Programs Motivate Workers to Participate In Worksite Screening, Marrow Registry

June 1, 1995

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The key to motivating employees to participate in worksite screening programs is simply to provide good quality health care, while ensuring confidentially and easy accessibility, Philip Passalaqua, MD, said at the second annual Industries' Coalition Against Cancer conference. These methods worked at Schering-Plough where Dr. Passalaqua is vice-president and medical director, Employee Health Services.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The key to motivating employees to participatein worksite screening programs is simply to provide good qualityhealth care, while ensuring confidentially and easy accessibility,Philip Passalaqua, MD, said at the second annual Industries' CoalitionAgainst Cancer conference. These methods worked at Schering-Ploughwhere Dr. Passalaqua is vice-president and medical director, EmployeeHealth Services.

"We didn't limit our activities to work-related injuriesor illness, and we're continuing to move into the primary carearena," he said. He wants workers to come to think of thecompany's medical personnel as simply doctors, nurses, and technicians,"without the word 'company' before each of these designations."

At AlliedSignal Corporation, Morristown, NJ, workers are pulledinto the company's wellness program using videos, flyers, E-mail,newsletters, one-on-one counseling, and group workshops, saidChristine Haskins, program manager, Employee Health Promotionand Fitness. Employees are encouraged to take responsibility fortheir health. "As much as you can coach and counsel, it'sreally got to come from them," she said.

Workers Donate Bone Marrow

Workers at The Williams Companies, Tulsa, were motivated to registerfor the National Bone Marrow Registry, once they were educatedabout the program and barriers to access were removed, said ChrisBousum, MA, manager, Employee Health and Fitness. The companyfooted the bill for tissue typing and arranged for typing to bedone on site, but in the first year only 36 people were typed,resulting in one transplantation.

Participation increased significantly in 1994 after some modifications:First, in its communications, the company began referring to theprocedure simply as "typing," eliminating the word "tissue,"because people thought the testing involved taking tissue samplesrather than simply giving blood. Second, the company used theexperience of the first donor to generate interest, and third,minorities, including Native Americans, were targeted with specialcommunications about the need for minority donors.

Two employees who registered and were eventually selected to donatebone marrow also spoke at the Coalition meeting, expressing theirpersonal gratification at being given the opportunity to helpsave a life.

"Without the program, I would never have taken the time ormoney to be tested," said one donor, whose marrow went toa European leukemia patients who is doing well 1 year after thetransplant.

Motivating Men

Motivating men to take part in cancer screening is the challengefaced by Kenneth Goldberg, MD, of the Male Health Center, Dallas.Men make 130 million fewer visits to a doctor each year than dowomen, he said.

Dr. Goldberg founded the Male Health Center in 1988 on the principleof treating the "whole man." The physicians attemptto optimize each visit to the center. For example, 95% of thevasectomies done at the center are in men under the age of 40,and the most common solid cancer in that age group is testicularcancer, so the vasectomy patients are also taught how to do atesticular self-exam.

Similarly, men with impotence, who tend to be in their 50s and60s, are also counseled about hypertension, cholesterol, obesity,and the need to exercise. "I tell them, I can help you geterections, but you're not going to be around to enjoy them ifyou don't take care of these other problems."

Dr. Goldberg has developed a portable cancer screening programfor men, in which he takes his own exam table and room dividersdirectly to worksites. Workers fill out a questionnaire, provideurine for analysis, including PSA if age appropriate, and thenmeet with a health educator for a one-on-one conference.

The educator uses a flip book to review the male cancers and self-testsfor testicular, oral, breast, and skin cancers. The tests arealso summarized on a shower card that is distributed. A follow-upletter provides test results and advises the man to seek appropriatefollow-up.