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HAP Wellness Forum explores the impact of volunteerism on community wellness and corporate culture

DETROIT – More than 100 southeast Michigan businesses, non-profit and community representatives came together at the 2016 Corporate & Community Wellness Forum presented by Health Alliance Plan (HAP) to collaborate on the benefits, goals and measurement of meaningful workplace wellness programs. The theme of this year's event was "Beyond the Workplace: The Value of Corporate and Community Partnerships."

"It's so important for businesses and community organizations to create opportunities for better health in our neighborhoods, homes, schools and workplaces," said DeAndre Lipscomb, vice president of marketing and community outreach for HAP. "Collaboration between the corporate and community sector helps improve the health of the entire community, as well as the health of the current and future workforce. By working together, we can identify practical, feasible ways to reduce barriers to good health."

Through its worksite wellness program, HAP empowers member employers and employees throughout Michigan to take advantage of programs that support healthy choices that contribute to health and wellness. These programs use actionable, easy-to-understand information and resources to help combat declining health rates in the state. Based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest obesity analysis, 31.2 percent of Michigan adults are obese, marking an increase in obesity since 2015 and making the state the 16th most obese in the U.S.

The keynote speaker for this year's Wellness Forum was Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, public health director for the City of Detroit, executive director of the Detroit Health Department and internationally recognized expert in population health policy. He shared insights on the connections between corporations and populations, and how they affect public health outcomes – using Detroit's history and the economy as a key example.

"Public health is what we as a society do collectively, to assure the conditions for people to be healthy," said Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, health director for the City of Detroit. "Corporations are part of the ecosystem and cannot disaggregate themselves. Investing in workforce health improves health, saves money and may address structural regional disadvantages."

Other Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approaches were discussed by the panelists. Most agreed that CSR is complex, and CSR plans must take into account social determinants such as financial well-being before launching. Participants also agreed that more attention should be paid to the places where people live, work and play. All of these factors may determine the overall health and wellness of the employee or resident a CSR program is trying to reach.

Panelists included Phil Wills, principal of Booz Allen Hamilton; Dana Davis, manager of public affairs and community engagement for DTE Energy; Hector Hernandez, executive director for Southwest Economic Solutions; and Tia Marie Sanders, program coordinator for Feed the Need Novi. The participants shared best practices on how they integrate healthy habits and programs – such as community service and establishing shared values – into their corporate cultures.

Presentations were also delivered by HAP's Lipscomb and Tom Spring, director of wellness and community outreach for HAP, who each set the stage for the importance of sharing best practices and key learnings in the community, and how organizations can help influence – in measurable ways – the overall health of Michigan residents.

The event was held at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, where students were also invited to attend. Attendees included representatives from the American Red Cross, DTE Energy, Eastern Market Corp., Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Oakland Family Services, among others.

About Health Alliance Plan

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan that provides health coverage to more than 675,000 members and companies of all sizes. For more than 50 years, HAP has partnered with leading doctors and hospitals, employers and community organizations to enhance the health and well-being of the lives we touch. HAP offers a product portfolio with six distinct product lines: Group Insured Commercial, Individual, Medicare, Medicaid, Self-Funded and Network Leasing. HAP excels in delivering award-winning preventive services, disease management and wellness programs, and personalized customer service. For more information, visit

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Ebony Dooley
Health Alliance Plan
(248) 443-7847 office

Katie Rebella
MCCI on behalf of HAP
(248) 318-4303 mobile