Putting Science Back Into Practice: Balancing Rigor and Reality in the Future of Health Promotion


David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, MA

Assistant Executive Director for Organizational Excellence, American Psychological Association

CHES 1.0* | ICHWC 1.0 |CDR 1.0

Today, the importance of healthy workplace is generally accepted and health promotion programs are ubiquitous. Practices once limited to large corporations and their ivory tower collaborators are now accessible to the masses. This has fostered a DIY ethic in employers and provided opportunities for vendors, start-up companies, and an army of consultants with products and services to sell. These seismic changes have blurred boundaries and forged collaborations across disciplines and professions. This evolution also poses the challenge of balancing the need for rigor with practical demands and limitations, reliance on scientific evidence with the desire for innovation, and the academic views of occupational and public health with the market-driven approaches of the fitness and lifestyle industries. This session will look at the future of workplace health promotion, explore fads, fallacies, and failures in current practices, and consider how scientists, practitioners, and employers can work together for the biggest impact.

Presenter Bio(s):

David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, currently serves as assistant executive director for organizational excellence at the American Psychological Association (APA), where he is responsible for providing leadership, direction, evaluation, and management for all activities related to APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, which works to enhance the functioning of individuals, groups, organizations, and communities through the application of psychology to a broad range of workplace issues.

The Center houses APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program (PHWP), a public education initiative designed to engage the employer community, raise public awareness about the value psychology brings to the workplace, and promote programs and policies that enhance employee well-being and organizational performance. The PHWP includes APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and a variety of resources for employers and the psychologists who work with them.

Internally, the Center bridges APA’s business units and provides an overarching strategy for promoting the health and well-being of the association’s own workforce, thereby supporting APA’s functioning and effectiveness. The Center works to assess employee and organizational needs, collaborates with other APA departments on the design, implementation and evaluation of workplace practices including employee involvement, health and wellness, training and development, work-life balance, and employee recognition, and provides consultation to the association’s executive management group regarding workplace programs and policies.

Dr. Ballard has provided research, consultation, and training services to government agencies, corporations, medical schools, and universities in the areas of workplace health and productivity, public health, prevention, and health care finance and has experience in management, marketing, and consumer research. He is currently on the Board of Directors of The Health Project / C. Everett Koop National Health Awards, co-chairs the Work, Stress and Health Conference, an international conference co-sponsored by APA, NIOSH and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology and serves on the Health and Safety Workgroup and Behavioral Health Subcommittee for the National Volunteer Fire Council. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the Health Enhancement Research Organization and the External Advisory Board for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, as well as on workplace advisory bodies for the National Business Group on Health and Partnership for Prevention.

A frequently requested speaker, Dr. Ballard regularly addresses professional audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has been interviewed for print, radio and television by sources including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, FORTUNE and Forbes on topics including work stress, employee health promotion and wellness, work-life balance and flexible work arrangements, employee benefits, leadership, and other business issues. Dr. Ballard is the co-editor, along with Dr. Matthew J. Grawitch, of the book, The Psychologically Healthy Workplace: Building a Win-Win Environment for Organizations and Employees (2016).

Dr. Ballard received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology and his MBA in Health and Medical Services Administration from Widener University, where he completed concentrations in organizational and forensic psychology.

Contact information:
David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA Center for Organizational Excellence 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 phone: 202-336-5900 email: dballard@apa.org