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Buffalo insurance wellness director among top 50 in the U.S.

Walsh Duffield Wellness Team Leader Marie Story has been named as one of the Wellness Council of America’s Top 50 Health Promotion Professionals.

Story is one of three wellness coordinators on staff at Walsh Duffield, a Buffalo-based insurance agency that focuses on selling business insurance and employee benefits, as well as personal insurance.

Those named in the top 50 are ranked by their professional development, demonstrated success, leadership, innovation and compelling vision when it comes to wellness. They also must be currently creating, coordinating and maintaining ongoing health promotion programs. Scoring is based on votes from a peer group and an empirical review of a distinguished judging panel.

Story has worked to improve wellness at companies across the region but has seen some of the greatest success stories within the walls of the Walsh offices. The company’s Wellness Daily program includes annual biometric screening for employees and their spouses, providing ways to make lifestyle changes to lower the risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Walsh Duffield also has implemented ergonomic assessments for all of the staff, including offering standing work stations, which more than 60 percent of employees use.

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Story – a certified personal trainer, health counts and health education specialist who holds a master’s in health promotion and education – is currently focused on the shift in measurement for corporate wellness programs.

In the past, there has been heavy emphasis on medical savings, but there are other growing ways to measure the value on investment for wellness programs, company officials said, such as assessing absenteeism, retention, recruitment and employee morale.

“Wellness is much more than just physical health and disease prevention,” a company statement said in announcing Story’s honor, “and when a program is truly successful, it is ingrained in an organization’s culture and a sign that a company is invested in its employees’ well-being.”

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