In the first episode of the John E. Martin Mental Health Care podcast, we feature corporate health and wellbeing coach Newton Cheng. His passion solves business problems for employers who want to provide physical and mental health support to their employees.
As the Global Director of Health and Performance at Google, Newton has been helping businesses create a culture of wellbeing. He emphasized that investing in their employees’ wellbeing generates a greater return on investment than clawing back healthcare claims costs.
Tune in to the next episodes of John E. Martin’s Mental Healthcare Podcast, where you’ll learn how to care for your wellness and overall mental health.
On calling their department Health and Performance
[00:03:45] “We’re called Health and Performance for a very intentional reason. We know there is a really big connection between a person’s health and wellbeing and human performance. There’s always this tension in the workplace between short-term performance and managing your health and wellbeing. And we believe that by combining the science of these two areas, we can help both individuals and organizations be way more successful and thrive in the long run.”
The impact of transitioning wellness offerings from on-site to digital
[00:05:46] “The transition to digital helped us reach people in new ways, but then now there’s a new tension of being always on the screen.
With digital, not only could we reach people through a variety of different programs like talent shows, dance, cooking classes, and we can do that much more flexibly through digital channels, but we can now reach right into your home. So, we hear these awesome stories about not only the Google employee participating, but their son or their spouse or their grandparent, which is something that was just really hard for us to do before was to engage them. And that’s just a wonderful thing. The issue now is we all know the issues around the fatigue of video chat, of being on constant calls all day, and how the number and duration of calls have actually increased.
So, on the one hand, we can do some new really interesting things for your health and wellbeing via digital. On the other hand, we know it’s a really fraught way to deliver services right now because of that fatigue.”
The benefits of investing in caring for the team’s mental health and wellness
[00:09:02] “The bigger opportunity I see is, first, there is a huge body of research where there’s a huge relationship between an organization’s core business strategy and their culture, and how those things support each other and make the business successful.
Over here, we’ve talked about the science of the connection between health and wellbeing and then human performance. And so how by improving someone’s health and wellbeing, you can improve performance across a variety of contexts. That’s the huge ROI I see where if I’m talking about an organization the size of Google, clawing back healthcare claims costs is on the order of millions. If I talk about a percentage performance bump across all the individuals in an organization like Google, that puts us into talking about billions of value.
So, that’s where I feel like the conversation needs to go. There’s a lot of research and connecting the dots that need to be done, but it’s a massive opportunity.”
How do you create a program that encourages diversity and inclusion among the participants?
[00:30:43] “There is a diversity problem where if you look at your practitioners, people of color are just not heavily represented. Some of our team decided that this was a good time to move on because they had geographical flexibility. And so, we had the opportunity to rebuild our team. What looked like was the sourcing of candidates, suddenly there were a lot more people of color. And so, inadvertently because of the pandemic, we had a heavy turnover. Our team shifted from not very many people of color to over half people of color in the Bay Area. That normally would have taken a few years, but it accelerated because of the pandemic. And I think the outcome is going to be really positive for our community.”
Meet Our Hosts:
Corrine Marquardt is a 5th semester MBA/MPH candidate at UC Berkeley. While at Berkeley, she focused on mental health and health technology while exploring a career in product management. Prior to Haas, Corrine worked in management consulting with Deloitte, working with the FDA as her primary client. She worked on a variety of FDA projects, including work on a multi-tool platform to improve drug review processes, establishing evaluation processes for updating oncology drug labels, and strategic visioning for new FDA processes for reviewing software-based medical devices.
While at Haas, Corrine was a VP of Careers for the Haas Healthcare Association and Co-lead for the 2021 Haas Healthcare Conference. She additionally led student planning efforts for the first year of the John E. Martin Mental Health case competition in Fall 2020. Inspired by the mental health experiences shared during this competition, Corrine has spent the last year pursuing research and work experience opportunities in the mental health space. Most recently, she worked as a Product Intern with Lyra Health and will be returning to Lyra after graduation as a Product Manager on Lyra’s provider solutions.
Elle Wisnicki is a 2nd year MBA Student at UC Berkeley Haas. She is focusing in mental health technology solutions and exploring a career in user experience research and design. Elle has worked on mobile apps for first-generation students and is working on health navigation tools for patients and with limited English proficiency and their families. She has also worked on peer-to-peer mental health solutions, crisis response, and in foster care. She has focused on health insurance reimbursement and mental health/wellness as employer-benefits. She is also a Martin Mental Health Fellow.
Elle is passionate about promoting work-life balance options for herself and others. She is happiest in nature and with animals and hopes to create wellness retreat programming some day.
Prior to Haas, Elle worked in management consulting for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, focused on a diversity of project types in therapy areas that include sickle cell disease, reproductive health, and more. She also worked as a Mental Wellness Coach for a text-based mental health startup called Sibly. While attending Columbia University for undergrad she interned at Planned Parenthood where she championed telehealth solutions for patients, policy change, and recruiting patient advocates.