The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

252: [Rebroadcast] A Past Interview with Wellness Legend Dee Edington

Dee Edington-bio-pic

Dee Edington was a pillar of the wellness community and passed away on June 21, 2022. You can learn more about Dee here.

In this 2016 conversation, Dee and I talk about:

  • How one question inspired the book “Shared Values, Shared Results”.
  • Why a framework is needed to be built into the business, not just benefits.
  • Helping people live to their best quality of life and to their highest level of performance.
  • Why we shouldn’t walk away from the word “wellness”.

Dee also makes insightful comments about culture and how there’s only one culture in an organization. The questions becomes “is health a part of that culture or not?”. Ultimately, everything that happens in an organization affects the wellness of people.

We need to help CEO’s see the connection between positive organizational health and the business. Dee thinks short term outcomes are much better to focus on than lagging indicators, such as healthcare cost containment.

Dee makes a great point about asking the question “what is the best thing we’re doing around here to do our best work?”. In other words, ask for the positive things first.

What can you do if senior leadership is not bought into the concept of wellness? The #1 rule is don’t assume you know what the CEO wants. He imparts more wisdom around this subject that I personally found helpful.

Dee also addresses:

  • The value of caring
  • Are biometric screenings worth it?
  • Why financial incentives discriminate against the lowest paid people in the organization.
  • Infighting among wellness professionals

Finally, Dee grants me permission to forgive myself for past wellness mistakes and talks about incorporating gratitude as part of wellness.

Full Bio

Dee Edington, Ph.D was the Founder and Chairman of Edington Associates, LLC. He was the Founder and Professor of the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center and was the Director of the Center until June 2011. In addition to his research and teaching, Dr. Edington spent 25 years in academic administration. Trained in mathematics, kinesiology, and biochemistry, Dr. Edington received his B.S and Ph.D degrees from Michigan State University and completed his M.S. at Florida State University.

He did post-doctoral work at the University of Toronto and taught at the University of Massachusetts before coming to Michigan in 1976. Dr. Edington’s research focuses on the precursors of disease and vitality. His interest was in the relationships between healthy lifestyles, vitality, and quality of life, as they benefit both individuals and organizations. He was specifically interested in how individual health management, worksite wellness activities, and programs within organizations impact health care cost containment, productivity, and human resource development. He was the author or co-author of over 1,000 articles, presentations, and several books, including:

  • Biology of Physical Activity
  • Biological Awareness Frontiers of Exercise Biology
  • The One Minute Manager Balances Work and Life
  • Frontiers of Exercise Biology
  • Integrating Employee Health: A Model Program for NASA
  • Employer Health Asset Management
  • Zero Trends: Health as a Serious Economic Strategy
  • Shared Values-Shared Results: Positive Organizational Health as a Win-Win Philosophy

Dr. Edington brought nearly 40 years of expertise to Edington Associates and provided a creative learning environment to help organizations move towards achieving a Champion Company status.