Wellness Champions – The Secret Ingredients in your Wellness Sauce

Panel Discussion

Marilyn Wolff panel Wellness Champions

Moderator: Marilyn Wolff, PhD, MPH

Health Scientist; Prevention and Evaluation Coordinator, Centers for Disease Control; WorkLife Wellness Office

LCDR Desiree Brown, MPH, CHES®

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Anne Maitland Wawrzyniak, CHES®, CWP

Health Education Specialist, Department of Defense


MCHES® – 1.0 | ICHWC – 1.0


Embedding a Wellness Champion Program into an organization shows that a healthy workforce is a core value. Wellness Champions are an essential component to integrating health and wellness into an organization’s culture, increasing awareness of wellness opportunities, and optimizing wellness needs to maintain a healthy workforce. Developing a Wellness Champion Program allows organizations to actively promote and engage their employees in tailored health and wellness activities. Creating such a program requires leadership buy-in, careful selection of passionate employees for specific roles, adequate training, defined responsibilities, and the gathering of meaningful metrics for program evaluation. Two government agencies—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense—will share best practices, lessons learned, and how they evaluate their existing programs. This information may help other organizations cultivate their own Wellness Champion Programs and promote a wellness culture within their workplaces.


Presenter Bio(s):

LCDR Desireé Brown
LCDR Desireé Brown, a Commissioned Corps Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, is a Health Scientist stationed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She serves as a Worksite Wellness Specialist within CDC’s WorkLife Wellness Office (WWO). Her work focuses on ensuring that CDC staff have access to comprehensive wellness programs that support wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle. LCDR Brown leads CDC’s Wellness Liaison Network of volunteers, leveraging their talents, skills, and interests to expand the reach and implementation of wellness throughout CDC. She also serves as the Active Environments Coordinator for CDC, tracking and recommending improvements to the physical work environment that supports wellness and healthy choices. With a Master of Public Health from Emory University, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from North Carolina A&T State University, and certifications as a Health Education Specialist, Worksite Wellness Specialist, and Health and Wellness Coach, Desireé has committed her career to protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and wellbeing of the people she serves.


Marilyn Wolff
Marilyn Wolff is a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Evaluation Coordinator with the WorkLife Wellness Office (WWO). She develops and tracks key performance measures for program improvement. Previously, Marilyn was an Evaluator with the Division of Diabetes Translation and provided technical assistance to state grantees on their evaluation activities and strategic plans. She has also worked in CDC’s Division of Adult and Community Health (DACH) and Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) where she led the development of translation and dissemination products and DNPAO’s Community Guide recommendations in the worksite, community, and health care settings. Prior to coming to CDC, she worked for Virginia’s Office of the Governor on a wide range of policy issues. Marilyn has a BS and an MPH from Virginia Commonwealth University. She recently graduated with a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia College of Public Health.