By: Chuck Gillespie, CEO

National Wellness Institute has spent decades advocating for the competencies of wellness. As we finalize the peer review and analysis of our wellness competency research, it is only fitting to begin sharing the observations.  These observations may be “simple” aspects to digest because we have gone deep with our study, but to accomplish them will demand good training, a support network, a lot of focus on leading the change, and an outstanding communication plan.  It is not going to be easy.

This is the third article of a five-part series where I will provide a thought statement that seeks to help trigger practical, skilled, meaningful, and capable approaches you must consider, as you seek to deliver a high-level wellness strategy at work, at home, in your community, with your customers, or for yourself.

Last month we began the conversation with “What is More Important, the Program or the Message?” You can find that article here.

Let’s add to the conversations with this statement: High-Level Wellness initiatives must follow legal and ethical principles.

Legal standards are based on written law, while ethical standards are based on human rights and wrongs. Development of any high-level wellness initiative must consider both the legal and ethical principles when putting together programming, expectations, and desired outcomes. Consider adding codes of conduct, compliance standards, and alternative opportunities during the planning stage so you are not reacting. You must follow the laws that govern the work you do, but any good wellness initiative must also concern itself with what is the right way to go about your strategies and programming.

Both the legal and ethical side of your wellness initiative should consider the following:

  • Have you reviewed the federal, state, and local laws that govern what you are planning?
  • Do you have the documentation to prove that what you are doing is legal in case you need to defend it?
  • Have you considered how your initiative affects people of diverse backgrounds?
  • Are your programs enhancing the lives of your audience or manipulating them for data analysis?
  • Do they comply with legal standards for confidentiality, compliance, and mandated reporting?
  • How is your wellness initiative working within your scope of practice and in accordance with your profession-specific code of conduct?
  • Are you maintaining ethical relationships with your audience, your leadership, with policymakers, and your vendors?

The laws that govern wellness have changed over the years and it is a good idea to keep yourself up to date. If you cannot, consider asking for help through National Wellness Institute and we can point you in the right direction. Same holds true for the ethical side of your programming. Legal and ethical principles of your wellness competencies is not something that should be reviewed and reacted to when things happen. Rather, the legal and ethical principles should be part of your initial strategy and plan. They should be consistently analyzed, confirmed, watched, and ready to change in a proactive manner.