MPA Award Winners 2011

Four organizations received the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award during the 2011 MPA convention. Each organization met all five criteria for the award (i.e., employee involvement, employee recognition, employee development, work-life balance, and health & safety); however, each organization is also expected to be exceptional in at least one of these criteria. I will single out an exceptional practice for each of our award winners.

Hennepin County has more than 9,000 employees serving the largest county in Minnesota. To better serve its employees, the County recently reviewed employee health claims and conducted a health survey. This study revealed that 53% of employees or their spouses reported that they experienced “emotional concerns.” In addition, 3 of the top 10 prescription drugs taken by employees and spouses were anti-depressives. The county suspected that these issues were driving disability claims and requests for ADA workplace accommodations. In response, Hennepin County launched an Emotional Wellness Project. This project provided training for supervisors in two departments on recognizing and working with employees whose performance may be impacted by emotional concerns. A 90-day, follow-up survey of these supervisors found that 50% had a recent performance issue with a “troubled employee” and more than 96% reported that they had used the tools and resources from their training to work more effectively to resolve performance issues with their supervisees. As a result of this project and other initiatives, Hennepin County realized a return of $81 for every $1 spent on this program. The County hopes to expand this training program to other departments. 


Kate Keeper of Park Nicollet Health Services
accepted a Psychologically Healthy Workplace
Award from MPA President, Joy Piccolino, Psy.D., L.P.

Park Nicollet Health Services sponsors a Healthy Living Program. This program provides many options for employees for healthy living, including stress management tips, walking trails, recipes for healthy meals, a farmers market, and a recreational center/gym. Options for yoga and back massages are also available. Park Nicollet encourages employees not to work through lunch, but to take a well-deserved break. Employees expressed enthusiasm about the level of care hospital leadership took in their health and safety. For example, the hospital has installed ceiling lifts, along with other patient lifting equipment, to lessen the possibility of injury. Park Nicollet also has an ergonomics division, which provides equipment and training to employees to avoid workplace injuries.

Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota–LSS Financial Counseling Service is located in Duluth. Its exceptional practice lies in its commitment to regularly gather together employees scattered across 11 locations for meetings and an annual retreat. These gatherings provide employees and supervisors with an opportunity to get to know each other, share issues and solutions, and hold training sessions. Both supervisors and nonsupervisory employees were very positive about the meetings and the networking. They also felt that because of these meetings, they were able to communicate more effectively about client issues and obtain helpful answers quickly, both from supervisors and peers. These gatherings convince employees that leadership supports them in dealing with frequently distressed and difficult clients. 


Stephen Hage accepted the PHWA on behalf
of Orion Associates.

Orion Associates is a for-profit company in Golden Valley, specializing in providing management services to human services organizations. Orion Associates won MPA’s PHWA award two years ago and went on to win APA’s Best Practice Award for its outstanding efforts around volunteerism. Since that time, Orion continues to provide opportunities for volunteering that are head and shoulders above other organizations. More than 90% of employees participate in volunteer activities supporting the community. The volunteer committee plans four major projects per year for which employees and non-employees may volunteer. Employees raise money to pay travel expenses and Orion Associates provides paid work time to support these projects. Recent trips have included Haiti and New Orleans. Employees also receive two personal volunteer days each year to use as they choose (e.g., volunteer at school, attend a child’s field trip, etc.).Over the past six years, eight previous state award winners have gone on to receive Best Practice Honors awards from the American Psychological Association. This award is an opportunity to recognize organizations that strive to do well for their employees. It also gives our association the opportunity to promote psychologically healthy workplace practices throughout Minnesota. Please nominate organizations that you believe go beyond “the usual fare” with their employees.


Minnesota had two Best Practice Honorees in the APA's 2011 Psychologically
Healthy Workplace Awards program: The Minnesota Chapter of the National 
Multiple Sclerosis Society and Harbinger Partners. Pictured from left to right
at the ceremony in Washington, D.C., in April: Jack O'Regan, Ph.D., ABPP,
L.P.; Joy Piccolino, Psy.D., L.P.; Scott Grausnick, CEO Harbinger Partners, Inc.;
Holly Anderson, Chapter President, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota
Chapter; Maureen Reeder, Executive Vice President, Midwest Region, National
Multiple Sclerosis Society; and Edmund J. Nightingale, Ph.D., National Multiple
Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter Board of Trustees.

Over the past six years, eight previous state award winners have gone on to receive Best Practice Honors awards from the American Psychological Association. This award is an opportunity to recognize organizations that strive to do well for their employees. It also gives our association the opportunity to promote psychologically healthy workplace practices throughout Minnesota. Please nominate organizations that you believe go beyond “the usual fare” with their employees.

Share this post:

Comments on "MPA Award Winners 2011"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment

Diversity Statement

The Minnesota Psychological Association actively encourages the participation of all psychologists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation.Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Psychological Association also recognizes our core unifying identities as Psychologists who practice in America. We also recognize that we may hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. Within this context of unity and self-exploration, we are committed to increasing our sensitivity to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating with multicultural groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice as we seek to promote diversity in our society. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.