Session Descriptions

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Opening Remarks and Award Presentation

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm

A Comprehensive Approach to Workforce Behavioral Risk Management

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Employers are expected to maintain a safe work environment, while continuing to accommodate employee needs, develop supportive and inclusive work environments, and adhere to legal-employment regulations. Most employers do not utilize various assessment and screening protocols to identify behavioral risks. In a recent study of Fortune 1000 employers with internal security departments, 70% did not have a comprehensive workplace violence plan in place. Even among employers which utilize occasional behavioral assessments (such as Fitness for Duty evaluations), most lack a comprehensive approach that employ behavioral risk management tools to mitigate risk during an employee’s tenure. This presentation provides a high-level model for conceptualizing a range of assessment protocols and interventions to mitigate such risks, including: Pre-Employment Psychological screening; Fitness for Duty evaluations; Fitness for Duty with Violence Screen evaluations; Threat Management consultations; FMLA 2nd Opinion evaluations; Post-Termination Risk consultations; and Disruptive Event Management. When implemented together, this comprehensive model offers employers and EAPs a powerful and effective approach to mitigate behavioral risk at various levels of an organization.

Speakers: George Vergolias, Medical Director, R3 Continuum

Mending the Organization: Addressing the Impaired Professional

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Research findings report physicians to have a 50% increase in deaths from suicide than the general population. Executive suicide is on the rise as well.  And, yet, these high-level executives are nearly unapproachable by the EAPs that serve their organizations.  EAPs are hired to help all employees, not just those on the ground floor.  There are unique problems in reaching this group of top-level executives that fall outside the boundaries of approach by status and ranking in the workplace.  How do we reach them?  Do they need special treatment? Are they beyond our reach? The 1% earners, the CEOs, Surgeons, Attorneys: these people represent the heart of our organizations.  Their impact reaches the entire body of an organization, effecting hundreds of lives each day.  The anger, impaired relationships and disorganized thinking at the top, will trickle down throughout the body of the organization infected. This requires unique assessment and intervention skills, which will become the heart of this presentation.  This session will include lecture, with a co-presenter, who has worked with physician firms throughout the country followed by a panel discussion with two interventionists who have realized excellent outcomes working with the 1% earners and other hard to reach populations.

Speakers: Linda Fensler, MS, CEAP, FLEXIBLE EA Services, LLC

Steve Davis, MS, Assistant Vice President, NorthBay Medical Center

Kevin Dixon, CIP, CNDAI, CMAC, Addiction and Mental Health Intervention Specialist

Artificial Intelligence: Delivering Evidence-based Support On-Demand

4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Mental illness has personal, professional, and economic impacts with research showing that 6.8% of the workforce is directly impacted by depression and $11,936 is lost annually on average per depressed employee due to absenteeism, disability and presenteeism (Greenberg et al., 2015). Access to mental health care for those in need is hindered by numerous barriers such as location, availability, cost, and arguably the biggest hurdle of all, stigma. Studies reveal that computer-assisted therapy (CAT) and other digital solutions such as chatbots offer a more accessible and cost-effective alternative for treating common mental health concerns like depression and anxiety (Fulmer et al., 2018). Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbots such as Tess offer a scalable solution as the demand for affordable, convenient, lasting, and secure support grows. Tess, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mental Health Chatbot that engages in text message conversations to coach people through tough times. Tess allows people to build resilience in comparable ways that a therapist would. In fact, large employers and EA programs have given over 4 million employees paid access to Tess. This session will explain how AI chatbots can reach high engagement rates (10%) without driving up costs and deliver a high-quality service. Presentation will introduce Tess, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mental Health Chatbot. Rauws will present case studies and share outcomes on EA providers who have implemented Tess in the last year.

Speakers: Michiel Rauws, CEO & Founder, X2 AI, Inc.

