Working on Wellness is a new partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Health Resources in Action and AdvancingWellness that helps Massachusetts employers develop, implement and sustain comprehensive, evidence-based worksite policies and programs that promote and protect the health of their employees. This initiative is made possible by the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund as established by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012. The University of Massachusetts Medical School and University of Massachusetts Lowell are evaluating this program.
Working on Wellness staff members bring a unique set of skills to help organizations succeed in developing a culture of wellness. Our staff will provide:
- subject matter expertise in worksite health promotion
- training and guidance for assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of worksite wellness programs
- assistance in developing a customized Worksite Wellness Action Plan
- access to a web-based portal with easy to use learning modules, tools, and resources.
Health Resources in Action
Health Resources in Action is a nonprofit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts dedicated to promoting public health and advancing medical research. In partnership with federal and state government agencies, academic and research institutions, nonprofits, and communities throughout the country, Health Resources in Action’s staff use innovative approaches to solve critical public health issues and to create healthier, more vibrant communities.
- Steve Ridini, EdD
Steven Ridini, EdD, is the CEO and President at HRiA. He brings 25+ years of experience working in health and philanthropy within the US and internationally. He has extensive experience in non-profit management and administration, with a professional background spanning research and evaluation, strategic planning and organizational development, grant making, and coalition building.
Dr. Ridini earned a bachelor's degree in biology and political science from Boston College followed by a master's in public health and a doctorate in education, both from Harvard University. He has served as lecturer at Harvard, and has authored two books on social change, Health and Sexuality Education in Schools: The Process of Community Change and Grassroots Social Action: Lessons in People Power Movements.
- Kathleen McCabe, MPA
Kathleen McCabe joined the HRiA team in 2007 and brings both strategic leadership and technical content expertise to HRiA’s Policy and Practice work. During her tenure at HRiA, Ms. McCabe has managed the organization’s smoke-free housing work, led best practice policy research in the areas of transportation, chronic disease prevention, climate change and healthy homes, and partnered with HRiA colleagues on both strategic planning and Health Impact Assessment.
- Kevin Myers, MSPH
- Kevin joined Health Resources in Action in 2015 as a Senior Project Associate. Previously he worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a variety of areas including injury prevention, global health, coalition and operations improvement, healthcare, and others. In addition, he worked within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to promote mental health in the Commonwealth. Kevin has experience conducting health assessments as well as planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs. Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Tracey Fredricks, MPH
- Tracey Fredricks joined Health Resources in Action in 2015 as a Project Associate. Prior to HRIA, Tracey worked in health disparities research and program development and implementation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine and at the Cambridge Public Health Department, respectively. Tracey has experience conducting and analyzing data from quantitative and qualitative research; planning, implementing, and evaluating public health interventions; as well as health marketing, communications, and recruitment.
Tracey holds a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor.
- Erica Pike, MS
- After serving two years as an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow with Health Resources in Action's The 84 Movement, Erica is now a Project Associate for the Working on Wellness program. With The 84 Movement, Erica supported and trained Massachusetts youth and adult leaders to fight the influence of the tobacco industry in the Commonwealth through policy advocacy and community organizing. Erica has expertise in youth development, community organizing, nutrition and public health policy development. Erica received her bachelor's in dance at Drexel University and a master's in applied nutrition from Northeastern University.
- Lina Jew, MPH
- Lina Jew joined Health Resources in Action as a Program Coordinator in 2015. Prior to HRiA, she worked at Brookline Department of Public Health, where she supported a number of community health initiatives ranging from healthy eating and physical activity to domestic violence prevention to Lyme disease prevention. Lina has experience in community outreach, social media development, health communications, and program development. Lina received a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of British Columbia.
AdvancingWellness, based in Watertown, MA delivers worksite wellness programs that empower healthy lifestyles. AdvancingWellness was established in 2006 with the goal of positively impacting the lives of individuals and the companies in which they work. Their mission is help each individual achieve their optimal health by increasing awareness, teaching behavior change skills, and creating supportive, healthy cultures in the workplace. They help organizations achieve sustainable business results by advancing the individual wellness of their employees.
