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Corporate America and Community Health

Exploring the Business Case for Investment

Pronk, Nicolaas P. PhD; Baase, Catherine MD; Noyce, Jerry MBA; Stevens, Denise E. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 5 - p 493–500
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000431
Original Articles

Objectives: The principal aim of this project was to learn from corporate executives about the most important components of a business case for employer leadership in improving community health.

Methods: We used dialogue sessions to gain insight into this issue.

Results: The strongest elements included metrics and measurement, return on investment, communications, shared values, shared vision, shared definitions, and leadership. Important barriers included lack of understanding, lack of clear strategy, complexity of the problem, trust, lack of resources and leadership, policies and regulations, and leadership philosophy. Substantial variability was observed in the degree of understanding of the relationship between corporate health and community health.

Conclusions: The business case for intentional and strategic corporate investment in community health occurs along a continuum has a set of clearly defined elements that address why investment may make sense, but also asks questions about the “what-to-do” and the “how-to-do-it.”

From the Health Promotion Department (Dr Pronk), HealthPartners; HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research (Dr Pronk), Minneapolis, Minn; Social and Behavioral Sciences (Dr Pronk), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass; The Dow Chemical Company (Dr Baase), Health Services, Employee Development Center, Midland, Mich; Health Enhancement Research Organization (Mr Noyce), Edina, Minn; and MATRIX Public Health Solutions (Dr Stevens), New Haven, Conn.

Address correspondence to: Nicolaas P. Pronk, PhD, Health Promotion Department, HealthPartners, 8100 34th Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55440 (

Authors Pronk, Baase, Noyce, and Stevens have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Funding and in-kind support: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HealthPartners, Inc, and the Health Enhancement Research Organization.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine