A Decade of Dedication: Health Links™ Celebrates 10 Years of ImpactJul 27, 2022
A lot can happen in a year. Even more can happen in 10.
Public health interventions can struggle to maintain longevity. Funding cycles fluctuate; participant interest wanes and varies; science can often lag behind the constant change in working conditions.
However, this month Health Links™ celebrates its 10-year anniversary. As an established program that serves communities throughout Colorado and nationally, Health Links has been a resource employers rely upon for a decade. What started as a group of local consultants training business leaders across Colorado, Health Links is now a nationally trusted advisor for a growing network of organizations committed to keeping their employees healthy, safe and well.
In 2012, Health Links was created by Lee Newman, MD, MA, and Liliana Tenney, DrPH, two passionate occupational health experts with more than 40 years of combined experience researching, designing and executing workplace interventions. Working with Colorado’s small business community, Newman and Tenney saw a need for a program that could help organizations, particularly smaller organizations, build responsible, sustainable work cultures that support health and safety. Thus, Health Links was born.
“Health Links has been successful in reaching and engaging employers to advance what we call Total Worker Health®," Tenney, Health Links director and assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, said. “We have learned so much along the way about how to put public health into practice within business environments. The program has relied entirely on collaboration with business leaders, workers, local public health and community groups.”
The program remains nimble in its approach to employer outreach and advising, an aspect integral to its core. “Health Links’ success stands firmly on its design. Because our employer advising is bidirectional, we’re able to take the science and evidence behind Total Worker Health and put it into practice in real-time, based on what the organizations we work with can accomplish,” David Shapiro, senior manager of programs and partnerships at Health Links, said. “Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we continue to provide a customized experience to improve employee health, safety and well-being.”
“Health Links helps organizations make small tweaks to greatly improve their policies and programs,” Kristina Reilly, vice president of business operations at GroundFloor Media | CenterTable (a current Health Links organization), said. “Their team also helps guide you to areas of improvement or suggests programs you should consider implementing. They meet you where you are as an organization to tackle what you can and provide guidance for how to move forward.”
“Over the last 10 years, Health Links has evolved to be responsive to what people and businesses have needed and wanted from us,” Newman, Health Links co-founder, distinguished professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, and director of the Center for Health, Work & Environment which houses the program, said. “How do I know we were able to meet those needs? By the fact that we've hosted over 1,000 advising sessions. Our returning organizations are coming back wanting more advising. It’s a testament to Health Links’ ability to be agile and responsive to what is needed by the community, in real time.”
Health Links was founded by a philanthropic gift from Pinnacol Assurance, a workers’ compensation insurer in Colorado. The program has operated for the past 10 years by diversifying funding support across federal, state, and local grants, contracts, and program revenue.
The program would not be standing where it is now without the dedication of its network – employers from the state of Colorado and beyond that prioritize putting their employees first. We look forward to many more years of partnering with business leaders to improve the lives of people at work.
Written by Laura Veith, marketing and media program manager at the Center for Health, Work & Environment.