developing an infrastructure to improve the overall health and well-being of employees. Up to 15 employers are recruited to participate, and each employer receives training, technical assistance, education and resources in addition to opportunities for networking on collaboration.

As part of the Working on Wellness Program, employers receive:

  • An evidence-based toolkit with information on:
  • Obtaining a mandate for Wellness
  • Composing a Wellness team
  • Assessing health status, needs and interests
  • Formulating goals and objectives
  • Developing an action plan
  • Plan approval and implementation
  • Monthly conference calls with field experts on topics including program evaluation, making policy changes, etc.
  • 4 training sessions using the toolkit as a basis for the training
  • Technical assistance conference calls with a worksite wellness expert
  • Opportunities to network with peers

For more information, contact Lisa Erck at, or visit

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Creating A Culture of Health: Organizational Approaches to Promoting and Protecting Employee Health

Posted By Administration, Sunday, November 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Want to see how your worksite compares to other Massachusetts employers, by business size and/or industry sector? Download a copy of Creating a Culture of Health: Organizational Approaches to Protecting and Promoting Employee Health by clicking on the image below.

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New Sponsor - Tufts Health Plan

Posted By Administration, Sunday, November 6, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is excited to announce and thank our first sponsor, Tufts Health Plan! Their sponsorship shows commitment to the importance of worksite health promotion and supports the council’s mission to serves as a resource for health promotion professionals across Massachusetts.

Interested in becoming a sponsor of WWCMA? Learn more about the Benefits of Sponsorship and contact us at!

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WWCMA Sponsors

Posted By Administration, Saturday, November 5, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is excited to announce and thank our first sponsors! Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has sponsored the council at the gold level along with Tufts Health Plan and Blue Cross & Blue Shield at the silver level, and Longfellow Benefits at the bronze level. Their sponsorship shows commitment to the importance of worksite health promotion and supports the council’s mission to serves as a resource for health promotion professionals across Massachusetts.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Please view the various sponsorship opportunities and contact if your organization would like to sponsor the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts.

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Healthy People/Heathly Economy Unveils Report Card

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just last month, Valerie Fleishman, executive director of NEHI, joined us at our June meeting to discuss the goals and objectives of the Healthy People/Healthy Economy initiative and ways the business community can help. The Healthy People/Health Economy Coalition, a powerful group of business, civic, and public health leaders whose aim is to make Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness, is led by co-chairs Paul S. Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, Ranch Kimball, former chief executive officer Joslin Diabetes Center, and Valerie Fleishman. One key goal of the Coalition is to promote public policy that will stem the rising tide of preventable chronic disease and redirect resources from treatment to prevention. Prevention is the key and it’s certainly achieved thru investments in health promotion and worksite wellness programs!

The Healthy People/Healthy Economy Coalition recently unveiled a new report card for Massachusetts. The report reviews policies for 14 health indicators in 4 key areas: physical activity; access to healthy foods; investments in health and wellness; and citizen education and engagement. While the state, received good grades for its innovative programs, improvements in support and coordination are needed.

Based on analysis by the Boston Foundation and NEHI, none of the 14 health indicators received an A grade, five received a B, two received a C grade, four received a D, two received an F and one (health literacy) received an Incomplete (meaning the policy was at a very early or experimental stage). Employee Health Promotion was among the policies given a B grade. In 2010, Mass. enacted a promising set of policies to promote employee health and wellness, but the challenge is turning the policies into practice on a wide scale. Public Health Funding was one of the policies given an F grade. While Mass. public health programs have a long track record for serving as national models, continued severe budget cuts threaten to weaken them at a time when public and community health programs should be seen as vital elements in improving the health of residents.

"Healthy behaviors account for 50 percent of what keeps us healthy but yet only four percent of our total national health expenditures are spent in this area,” said Fleishman. "The Report Card helps identify areas where we can improve this imbalance, which is vital to getting our health and escalating health care costs back on the right track.”

In the future, the report card will connect our progress on policies with health outcomes and costs. Please go to the Boston Foundation’s website for more details and to download a copy.

The report card was released Tuesday, July 19th at a forum held at the Boston Foundation, which featured a keynote address by Michele Leuck of the Colorado Health Institute, which has pioneered the use of critical health indicators to measure the overall health of the state. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring Mayor Scott Lang of New Bedford, Rear Admiral Mike Milner, Assistant Surgeon General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Sandra Stratford, Chief Medical Officer of the Raytheon Corporation, and Valerie Bassett, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

Bassett said, "We have to make the healthy choice the easy choice.” A key point, which was echoed by the other panelists and with which the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts whole heartedly agrees!

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The National Prevention Strategy

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The nation’s first ever National Prevention Strategy was announced on
June 16, 2011. The National Prevention Strategy called for under the
Affordable Care Act, outlines the ways that public and private
partners can help Americans stay healthy and fit and improve our
nation’s prosperity.

For more information, visit:

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The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is the preeminent, independent and objective resource for health promotion in the workplace and champions wellness programs to help employers encourage healthy employees, healthy families, and healthy communities across the Commonwealth.