Kentuckiana’s Investment in Employee and Community Health- University of Louisville Research Proposal

Greetings from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS)!

For several years, SPHIS has maintained a connection with the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative and we are excited to expand our research opportunities with KHC’s multi-stakeholder network with our latest research proposal.

Recognizing the role that employers have in influencing the health and well-being of individuals and communities is important to better understanding the impact of cross-sector collaboration on health outcomes. Efforts to improve community health extend beyond hospitals, the public health department, and other healthcare entities. Yet, employers have been an untapped resource in terms of understanding how they engage in improving employee health and, more broadly, community health.

Previous studies have noted:

  • The recent focus on healthcare reform and population health has demanded the approach of all sectors getting involved in enhancing the health of the local community.1-2
  • Employers have a distinct role in improving community health by aligning their efforts with local campaigns to improve health, including establishing an internal culture of health within the workplace.3

This area of research is of even greater importance to employers, such as those in the KHC network, who often bear the burden of healthcare costs, which are then passed on to employees and may further influence worker productivity. Given the diverse array of organizations within Kentucky and Southern Indiana, our research team recognizes that KHC-affiliated employers use innovative approaches to improve health, however, these efforts have yet to be fully explored and documented. The goal of our research project is to investigate the ways in which private-sector businesses engage in health improvement strategies for their employees and the surrounding community. Our research team strongly believes that this early groundwork is crucial to better positioning Louisville for future grant funding requests. 

To conduct this study we will interview the individual(s) within the organization most familiar with the programs and activities focused on improving employee and community health (i.e., healthcare benefits, wellness programs, onsite clinics, etc.). The interviews, anticipated to last approximately one hour, will include a series of open-ended questions related to how your organization defines employee and community health, the health initiatives that are and are not working well, the availability of health-related data, and the research questions of great interest to your organization. Further, with the consent of the employer, interviewing or surveying a sample of employees would also be of interest to our research team. We know that there may be a gap between perceived and actual health outcomes, and efforts to close this gap may also positively influence worker productivity. Although we are interested in interviewing both administrators and employees, the latter is an optional part of the study.

Lastly, in agreement with the organizations interviewed, the research team will disseminate early findings as the results of this research will help shape the ways in which businesses invest in healthcare initiatives that impact employees, covered lives, and the community at-large. We hope that you will consider participating in this meaningful research given its greater implications for improving health.

If you have an interest in participating and/or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by email (jaime.jennings@louisville.edu) or by phone (502-852-3286). Thank you for your time and attention, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

J’Aime Jennings

References:

  1. Kindig, D. A. & Isham, G. (2014). Population health improvement: A community health business model that engages partners in all sectors. Frontiers of Health Services Management, 30(4), 3-20.
  2. National Academy of Sciences. (2014). Business engagement in building healthy communities: Workshop summary. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
  3. National Bureau on Community Health. (2013). Community health. NBCH Action Brief. http://www.nbch.org/nbch/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000002820/NBCH_AB_Community%20Health%20FINAL.pdf