Independent Health has a long of history of providing employers with the innovative tools, resources, and support they need to create and maintain effective worksite wellness programs. Many of these organizations and companies have been able to improve the overall health and well-being of their employees, which has led to reduced absenteeism and medical costs and increased productivity and morale.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has recently forced many employers to re-evaluate and enhance their workplace wellness strategies. When it comes to employee health and wellbeing, one-size-fits-all is no longer a viable approach. Organizations, especially those on the larger side, have varying needs depending on their unique circumstances, such as their current work model (e.g., on-site, remote or hybrid), company culture, demographics of the population, and varying geographic locations.

As the only health plan with a team of wellness specialists based here in Western New York, Independent Health provides local employers and their employees with the personalized experience they deserve. Each group that offers our FitWorks® Prime employee wellness program is assigned their own wellness specialist who works one-on-one with them every step of the way. By analyzing the group’s medical and pharmacy claims, biometric screening results, and aggregate health risk assessment data, our wellness specialist is able to recommend engagement strategies that are tailored to specifically meet the ever-changing interests and needs of both the organization and its employees.

Meet our corporate wellness team

Collectively, Independent Health’s corporate wellness team has more than 50 years of experience in the health and wellness domain. Each member of our team is committed to making our community a healthier one because they live and work here, too:

  • Jennifer Picone, Corporate Wellness Manager, brings more than 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry to Independent Health. She is a certified personal trainer, lifestyle medicine coach, and personal health coach. In particular, she’s passionate about mental health and substance use education and awareness and sits on the board of Mental Health Advocates of WNY. Jennifer enjoys holding workshops and discussions around the mind-body connection, emotional well-being, behavior changes, stress management, and building self-efficacy. To stay balanced, she attends yoga classes and likes to take long walks.
  • Lauren Dlugosz, Wellness Program Manager, is responsible for analyzing Independent Health’s worksite wellness programs and making recommendations that allow us to enhance our wellness offerings and bring new and innovative programs to employer groups. Her background is rooted in health and human performance along with exercise physiology. She holds certifications as a clinical exercise cancer specialist and in mental health first aid. As a mother of two young children, Lauren believes it’s important to get the whole family engaged when it comes to healthy living. She frequently holds cooking demonstrations and other family wellness activities in her home.
  • Michelle Carbery, Senior Corporate Wellness Specialist, has been with Independent Health since 1996, the past five years of which has been spent in our corporate wellness department. Her areas of expertise are in physical activity, behavior change, lifestyle management, and preventive health. Outside of work, Michelle serves as a group fitness instructor and carries specialty certifications in Power Spin and Les Mills Body Pump and Core. She also competes regularly in endurance events and road races. When she’s not competing or teaching fitness classes, you’ll likely find her in her garden or spending time with her family outdoors. 
  • Lauren Christman, Corporate Wellness Specialist, has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. She received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and has previously worked with underserved populations on nutrition education. She’s also actively involved with the American Lung Association. A soon-to-be first-time mom, Lauren has been using her own experience to help educate other expectant mothers on the importance of staying physically and mentally healthy both during and after pregnancy.

If you are an employer who is interested in having a healthier workforce and would like to learn more about what Independent Health can do for you, visit our website or contact your broker or an Independent Health benefit consultant today!