Stephen Leider, SVP of Sales, X2 AI, Inc.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Opening Remarks and Award Presentation

8:30 am – 8:45 am

Keynote Presentation: OF TWO MINDS: Workplace Mental Health in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

8:45 am – 9:45 am

The world is crossing an historic bridge spanning human and artificial intelligence – two minds, one human, one not. Can we keep them both healthy? That is unclear. In his high-octane style, Dr. Bill Wilkerson, executive chairman of Mental Health International, and professor of International Mental Health at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, will present some clarity on the subject.

The advent of AI on the level foreseen by informed, supportive and apprehensive sources relates to the scale of job displacement and fundamental changes to the world of work and types of jobs, thus driving a new generation of chronic job stress at a time when 20% of the US population is symptomatic with major mental illnesses each year, and 50% across the lifetime. He will call for a ‘partnership of the ages’ among employers as AI technology users, AI technology developers and advocates, governments as users, funders and policy-makers and a consortium of leaders in the health, brain, genetic, economic, social and psychological sciences – as an integrated/unified form of research, innovation, standards, leadership and advocacy to channel AI into a beneficial stream for workforces and society more broadly as we adjust to these imminent new realities.

Speaker: Bill Wilkerson Executive Chairman, Mental Health International

Two Experiences in Changing Corporate Culture

10:15 – 11:45 am

Experience I. Kaiser Permanente has trained over 5,000 Marketing, Sales, Service & Administration staff in Mental Health First Aid at Work with 200 classes across multiple states in just under a year. In an initiative launched by our EVP, Dr. Arthur Southam, we aimed to educate all non-represented staff on the most common mental health illnesses in the country and equip them with the tools to help those in their lives that may be impacted by these illnesses. Using a pre, post, and 3-month follow-up to evaluate our outcomes, we’ve seen decreases in stigma as well as increases in knowledge and confidence in helping others. We’ve also seen a high application rate with most people using what was taught to them almost immediately. Throughout our presentation, we will cover what led to the program’s success, how it was launched, supported, staffed, communicated and evaluated, the key outputs for each workstream will be outlined, how we collaborated with our EAP program, and all our findings will be discussed, as well as our strategy for Year 2+. We aim to show how partnering with learning professionals and using a validated training program can maximize organizational efforts around stigma reduction in the workplace.

Experience II. Recovery Corporation of America has trained more than 1100 staff members as part of a corporate-wide initiative to put trauma-informed care center stage. Research has for years linked the comorbidity of trauma and addiction. With ongoing research demonstrating the need for treatment facilities to address both addiction and trauma, RCA has committed to trauma-informed care at six current and all future sites. A key factor in creating a trauma-informed workforce is that all staff at all levels and in all departments need to understand how to work with trauma survivors, so the environment is safe. To that end, each staff member participates in the treatment of trauma-impacted individuals. Sustaining organizational change to becoming a trauma-informed system requires programs to be both thoughtful and creative about how to thoroughly integrate trauma-informed principles and practices into the culture of the organization. For programs who have instituted trauma-informed practices, research demonstrates: Trauma-informed service settings, with trauma-specific services available, have better outcomes than ‘treatment as usual’ for many symptoms; Trauma-informed, integrated services are cost-effective; Qualitative results indicate that consumers respond well to TIC, and TIC …lead to better outcomes, such as better self-esteem, improved relationships, and increased safety. Throughout the presentation, I will cover the key components of creating a trauma-informed agency, strategies to begin the implementation of trauma-informed care, and finally, we will discuss how organizations can maximize efforts in working collaboratively with a trauma impacted community.

