Center for Workforce Health & Performance Names Debra Lerner Board Chair

New board chair, founder and director of the Program on Health, Work and Productivity at Tufts Medical Center, brings extensive experience in performance measurement and productivity improvement initiatives

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Workforce Health and Performance (CWHP) today announced that Debra Lerner, MSc, PhD, has been named Chairperson of the organization’s Board of Directors. Dr. Lerner has been a member of the seven-person CWHP Board since November 2017. Dr. Lerner replaces Thomas Parry, PhD, President of the Integrated Benefits Institute.

Dr. Lerner has dedicated her career to improving the health and wellbeing of working people, and enabling them to participate fully and productively in the workplace. A Senior Scientist within the Tufts Medical Center Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies (ICRHPS), she is founder and director of the Program on Health, Work and Productivity. The Program is a center for research and development staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. Dr. Lerner’s projects have addressed the full continuum of care from health promotion and prevention, through rehabilitation.  Her research projects combine expertise in clinical and population-based research.  The majority of her projects have been conducted in the workplace and she has a track record of many successful industry collaborations and partnerships.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Lerner assuming the role of Board Chair. As her life’s work demonstrates, Dr. Lerner’s focus and goals are perfectly aligned with the Center’s. Having personally worked with Dr. Lerner on numerous projects over the years, I’m confident that she will be instrumental in advancing the Center’s goal of increased adoption of evidence-based policies and practices that support a healthier, happier, and higher-performing workforce,” stated CWHP President and CEO Kimberly Jinnett, MSPH, PhD.

Dr. Lerner and her team at the Program on Health, Work and Productivity have extensive expertise in survey research. They developed the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), the first questionnaire to measure the impact of physical and mental health problems on work performance and productivity. Extensively validated, the WLQ is considered the gold standard of performance measurement and has been used within clinical trials of major pharmaceutical firms, the worker health promotion and wellness industry (which embeds the WLQ in many of its health and well-being tools), academic research, and employer health and productivity improvement initiatives. Dr. Lerner’s team has also developed innovative intervention programs aimed at improving employee functional performance and work productivity. Sponsorship for this research has been provided by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Veterans Health Administration.

Dr. Lerner is considered a national thought leader on workplace interventions for stress and depression. She recently authored a white paper for business leaders on the costs of depression (for the One Mind Institute) and, with Westat, Inc., evaluated the dissemination of workplace interventions for depression.

Dr. Lerner has been Principal Investigator on four federally funded trials, which resulted in a best-in-class evidence-based screening and intervention program to improve the work performance and productivity of employees with depression. This novel on-line and telephonic work-focused program addresses a large gap in care—the absence of programs to address the widespread and costly functional limitations associated with this very common mental disorder. The Be Well at Work Program is the only intervention to include both vocational and mental health improvement techniques. It is currently being disseminated.

Dr. Lerner has published numerous articles on health and productivity improvement. She has also served on many scientific panels and advisory boards, including the Health Project, which administers the C. Everett Koop Award for employer excellence in workplace health promotion.

Dr. Lerner is also a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. She serves as Associate Director and Director of Organizational Impact for the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). She holds a PhD in Medical Sociology from Boston University, an MSc in Health Administration and Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and two bachelor’s degrees from the State University of New York-Buffalo.

About The Center for Workforce Health and Performance (CWHP)
The Center for Workforce Health and Performance is an information hub for research reports, educational resources, and a variety of evidence-based data sources on developing and maintaining a healthy and high-performing workforce. A leading provider of workforce health and performance improvement materials disseminated through scientific, educational and technical assistance channels, CWHP contributes to the adoption of evidence-based policies and practices that support a healthier, happier, and higher-performing workforce, which in turn contributes to a healthier economy, and, healthier and more productive communities. Additional information may be found at

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