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WELCOA’s 2019 Top Health Promotion Professional Winner is…

WELCOA’s 2019 Top Health Promotion Professional Winner is Melanie Cumbee, MemorialCare Health System

Melanie Cumbee is the Director of Organizational Health and Well-being at MemorialCare Health System in Long Beach, California. Melanie holds many certifications and accreditations including WELCOA Faculty Designation, Certified Wellness Practitioner (National Wellness Institute), and a Certified LEAN Leader.

With over 20 years of experience in worksite wellness, she’s impacted the lives of nearly 15,000 employees and physicians. She holds a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is a certified wellness practitioner, trained wellness coach, and thrives on creating innovative programs that inspire others to embrace their personal path to well-being. For the last 11 years, Melanie has led The Good Life employee wellness program at MemorialCare, officially launching the program in 2008, and standardizing the program system-wide in 2010. In 2012, she helped to design and implement MemorialCare’s unique and award-winning onsite lifestyle coaching program, The Good Life In Balance.

The Winners Receive…

As the winner of the 2019 Top Health Promotion Professional Contest, Melanie has won an all-expenese paid trip to the 2019 WELCOA Summit in Philadelphia, PA!

The Top 10 Health Promotion Professionals for 2019 will also receive an exclusive media kit to share their accomplishments with their network.

Melanie’s Story

As the Director of Organizational Health and Well-being for the last 11 years at MemorialCare, Melanie strongly believes that the employee experience drives the patient experience. Put another way, employees who are happy and thriving in multiple areas of well-being are more likely to contribute to the overall health and vitality of the organization. Melanie leads a team of five wellness professionals who implement programming at MemorialCare’s various sites. They’ve moved from a wellness program primarily focused on physical health to a program that intentionally focuses on all components that impact health, including financial well-being, social well-being, community well-being, and purpose/career well-being. They recognize that it’s important to honor every employee’s autonomy and personal wellness journey, come alongside them when they need support, and offer resources that make it easy to prioritize well-being at work. It might seem strange to include happiness in their key objectives, but the evidence-based practices to increase happiness and positivity align with habits that also drive health and well-being.

A great story of ongoing commitment to promoting health. I love her interest in seeing that wellness has an important role in shaping the culture.

Top Health Promotion Professional Judge

Journey to Workplace Wellness

Melanie’s journey in corporate wellness started when she began teaching fitness classes and lunch and learns for a community center. She quickly realized that there was an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the environment where Americans spend one-third of their lives. She was also drawn to the potential ripple effect of these types of initiatives. Working with groups of employees could influence their families, and ultimately, their communities.

When Melanie started at MemorialCare in 2008 to launch her wellness program, The Good Life, she utilized every WELCOA resource and listened to every WELCOA webinar. She absorbed the expertise of the guests, and it became the foundation and catalyst for her career in workplace health promotion. Melanie believes that pursuing training outside of the wellness field is essential for anyone who desires to become a leader in workplace health promotion because of the ever-changing field and integration with organizational development and other HR initiatives such as engagement, recruitment, and retention.

Loving and leading The Good Life is a priority for me, whether it’s guiding a company hike to the Hollywood sign, attending Zumba classes, having a moving meeting, cooking healthy “comfort” food for my family on the weekends, or walking my dog to make sure we both get 10,000 steps. I stay motivated by my personal passion and desire to keep up with my coworkers and family!

Melanie Cumbee, Director of Organizational Health and Well-being

The Results of Living The Good Life

Since The Good Life program started, it’s made an incredible impact in multiple areas. Shortly after Melanie launched the program in 2008, MemorialCare was recognized as a Great Workplace by the Gallup organization four years in a row. In a recent survey, 77% of employees report feeling proud of our company culture and 75% report that The Good Life makes MemorialCare a great place to work. Melanie expressed her gratitude for her senior leadership team that not only supports MemorialCare’s program, but leads by example. The Good Life was conceived as an employee engagement strategy in the 2006 Leadership Academy. MemorialCare’s CEO and COO demonstrates their ongoing commitment by supporting the investment of onsite staff, meaningful incentives, and company events that focus on well-being related topics such as happiness. But the proof is in the data! 93% of MemorialCare employees reported that they developed positive daily habits over the last year, and Melanie has witnessed trends in employees who averaged less than 5,000 steps last year, who increase their average to approximately 7,000 steps this year. In 2015, MemorialCare received the Innovation Award from the American Heart Association for our onsite coaching program called The Good Life In Balance. This onsite coaching program is for employees with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or weight management concerns and provides a certified wellness coach, dietitian, or clinical support if needed by a pharmacist and physician. MemorialCare employees have had clinically significant reductions in A1c (.07), 92% medication compliance for diabetes participants, and approximately two-thirds of employees lost at least 3% body weight.

Exemplary description of how she’s translated her passion and commitment into significant, innovative contributions to her organization and also provides guidance and a model for how other organizations can approach what they are doing differently. I’m very inspired by the approach she’s taken and this is someone I’d love to see profiled within our industry.”

Top Health Promotion Professional Judge

Vision for the Future of Health Promotion

Although there is a lingering focus on biometric screenings and physical health only, Melanie believes the health promotion industry is turning a corner, that will shift programs to a focus on employee satisfaction and engagement as the primary drivers for well-being. She also beliees in the importance of joining the culture conversation rather than the cost containment conversation. Melanie’s vision for the future of health promotion includes expanding the breadth of wellness programs to include career well-being, helping employees utilize their strengths and maximize their personal and professional potential.

As the daughter of two psychologists, I’m most excited about the opportunity to leverage the science of positive psychology and optimism, especially in healthcare. The best is yet to come as I continue to support our physicians, nurses, and staff to maintain joy in their work, build resiliency, and flourish in their personal well-being.

Melanie Cumbee, Director of Organizational Health and Well-being