Speakers: Marcos Guevara, MS, Senior Learning & Evaluation Consultant, Kaiser Permanente

Trish Caldwell, MFT, LPC, CCDP-D, CAADC, CCTP, Director of PA Family Services, Recovery Centers of America

Panel Discussion

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Information Coming Soon

Change to A New Approach for Individual Work Engagement – General Session

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The current work engagement paradigm is largely ineffective, struggling to see the trees for the forest. The field’s primary focus is on evaluating the engagement of the workforce as a whole ignores the granularity of the engagement of individual employees. This is particularly surprising and somewhat paradoxical since analysis starts with evaluating the engagement of the workforce by surveying individual employees. It then focuses on estimating sentiments and concerns of the workforce by aggregating those survey results (Lee, 2018). It is reported that consulting expenses in the US for work engagement is approximately $1.5 billion annually (Galagan, 2015). Despite this level of financial expenditure, estimates of the percentages of employees functioning at full productive engagement have been stuck at approximately thirty percent since the 2000s. Maylett and Warner’s (2014) publication of personal work engagement is a step in the direction. However, their findings lack addressing what methods are successful in motivating employees to accept more accountability in increasing their work engagement. Based on reinforcement theory, learning theory and cognitive behavioral techniques, we have developed a psychological method for training employees on what and how they can increase and maintain their own personal work engagement. We also contend that personal work engagement training integrates well with the outcomes assessment results from the Workplace Outcome (WOS; Lennox, Sharar, Schmitz, & Goehner, 2010) developed with Chestnut Global Partners. We present change-score data from the pooled WOS dataset of 25000 paired cases to support our claim that EAP-like interventions can improve work engagement scores.

Speaker: Dr. Richard Lennox, CEO and Founder, WorkMatters

Friday, May 10, 2019

 Opening Remarks and Award Presentation

8:30 am – 8:45 am

I’m Rubber & You’re Glue:  Developing Resiliency to Mitigate Health Risks

8:45 am – 9:45 am

Much has been learned about the risk and protective factors for the development of mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. Military, nursing and disaster research has examined resilience as a key factor in mitigating the impact of stressors on overall health and wellness. This presentation will assert that resiliency can, in fact, be cultivated and mental illnesses can be prevented.  A review of risk and protective factors will be presented, and we will examine how stress links with psychiatric illnesses through biological mechanisms. Holistic health practices will be discussed as a key to everything via reduction in inflammation and HPA overdrive. Triggers of inflammation that need to be avoided to bolster resilience and reduce risk of illness will be described. Finally, warning signs will be identified along with early interventions that may help develop resilience and fortitude.

Speaker: Ray Kotwicki, MD, MPH, Charles B. West Chief Medical Officer, Skyland Trail

Changing Crisis Managers’ View of EAPs: Assignment to Inclusion

10:45 am – 11:45 am

This presentation will seek to provide insights into the decision-making process by organizational executives during crisis events from multiple perspectives. In doing so, participants will gain an understanding of the traditional value placed on EAPs throughout the crisis management process and why it can be damaging to the overall response.  Finally, the connection points EAPs can use to enhance both the response and assist the executive team will be identified.  The goal is to drive increased engagement by establishing more connections for EAPs to the executive level of the organization during a crisis.

Speakers: Hart Brown, CORP, CBCP, CLCS, CEH, LPQ, Senior Vice President, R3 Continuum

Jeff Gorter, MSW, LMSW, Clinical Director and EAP Relations, R3 Continuum

Measuring Outcomes of Workplace Trauma Response

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Worksite Critical Incident Response (CIR) is a highly prevalent approach used by EAPs through the world. CIR is arguably a specialty within the EA profession, aimed at helping affected employees cope with a disruptive workplace event or return to their pre-event level of functioning at work. Despite the high visibility nature of CIR, there is no accepted measurement tool or approach to evaluate the effectiveness or outcomes of EAP-based CIR interventions, due in large part to the lack of an applied measurement tool and program evaluation methodology. This presentation will provide an overview of the newly validated CIR measurement tool, an extension of the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) and review how to incorporate the tool as part of your business practice. We will share early results from the pilot sample, lessons learned from the tool’s implementation, and detail next steps for those interested in using this tool. The presenters will encourage questions and audience input.

Speakers: Paul Wittes, MSW, Director, Global Partners, Trauma, Privacy, Morneau Shepell

Barbara Veder, MSW, RSW, Vice President Global Clinical Services, Research Lead and Chief Clinician, Morneau Shepell

Closing Session

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm

Information Coming Soon

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