5 Ways HR Teams Can Celebrate World Health Day

World Health Day, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other related organizations, celebrates a day of global health awareness. It’s one of 11 official global health campaigns marked by the WHO, along with events like World Immunization Week, World No Tobacco Day, World Blood Donor Day, and more. Each year on May 7, World Health Day recognizes a specific theme that focuses on a particular lens of public health — past themes have included  “Mental health: stop exclusion, dare to care” in 2001 and “protecting health from the adverse events of climate change” in 2008, to name a few.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has given all of us a crash course in threats to global health, World Health Day 2021 has a more uplifting focus. The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “building a fairer, healthier world.” 

COVID-19 has only highlighted the extreme inequalities that exist in our healthcare systems, not just in the U.S., but across the globe. The WHO wants this year’s theme to recognize that these discrepancies in care are not only unfair, but also preventable. 

They’re urging world leaders to:

  • Coordinate partnerships between communities and government to get to the root causes of inequities and find solutions
  • Collect reliable health data to assess inequities across population subgroups
  • Increase investment in primary care
  • Act beyond our own borders when it comes to assuring an equitable supply of vaccines, tests, and treatments to end the COVID-19 pandemic 

While the WHO and various world governments are tasked with the logistics of ensuring true global health equity, what can People Teams do to recognize Global Health Day this year?

two doctors wearing PPE

Here’s some tips for how to promote more equity in our own organizations: 

  1. Host a mini book club that facilitates discussion about what COVID-19 has taught us about global health care inequities. Have your team read this presentation and follow up with a meeting invite for your team to discuss what they’ve learned. 

  2. Recognize the work your team has done in the last year. “Employers should take a deep look at the sacrifices employees made for their companies to be able to support the shifts caused by the pandemic, whether they worked 10x harder to build new products or services or pushed boundaries to learn new things very quickly,” said Nyala Khan, Eden’s Head of Talent. “Appreciate their value to return the ‘wealth’ in the form of ‘health’ — offer alternate ways to give breaks, space, and time to decompress and recharge.”

  3. Use the day as an excuse to hold a Q&A or lunchtime meeting about what healthcare benefits are available to employees. Make sure to highlight benefits that might be really beneficial but underutilized — think: credits for virtual exercise studios or discounts they can take advantage of. 

  4. Send a small gift to virtual employees. If you’ve got leftover budget from all the team building events you couldn’t host over the last year, consider using it to send a gift that promotes good health — a company-branded water bottle, gift cards to a local salad spot, or online credits to a digital workout platform will help your employees practice healthy habits in their own lives. 

  5. Announce a fitness challenge that the whole company can participate in. For example, Eden has started a “Strava Club” that lets interested employees work toward a self-created goal alongside their coworkers. Whether you’re challenging your team to go on a walk once a day for a break or do a socially distanced group run, it’s a great way to foster culture in a remote landscape and get your employees moving. 

For more information on prioritizing your employees’ health, download our free eBook on Integrated 360 Care.

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