Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. William Pfeifle

Committee Member

Dr. Julia Costich

Committee Member

Dr. Robin Vanderpool



Adults spend a significant portion of their lives at their workplace. Thus the workplace provides an important venue for public health interventions aimed at prevention and wellness. Best practices for workplace wellness programs are continually being refined. Ironically, health care workers are often less healthy than other professionals and face significant barriers to participating in workplace wellness programs. This paper analyzes the experience of a large urban health care system as it instituted a workplace wellness program and offers recommendations to increase participation in healthcare workplace wellness program and create an overall healthier work environment for healthcare workers.

Factors negatively influencing participation in a workplace wellness program in a large urban healthcare system included: 1) working a shift other than first, 2) being male and 3) being older than 65 years. Significant cultural, personal, and environmental barriers were also described in focus group sessions: 1) lack of time to participate due to stressful work patterns, 2) failure to read communications about the program, 3) lack of trust and concerns of lack of confidentiality with perceived threats to job security, 4) lack of on-site exercise facilities and healthy food choices, and 5) low perceived self-efficacy to engage in wellness activities.

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