Sao Paulo Press Release 2013

Creating Healthy Workplaces – A First for Latin America
14th October 2013

Sao Paulo, Brazil, played host to the 1st Latin American Healthy Workplace Summit. A high powered Summit co-hosted by ABQV – Associação Brasileira de Qualidade de Vida, the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP) and GHWAwards – Global Healthy Workplace Awards on 29th September brought together regional specialists in occupational health and wellness.

Prof. Rene Mendes, Federal University of Minas Gerais, opened the Summit saying that stress has become an ever more recognised factor in workplace health. He cited the tragic death of 21 year old Merril Lynch London intern, Moritz Erhardt, apparently as a result of exhaustion from continuously working 72 hours as an example of how even corporations are affected. This trend towards problems more associated with white-collar employees is likely to grow as Latin America develops its service sector.

Julietta Rodriguez Guzman, Pan American Health Organisation, argued in a session on how to develop a healthy workplace, that the voice of employees in designing such schemes needs to be heard. At present, ‘we only have half of the equation’, she said.

“The Summit, sponsored by Pfizer and supported by Cigna, heard a series of interesting case studies from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay as well as one of the London 2013 Global Healthy Workplace finalists Telefonica from Brazil. Sharing better practice was a key purpose of the deliberations.”

Regional challenges, around cost and delivery of programmes was discussed by a high powered panel of Dow Chemical, Siemens, Kimberly-Clarke, GE and Dupont representatives.

This 1st Latin American Summit is part of a new regional initiative organised by GHWAwards, which will be followed by a series of other reginonal events in 2014 and beyond.

Summit Quotes from Hosts and Partners

“Since the Summit in London, at the first event of the Global Healthy Workplace Award, we were impressed with the ability of organizations like International Health Consulting and i-genius to mobilize individuals, organizations and leaders toward an international movement to build a model of worksite health promotion sustainable for different countries and companies. In Brazil, the Brazilian Association of Quality of Life (ABQV) was pleased to join this movement and co-promote the first Latin American event. It was a great challenge with many difficulties, but the Summit joined people from across the continent, with three official languages ​​(Portuguese, Spanish and English) and great synergy and local cases integrated and aligned with organizational strategies and national policies. We hope that this movement will spread through the different continents with the strong energy of these organizations.”
– Alberto Ogata, President, ABQV

“The first regional seminar aligned with the Global Healthy Workplace Awards was very successful. I wouldn’t expect anything less having it in Brazil and with the support of ABQV, a regional leader in workplace health promotion, as well as the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP). We will continue to bring together leaders in workplace health promotion from various sectors for enhanced sharing and learning”
– Wolf Kirsten, President, IAWHP

“A superb first for Latin America. The Summit illustrated the diversity of approaches to improving workplace health and wellness. Many parts of the world can learn from these.”
– Tommy Hutchinson, CEO & Founder, i-genius


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