- Mari Ryan, MBA, MHP, CWP
Mari is founder/CEO of AdvancingWellness. She brings over 25 years of business and management experience to this role. Mari chairs the Board of Directors of the Worksite Wellness Council of MA (WWCMA). From 2008 to 2013, she worked with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to develop and facilitate a worksite wellness capacity building program. In her role with the WWCMA, she was a member of the DPH Statewide Worksite Wellness Benchmarking Survey project team. She is a certified trainer in CDC's Work@Health program. Mari holds a Bachelor Degree from Lesley University, an MBA from Boston University, and a Masters in Health Promotion from Nebraska Methodist College. She is a certified Worksite Wellness Program Consultant.
- Lisa Erck, MS
Lisa is a Senior Consultant at AdvancingWellness and is a subject matter expert executing a variety of projects in the health and wellness field. Her work is aimed at helping businesses create work environments that encourage employees to be healthy while at work. She has spearheaded a statewide worksite wellness initiative, Working on Wellness, with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as part of Mass in Motion, a statewide obesity prevention initiative. She has a professional background spanning health promotion, public health, sales, project management, marketing strategy and business development.
Lisa has presented as a subject matter expert for events such as the CDC National Healthy Worksite Program and the State Of Wellness Webinar Series. Lisa has also co-authored several articles for peer-reviewed publications such as American Journal of Health Promotion and American Journal of Health Education. Lisa holds a Master of Science degree with a concentration in health, exercise, and sport science and earned a Bachelor degree from Hamilton College.
- Leslee McGovern, MS, RD, LDN, CWPC
Leslee is passionate nutrition, health and wellness professional. In her role as Wellness Program Coordinator, she puts her passion to work planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating worksite wellness programs for AdvancingWellness. Leslee has 10+ years experience designing and implementing corporate nutrition and wellbeing programs for Fortune 500 companies. A registered and licensed dietitian, she has special expertise in developing health-promoting environments that encourage nutritious food choices at work, home and beyond.
Leslee has a Bachelor of Science from Framingham State University in Food and Nutrition, a Master of Science from Boston University in Nutrition and Communications, and is a Certified Wellness Program Coordinator through the Chapman Institute. Leslee is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Practice Group and the Dietitians in Business and Communications Practice Group.
University of Massachusetts
Teams from the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) and University of Massachusetts Medical School are the external evaluators for Working on Wellness. UMass has substantial experience with data collection, management, and analysis to examine health outcomes, including disability and work limitations, and health care utilization and expenditures.
- Laura Punnett, Sc.D. UML
Dr. Punnet is the occupational epidemiologist responsible for study design and evaluation. Dr. Punnett is an occupational epidemiologist with 30 years of research experience in studies of working conditions and morbidity; her record of successful and productive research has been recognized through her appointment as UMass-Lowell Distinguished University Professor for 2013-16. She has conducted and supervised numerous large-scale epidemiologic studies, covering assessment of physical and organizational features of the work environment and sources of variability; quantification of exposure response relationships; the contribution of working conditions to socioeconomic disparities in health; methodologic issues such as under-reporting and differential response rates; and the effectiveness of workplace programs such as wellness and health and safety committees.
Dr. Punnett earned a bachelor of Medical Social Science degree from Hampshire College, a Masters in Occupational Health and Safety and a Doctor of Science degree in Occupational Health and Safety; Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Wen-Chieh Lin, Ph.D. UMMS
Dr. Lin is a health services researcher with nearly 20 years of experience in using claims and assessment data in research and program/policy evaluation. His research focuses on improving health care delivery, financing, and outcomes for vulnerable populations, including frail elderly, people with low income, and people experiencing homelessness. He has extensive experience in designing studies and implementing complex evaluation plans. In these studies, he uses the rich set of information from large administrative data sets (Medicare and Medicaid administrative databases, all-payer claims databases, and outcomes assessment data) and applies advanced statistics analysis for policy and program evaluation to acquire actionable information. His work has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Massachusetts state agencies, including Department of Public Health, Office of Medicaid, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and Center for Health Information and Analysis.
