Dr. Laura Linnan, professor of health behavior at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and director of the Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work and Health (CCRWH), has received a $25,000 Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust grant to study workplace health in North Carolina’s McDowell County.
[Photo: Dr. Laura Linnan]
In collaboration with the McDowell County Health Coalition’s workplace wellness committee, the county Economic Development Association and Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Linnan and her team will seek input from about 400 employers about their current health programming and their interest in developing other such workplace programs.
In North Carolina, each local health department is responsible for conducting a periodic community health assessment (CHA), a systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about the community’s health. Its purpose is to identify factors that affect health and resources available to meet the community’s health needs. Dr. Linnan’s project will help meet four of McDowell County’s five current CHA priorities, including ones addressing tobacco use, healthy eating and active living, substance abuse and behavioral health, and access to care.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for McDowell County, its employers and its employees,” said county manager Mr. Chuck Abernathy, co-chair of the Health Coalition’s workplace wellness committee. “This will be a first-time initiative in reviewing such a large number of employers in one region at one time. This should give us a factual, innovative way to improve the health of our neighbors and…of the companies where they are employed.”
During the nine-month study, researchers will survey all employers about wellness practices, interests, suggestions, and concerns, and then will conduct intensive interviews with 21 small, medium, and large employers and their employees, to obtain more in-depth information about their health needs and interests.