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People speaking on a panel

Enhancing Employer Engagement in Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

minute read

Written by Sarah Levine on September 28, 2022

Type 2 diabetes continues to be a leading chronic disease in the United States, affecting 1 in 10 adults and is a serious issue for employers and employees alike. In response to providing employers with the tools to support employees, Health Links™, a program based at the Center for Health, Work & Environment, has developed and hosted trainings and education forums, provided technical assistance through advising sessions, and performed outreach activities over the past three years to address the negative impact of chronic disease in the workplace.

Diabetes prevention in the workplace

Want to learn more about how you can prevent and manage chronic disease in your workplace? Schedule an advising session today!

Efforts to support employers

The latest effort was an in-person workshop, “Live Healthy, Work Healthy: Preventing and Managing Chronic Disease in the Workplace,” on August 25, 2022 at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Participants representing employers from across Colorado, from Grand 

Junction to Pitkin County to the Denver Metro Area, convened for a two-and-a-half-hour workshop on the impact of chronic disease on the workforce, the business case for addressing chronic disease, creating programming and policies, implementing prevention and management programs (such as the National Diabetes Prevention Program), and developing strategies for communication and engagement. Participants represented a variety of industries from transportation to local government, to healthcare.

The keynote presenter, Dan Bessesen, MD, director of CU Anschutz Health & Wellness Center, offered an informative and engaging presentation on the impact of chronic disease on energy. Bessesen gave an overview of the health and fiscal impact of type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions and set the stage for a panel of employers in the Health Links network.

Employer panel with statewide representation

The employer panel represented individuals from Pitkin County Government, AllHealth Network, and City of Longmont who have experience with chronic disease prevention and management in their workplaces and have adapted the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) as a covered benefit. The employer panel spoke about their personal experience with supporting employees with chronic disease.

Based in different organizations with different worker populations, each shared about their experience collecting data, designing programs, engaging individuals, and creating strategies that fit the unique needs of their workforce. They also spoke about strategies, facilitators, and barriers for implementation and gave data-driven examples that emphasized the business case for the National DPP and chronic disease prevention and management.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the eye opening facts on the epidemic of Diabetes," one participant said. "We actually have a friend who had an amputation which cut his employment short. I think focusing on one thing like the DPP program is important as many of our employees are in that category of Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes.”

Partnerships and reach

Strategic partnerships have been integral to the work to engage and implement chronic disease prevention and management strategies in organizations. To showcase the project’s partners, the Health Links team held a vendor exhibition where representatives of prevention and management programs in the Denver Metro Area and beyond presented their work with chronic disease and type 2 diabetes, engaging diverse populations, and program outcomes and successes.

To date, the project’s activities have provided chronic disease prevention and management education to 400 participants, advised 35 employers representing 136,202 employees, and have reached over 700,000 employees with our Employer Market Assessment and Risk Assessment Tool. Additionally, four Colorado employers representing 4,672 employees have adopted the National DPP as a covered benefit since 2020.

Want to learn more about how you can become a champion and prevent and manage chronic disease in your workplace? Schedule an advising session today!


This work is supported in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.