Dr. Lin has investigated the impact of changes in Medicare post-acute payment systems, examined healthcare utilization and expenditures for elders with behavioral health disorders, studied approaches for care integration/coordination for the homeless population, and evaluated a health coaching program for Medicaid members with multiple chronic conditions. He is also using the all-payer claims database to investigate the adoption and the impact of high-deductible health plans in Massachusetts and the screening and treatment of infectious diseases. His current work focuses on developing new care management opportunities for people with complex care needs.
- Wenjun Li, Ph.D. UMMS
Dr. Li is Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Health Statistics and Geography Lab at UMass Medical School. Dr. Li has long-term expertise in statistical evaluation of community-based health promotion projects and large-scale epidemiologic studies. He has long term experience and expertise in research into obesity, tobacco control, prevention of chronic diseases, falls and fall injuries, physical disabilities, and health care utilizations. Dr. Li’s primary research expertise is statistical evaluation of public health policies, community health promotion programs, and impact of neighborhood socioeconomic and built environment on health and health behaviors. He is well-published in these fields.
Dr. Li has served as principal investigator on a number of NIH-, CDC- or Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded studies, and lead biostatistician for 4 federally funded national consortium projects and 7 NIH funded randomized intervention studies. He previously evaluated several statewide public health programs including Mass in Motion, Smoke-Free Multiunit Housing, Community Transformation Grants and overweight and obesity prevalence among Massachusetts public school students. Dr. Li will lead the statistical analysis of the evaluation data for our workplace wellness project.
- Robin Toof, Ed.D. UML
Dr. Toof, CoDirector, Center for Community Research & Engagement and the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Service Learning and Community-Co-op Resource Office, has a doctorate in Higher Education Administration and a master’s in Community Social Psychology. Dr. Toof has worked in the field of research and evaluation, community partnerships, program management and facilitation for over 20 years.
Evaluation projects that she has led include: Lowell Police Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and Executive Office of Public Safety and Security funded community safety initiatives; Lowell Police Departments ex-offender reentry program; Lowell Community Health Center’s substance abuse prevention and healthy teens programming, CDC-funded Cambodian Community Health 2010 health disparities reduction program; four Center for Substance Abuse Prevention projects located in Lowell, Worcester and Lawrence; City of Lowell Weed and Seed and Problem Solving grants; Lowell School Department’s health curriculum; Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and Lowell Housing Authority’s partnership to improve services to elders and disable residents; and Family Service, Inc.’s HIV/AIDS prevention, Marriage Enrichment and AMIGOS mentoring programs. She has taught graduate courses in program evaluation, grant writing, and working with groups and has supervised numerous graduate student directed study and practicum projects.
- Suzanne Nobrega, M.S. UML
Suzanne Nobrega is Outreach Director at the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the Healthy and Safe@Work Project. She oversees training, implementation, dissemination, and evaluation of Total Worker Health programs in the workplace and through public health research partnerships.
Ms. Nobrega led the field test research and dissemination of the CPH-NEW Healthy Worksite Participatory Program toolkit. She is an experienced program manager, program evaluator, and research coordinator. Her research interests focus onaddress job stress, organizational change, worksite health promotion. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Cornell University, and has completed graduate coursework in Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
- Melissa Wall
Senior Program Evaluator at the Center for Community Research & Engagement, has her master's degree in Community Social Psychology and over 15 years of experience evaluating diverse partnerships and multi-year initiatives. These evaluations have a strong orientation toward working with diverse communities and facing ambiguous tasks and goals. Ms. Wall served as the lead evaluator for four years of our second GEAR UP grant. Other research and evaluation projects she has been involved in include: another Department of Education funded mentoring program for middle school students, an Office of Family Assistance healthy marriage program, Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention funded HIV/AIDS program for Latinas in Lawrence, MA, and the CDC-funded Cambodian Community Health 2010 health disparities reduction program, a U.S. Department of Justice funded neighborhood program to improve overall quality of life and reduce crime; and a Department of Justice funded program to prevent recidivism.
- Manuel Cifuentes MPH, MD, ScD
Manuel Cifuentes works at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Health Policy and Research, Research and Evaluation Unit. His research combines qualitative and quantitative methods and focuses on occupational health epidemiology and its association with healthcare delivery, quality, and costs. Two of his current research projects study the translation of efficacy studies into the actual work environment regarding sedentary work life and the difficulties experienced by employers and workers in deciding to buy and using treadmill workstations.