Approach to the Task

The committee approached its charge by gathering information from existing literature and from workshop presentations by recognized experts (see Appendix B for the workshop agenda), commissioning an analysis of NASA worksite preventive health programs, deliberating on issues relevant to the task, and formulating an approach to address the scope of work. Reports and other data releases, such as the analysis by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), the CAIB’s report, and Healthy People 2010, were included in the committee’s research (Kennedy et al., 1998; CAIB, 2003; USDHHS, 2000). In addition, the committee conducted site visits to six NASA centers. These visits included observations of occupational health-related programs and activities; interviews with leadership, including where possible the center director or associate director; and focus group interviews with employees (see Chapter 2 for site visit summary).

The committee’s recommendations, following the analysis of gathered data and commissioned work, include those interventions that the committee determined would be both feasible and effective in meeting the goal of NASA’s Chief Health and Medical Officer to ensure that employees who join NASA should end their careers healthier than employees in other organizations as a result of their experience with NASA’s occupational and preventive health programs.

Organization of the Report

The report is organized into six chapters that describe NASA as an organization and discuss the role of Occupational Health in NASA and in other organizations, both public and private. The report presents examples of successful preventive health programs “best practices,” as well as strategies for optimizing the preventive health options offered to the NASA workforce. Chapter 2 describes Occupational Health at NASA, including the range of programs and a summary of committee observations from visits to selected centers. Chapter 3 presents a healthy workforce paradigm and makes the case for change based on current best practices at NASA and in other organizations. Chapter 4 describes the elements required for organizing and managing effective workplace wellness programs. Chapter 5 describes the integration of health and wellness in worksite health promotion. Finally, Chapter 6 reviews integrated health data management systems.

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