July 17, 2014

After 40 years, a woman will lead the National Wellness Institute (NWI). Meg Jordan, Integrative Health Studies Program Chair, will share the top spot with John Munson as co-Presidents.

Jordan's appointment addresses the critical need to address wellness and preventive health strategies in every sector of society.

"Since the Institute's onset, there has been a sort of founding ‘brotherhood' that generated key leaders in the field, such as Bill Hettler," Jordan said. "Later the baton passed to male leaders in workplace wellness, such as Bill Baun, current Past President."

Jordan believes that the sharing of power is a very feminine idea-and ultimately practical for the organization as it continues to grow. Now more than 65% of the health promotion and wellness employment opportunities are held by women, Jordan says.

A Certified Wellness Practitioner, Jordan holds a doctorate, is an RN-in addition to her faculty duties at CIIS. The Integrative Health Studies program is one of the first in the United States to offer a certificate in health coaching and wellness management, and a certificate in guided imagery.

In 2011, the program received the Academic Excellence award from NWI.

In addition, the early days of the wellness movement were largely focused on running, aerobics, fitness, and healthy diets. "Today, the research on wellness has brought a laser focus on halting the rising rates of chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity and certain cancers, Jordan says. "Wellness is now heard in every community agency and corporate boardroom. It's about the quality of our lives, not just overall health. Wellness includes a sense of meaning and purpose, support and belonging, and ecological well-being."

The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Jordan asserts, has exponentially increased wellness programs in the U.S. "With Section 2705 of the Act, employers are now charged to lower health plan premiums or provide financial incentives to employees to achieve health goals or participate in health promotion programs." Such programs include weight management, tobacco cessation, nutritional interventions, hypertension reduction, physical exercise, back care and injury prevention, and consumer health education.

NWI is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The NWI Annual Conference supports health professionals with more than 100 presentations and keynote speakers, and by identifying quality resources, promoting quality education, and providing key certifications in workplace wellness, and advancing initiatives that promote health and wellness in the U.S. and internationally. The conference, which moved to Minneapolis in June, will be held in the same location in June 2015.

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