Fewer sick days. Increased productivity. Lower overhead costs. Sounds like an ideal corporate résumé, right?
Actually, these attributes are the results enjoyed by employers that collaborate with health solutions companies such as Health To You (H2U).
“By assessing health statuses (risks and conditions) and engaging employees and their spouses in healthier lifestyle behaviors, employers can engender a workforce and community that are healthier and more productive,” says social psychologist D. Adam Long, PhD, vice president of research and reporting at H2U.
And there is plenty of work for companies like H2U. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), productivity losses related to personal or family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually.
With dollars like that at stake, data-driven strategies that produce results are needed. H2U provides employer wellness services in addition to health care clinics that employers large and small can join to help their members be as healthy as possible.
Long collects data to determine whether or not a wellness intervention is working. Those strategies that have the desired effect continue, while less effective ones are revised and tried again.
For Long, being part of this work fulfills a passion for conducting research and helping people live better. The dollars companies save in the pursuit of this passion are just a bonus.
While earning his doctorate at Vanderbilt University, Long took advantage of the diverse research opportunities available. He studied topics with social and health implications, such as how people’s identification with their environment affects well-being, how attire affects behaviors, and the relationship between intimacy needs and weight concerns.
Soon after graduation, a friend introduced Long to the health care industry, where he translated his methodological skills into individual- and system-level change. The corporate path appealed to him because “government and university research posts seemed to present less career flexibility or advancement potential.”
Today, he manages data warehousing and business intelligence product development; establishes best practices analytic methodologies for evaluating interventions; and participates in strategic decision-making regarding company direction and goals, hiring and mentoring.
In his career, Long has been published in peer-reviewed and trade journals, spoken at national conferences as an industry thought leader, lectured at prominent universities, received additional training in epidemiology at Emory University and CDC, and chaired industry measurement standards and APA dissertation awards committees.
All indications are that Long is just getting started.
Social psychologists are interested in all aspects of personality and social interaction, exploring the influence of interpersonal, intergroup and intragroup relationships on human behavior.
Social psychologists study how a person’s life is shaped by interactions with other people.
Resources to help you pursue a career in psychology
A degree in psychology can lead to a fulfilling career that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Find out what it takes to become a social psychologist
Social psychologists use psychological science to understand how we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world and how this perception affects our choices, behaviors and beliefs.