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Assessing Worksite Wellness in Davidson, North Carolina


The purpose of this HIA is to assess the current state of worksite wellness in Davidson, North Carolina. Additionally, this HIA will examine potential mechanisms by which the Town of Davidson can assist or support small and large employers in efforts to increase worksite wellness capacity. By increasing the worksite wellness capacity, the health of both the employees and their families in Davidson should improve.

Davidson Design for Life

Davidson Design for Life is a 3-year initiative of the town of Davidson, North Carolina, to use Health Impact Assessments to promote healthy community design. Davidson was awarded a grant by the Healthy Community Design Initiative of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health, in September 2011. There were five other grant winners, including the local health departments in San Francisco, Baltimore, and Douglas County, Nebraska, and the state health departments of Oregon and Massachusetts. Davidson Design for Life is the only grantee operating outside of a health department and the only one in the Southeast. Operating within the town’s planning department, Davidson Design for Life will demonstrate how HIA works in a local government setting of a small town. Due to limited resources, Davidson Design for Life has relied on partnerships to conduct the 3 HIAs and 2 trainings required yearly by the grant. These partnerships were formed through the Davidson Design for Life Regional Advisory Commission, consisting of statewide public health and planning leaders, nonprofit organizations, and universities (Hebert, 2012).

The mission of Davidson Design for Life is “to help Davidson be a community that is healthy today and even healthier tomorrow while serving as a model for other small towns by implementing healthy design.” Davidson Design for Life has the following four goals:

1. Develop a better understanding of the HIA process as it applies to small, rural towns and use HIA to evaluate and inform built environment decisions by the Town of Davidson as well as regional and statewide decision-makers.

2. More fully and broadly engage our citizens in the decision making process to make healthier lifestyle options available.

3. Collaborate with local, regional, and national partners to promote the use and understanding of HIA and healthy community design principles.

4. Document and share the steps we take and the partnerships we form in order to serve as a model for communities to follow nationwide.

Davidson Design for Life proposes the following recommendations for the Town of Davidson to improve worksite wellness in Davidson:

1. Organize a corporate challenge through the Town of Davidson to promote health and wellness among all Davidson employers.

2. Distribute surveys to additional employers and employees in Davidson, NC.

3. Support a trained worksite wellness coordinator at a local level.

4. Expand the worksite wellness capacity of small businesses in Davidson.

5. Partner with larger businesses to improve worksite wellness initiatives for Town of Davidson employees.

Davidson Design for Life proposes the following recommendations for Davidson employers to improve worksite wellness in Davidson:

1. Aim to provide comprehensive worksite wellness programs for employees.

2. Focus on providing high-quality worksite wellness programs.

3. Address the specific needs of the employees of each business.

4. Focus on smoking cessation and alcohol use reduction when planning worksite wellness initiatives.

5. Build partnerships among businesses, both large and small, to provide comprehensive, highquality worksite wellness programs.

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