Program Management Support and Wellness Initiatives



On May 12, 2009, President Obama met with CEOs from several major corporations to discuss their initiatives to improve employee health and reduce healthcare costs through work site wellness and other initiatives. Following this meeting, President Obama requested that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), National Economic Council (NEC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explore the development of similar programs for the federal workforce.

Customer Challenges:

OPM, OMB, NEC and HHS proposed a five-part initiative that includes:

  • Creating a culture of wellness for federal employees through the activities of the President and agency heads;
  • Developing prototype health and wellness programs at three locations to serve as models for comprehensive work site wellness programs to be rolled out across federal work sites;
  • Improving nutrition and fitness facilities in federal buildings by expanding farmer's markets, altering cafeteria contracts to support more nutritional options, and improving access to a variety of fitness opportunities;
  • Modernizing the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program to ensure consistency with the President's health reform goals, including prevention, wellness, and cost reduction; and,
  • Creating agency and individual employee incentives to promote health and wellness.


The first phase of implementation, a prototype program called WellnessWorks, was implemented at the Washington, DC campus for the Department of Interior, General Services Administration (GSA), and OPM. The Center for Organizational Excellence, Inc. (COE) worked with all three agencies as the Program Management Office (PMO) to implement the program. In addition, COE collaborated with Healthways, the wellness service provider, and HumRRO, the evaluation contractor, to ensure their activities were coordinated and working in concert toward achieving the goals of the program. In addition to running the PMO, COE provided expert consultation on change management and communications, wellness, and program evaluation.

Day-to-day operations of the COE PMO included:

  • Facilitating meetings;
  • Providing capabilities to assist with knowledge management;
  • Designing and organizing the online project portal;
  • Keeping the project on-track by maintaining action items and holding project team members to commitments;
  • Providing leadership on organizing standing groups and subcommittees;
  • Facilitating the accomplishments of standing group and subcommittee tasks; and
  • Serving as an interface between all contractors to ensure all moving parts are coordinated.


COE began its PMO operations by assessing the current state of the project and developing a road map to assist the client in achieving the desired end-state. The first major initiative was to move the government team from a meeting/organizing body to a decision-making body. COE accomplished this by developing a draft charter and governance structure and facilitating the process of integrating the new operating procedures into the team. The result has been accomplishing tasks that had previously lingered for six or more months and moving the project forward on-schedule.

WellnessWorks was successfully launched on September 29, 2011 and continues to support federal employee health and wellness today.