The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

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161: Living the Good Life with Melanie Cumbee, Top U.S. Health Promotion Professional

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As new health science continues to emerge, it’s imperative that we as wellness professionals allow our ideas and efforts to shift and change along with it. Today’s guest, Melanie Cumbee, has learned to embrace these changes with open arms throughout her 25 years in the wellness industry – encouraging moves away from biometrics and premium incentives toward an employee-centered wellness model that has caught the attention of WELCOA.

For the last 11 years, Melanie has led and developed the Good Life employee wellness program for MemorialCare Health Systems, which boasts an inspiring 75% participation among their 11,000 employees. Her passion for creating cultures that inspire and empower others to embrace their personal path to wellbeing, along with her excitement and willingness to implement emerging science into her programs, resulted in Melanie receiving the honor of being named WELCOA’s 2019 Top Health Promotion Professional in the US.

In today’s podcast, Melanie shares her journey as a wellness professional and how she got her start. She explores some strategies she’s used to encourage employees to prioritize self-care as well as her experiences partnering with other departments in order to enhance and expand a wellness program.

Melanie discusses some wellness industry practices she’s left behind, like biometric screenings, and others she’s altered to better work towards comprehensive wellness, like premium-based incentives. Finally, Melanie shares what keeps her going and engaged in her field of work, and her biggest tip for building culture change.

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [8:25] Melanie’s start in the wellness industry
  • [19:25] How do you help employees prioritize self-care?
  • [23:12] Partnering with other departments to bring the Good Life to employees
  • [25:30] Why Melanie no longer believes in biometric screenings
  • [31:18] Current struggles for the Good Life
  • [33:07] The low down on incentives, and how the Good Life uses them successfully
  • [42:00] What keeps Melanie dedicated to the wellness field
  • [45:07] Melanie’s biggest tip
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

With twenty-five years of experience in health education and worksite wellness, Melanie thrives on creating cultures that inspire and empower others to embrace their personal path to well-being.  For the last 11 years, Melanie has led The Good Life employee wellness program at MemorialCare, officially launching the program in 2008, and standardizing the program system-wide for 11.000 employees in 2010. In 2012, she helped to design and implement MemorialCare’s unique and award-winning onsite lifestyle coaching program, The Good Life In Balance. 

She holds a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is a certified wellness practitioner, trained wellness coach through the American College of Sports and Medicine affiliate Wellcoaches and is also certified in Facilitative Leadership and Emotional Intelligence.  And most recently, Melanie received the honor of being named WELCOA’s 2019 Top Health Promotion Professional in the US.

Wellness Professionals

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