Wellness expert will discuss ways to lower health costs at free event June 27

Posted: June 8, 2012
Wellness expert will discuss ways to lower health costs at free event June 27

A two-hour program titled "Employee Wellness Understanding the Real Cost to Your Organization" will be offered free at the Hotel Winneshiek June 27.

The 3-5 p.m. event is sponsored by Rockwell Collins in collaboration with Winneshiek County Development, Inc. and the Northeast Iowa Business Network.

Featured speaker for the event is Drew Bossen of Iowa City, a wellness expert who will examine critical employment concerns about changes in the overall health of today's workforce.

Bossen says that understanding the implications of a "well" workforce is critical in today's competitive business environment. Ignoring the implications of wellness can be very costly.

"As we couple the undeniable relationship between obesity, the prevalence of related health issues and the associated costs of chronic disease, it is clear that our nation is facing a monumental challenge," Bossen said.

His presentation will shed light on how individual behavior can result in improved health for workers.  Bossen also addresses the aging work force, pointing out that as workers become older and heavier:
    Risk of injury, illness and disability increase
    Chronic disease increases
    The impact of weight is greater than age for work-related injuries
    Heavier, older workers with chronic problems may have performance problems at work

Bossen talks about the incredibly fast-rising pace of obesity in the U.S. and its implications. For example, there has been a 64% increase in diabetes patients from 1987 to 2002; there has been a 1,000% increase in obesity-related costs from 1987 to 2002; and the annual health care spending difference between a normal-weight person and an obese one is $1,244.

Being overweight and obesity are known risk factors for:
    Heart disease
    Gallbladder disease
    Sleep apnea and other breathing problems
    Some forms of cancer (uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney)

During his talk, Bossen will discuss data relating obesity to medical costs, workplace injuries and worker's compensation costs. He will also point out the importance of employers intervening to improve worker health.

Bossen has a strong clinical background rooted in the assessment and evaluation of the injured worker. Over the past 15 years he has worked with numerous organizations including, Schneider National, Rockwell Collins, and Cargill, among others, providing organizational solutions in ergonomics, pro-active safety and wellness.

He is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, having served in many roles over the years.  Currently he is the President of the Educational Institute.  He is also a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and Human Factors and Ergonomic Society (HFES).  He has spoken to audiences across the country on ergonomic system solutions, injury prevention and corporate wellness.

Bossen received his undergraduate and Physical Therapy degrees from the University of Iowa. He also received a Masters in Business Administration from Ashland College.

Best practices
A brief "best practices" panel discussion is also being planned for the free June 27 event at the Hotel Winneshiek which is sponsored by Rockwell Collins in Decorah. The panel will feature several Northeast Iowa businesses talking about the things they do to effectively reduce their health-care costs.

The event is free, but WCDI asks that you register by contacting WCDI Director Randy Uhl at or by calling (563) 382-6061.

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