Sharada Shantharam presents research study to support evidence-informed health promotion laws.

What Components of State Workplace Health Promotion Laws Align with Evidence?

Research Report

Sharada Shantharam, MPH

ORISE Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Colleen Barbero, PhD, MPPA

Interdisciplinary Health Scientist/Behavioral Scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

John Chapel, BS

ORISE Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jennifer VanderVeur, JD

IHRC Health Scientist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


AAFP 1.0 | ACSM 1.0 | CDR 1.0 | NCHEC 1.0

Emergent public health policies often lack evidence. The CDC developed the Quality and Impact of Component (QuIC) evidence assessment methodology to support implementation of evidence-based public health interventions at the state level. This study evaluated state workplace health promotion (WHP) laws.
Study design: Integrative literature review of program studies and expert opinion published 2006-2015 on state WHP law components.
Measures utilized: Evidence for potential public health impact was assessed for effectiveness, efficiency, equity, reach, and transferability. Quality was evaluated for evidence type, publication source, and research- and practice-based contexts.
Analysis method: Researchers coded evidence strength and quality to categorize 21 components.
Results: By July 2016, 36 states had law addressing at least one component aligned with “best” evidence.1 Thirteen components aligned with “best” evidence, four with “promising,” and four with “emerging.”
Conclusion: This research offers policymakers an expedited approach to assessing a broad base of evidence to inform decision-making. Future research should assess the impact of WHP laws.

Most states have enacted law to support WHP programs, but whether these laws align with evidence is unknown. This study used best available evidence in a novel way to help address gaps in the current WHP policy literature and support the implementation of evidence-informed policy strategies.


Presenter Bio(s):

Sharada Shantharam received a Master’s in Public Health in 2015 from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently an ORISE Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She works in the Applied Research and Evaluation Branch at the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Her main interests lie in cardiovascular disease prevention and workplace health promotion.

She serves as the division’s representative and subject matter expert for heart disease and stroke prevention on the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Worksite Wellness Workgroup. Sharada has worked with Dr. Colleen Barbero and ORISE Fellow John Chapel to complete an evidence assessment for workplace health promotion laws.


Dr. Colleen Barbero received her PhD in Public Policy Analysis from St. Louis University in May 2015. Since 2011 she has worked as a contractor, service fellow, and now a health and behavioral scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. From 2010-2015 she also worked as a public health program evaluator at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Barbero led the development of the QuIC method for CDC, and since 2014 has worked with ORISE fellows Sharada Shantharam and John Chapel to define and assess the evidence base for state workplace health promotion laws.


John Chapel received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Tulane University in May 2015. He currently works as an ORISE Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in the Applied Research and Evaluation Branch. John’s primary area of focus is on economics and chronic disease. For the past year, John has worked with Dr. Colleen Barbero and ORISE Fellow Sharada Shantharam to use the QuIC methodology to complete an evidence assessment for workplace health promotion laws in the US.


Jennifer VanderVeur received her Juris Doctor from New England School of Law in May 2011. She has worked as an ORISE Fellow, then as an IHRC contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2012, with a primary focus on analyzing health law policy. She has worked on worksite health promotion program research and legal policy analysis for over three years.