Since then, editorial review boards of respected research journals in the population and workplace-health fields have called emergency meetings. The boards admitted a need for more diligence in evaluating article submissions, and then improving objective, peer-review standards prior to publication. My phone is ringing off the hook. HA! NOT!!
In fact, the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine (JOEM) just published an article titled, “Does Whale Oil Illuminate Darkness Effectively?” Well, that wasn’t exactly the title. But it was close. It was actually, “Do Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs Work?” The article manages to include most of my eight warning signs for being invalid.
My colleague (defined as another person who knows the lyrics for the great tunes of the 60s and 70s) Jon Robison, PhD (see note below) just asked 13 questions about the JOEM paper of the lead author, which I think should be answered. See Robison’s article “News from The Parallel Universe: Top 13 Questions to ask Dr. Ron Goetzel and company about their newly published article.”
The reference to “the parallel universe” means that the conclusions Goetzel and company came up with have no relation to our known laws of science. The conclusions are not of this earth. In essence, you have to suspend reality to accept Goetzel’s claims. That’s a fair criticism.
Al Lewis, PhD, and Vik Khanna, have been calling Dr. Goetzel on these issues for years. If you haven’t read Lewis and Khanna’s book, “Surviving Workplace Wellness, With Your Dignity, Finances and (Major) Organs Intact,” you should if you’re working in workplace wellness or health promotion. And of course, don’t miss the most in-depth (and sometimes scathing) review of that work, which I bravely posted, “Al Lewis and Vik Khanna criticized me in their new book, Surviving Workplace Wellness. And now my life is over.”
Khanna (once again) took exception to Goetzel’s JOEM paper in his post, “Do Workplace Health Promotion Wellness Programs Work?: Ron Goetzel’s circularity.” Lewis makes a comment on Khanna’s blog opening with the statement, “It might be nice if Mr. Goetzel actually responded for a change.” Indeed.
What You As a Wellness or Health-Promotion Professional Should Do
Often employers and some brokers are unknowingly complicit in allowing these invasive and ineffective wellness programs into workplaces. Workplace wellness as it’s currently practiced is starting to be challenged by mainstream media and the weakness of the concept is becoming more widely understood. See, “Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work? Usually Not,” which just appeared in the New York Times.
And not too long ago I published, “5 Questions That Will Make Your Wellness Vendors Think They’re Having a Bad Nightmare… A Workplace-Wellness Critique.”
Then take a look at the free eBook, “How to Build a Thriving Culture At Work, What’s Science Got to do With It?”
I don’t suggest an anti-wellness movement. But the entire paradigm, our thinking about it, and new solutions are needed. There are a lot of good people out there with better ideas based on common sense and sound science. That’s why I remain optimistic that workplace wellness can transition, change, and evolve into a meaningful and effective way to help people enjoy their careers and to be healthier. But we have to let go of what doesn’t work.
Which reminds me of a popular old quote, “There is no right way to do the wrong thing.”Note: Dr. Jon Robison is a partner at Salveo Partners, LLC. Hope Health is owned by IHAC, Inc., the publishers of Salveo Partners, LLC’s new book “How to Build A Thriving Culture At Work, Featuring The 7 Points of Transformation,” by Dr. Rosie Ward & Dr. Jon Robison. The book is due out in November.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.