Cancer and other chronic diseases are leading killers and disablers in the United States, and low-income Americans are at high risk for these diseases. Multiple evidence-based interventions (EBIs) exist to improve chronic disease risk behaviors, such as cancer screening, healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation, yet EBI reach to community settings is poor. Among community settings for reaching low-income adults, worksites stand out because most low-income adults are employed, but worksite implementation of health-promoting EBIs is low. Half of American workers work in small or low-wage worksites, where implementation of these EBIs and readiness to implement are especially low. Even though decision-makers at these worksites are often motivated to promote worker health, they usually have no dedicated wellness staff and face three major barriers in implementing EBIs: 1) lack of awareness of the potential benefits of EBIs, 2) lack of knowledge to choose EBIs, and 3) lack of financial and personnel resources to implement EBIs. Non- profit organizations and others who would assist these worksites face their own barriers. Organizational readiness to implement EBIs is not well understood, and few validated measures are available, especially for worksites. Without reliable and valid measures of worksite readiness, those who would assist them have difficulty: a) identifying worksites that are ready, and b) helping decision-makers get ready to increase their odds of implementation success. The proposed research will address both sets of barriers and contribute to dissemination and implementation research by testing the efficacy of a worksite EBI dissemination program, HealthLinks, developed in partnership with the American Cancer Society, a non-profit organization operating nationwide. HealthLinks is based on diffusion of innovations framework and diffusion of innovations theory and addresses small and low-wage worksites'barriers by providing free on-site information and recommendations for EBIs and by providing free on-site programs and temporary staffing to assist implementation. We will test HealthLinks via a 3-arm randomized controlled trial. Worksites will receive either 1) HealthLinks, or 2) an enhanced version of HealthLinks that addresses small worksites'lack of personnel by adding worker wellness committees, or will 3) serve in a delayed control group that receives HealthLinks at study end. We will measure worksites'EBI implementation at baseline, 12 months (at the end of the intervention period), and 24 months (to assess maintenance one year after the intervention ends). This design will test the effectiveness of both HealthLinks and of worker wellness committees. We will also measure the effect of both on workers'health behaviors at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months. Finally, we will develop, pilot-test, and validate a measure of worksite readiness to implement EBIs.
The proposed project will answer key questions about implementing evidence-based health promotion interventions at small and low-wage worksites. Small, low-wage worksites will be randomized to receive HealthLinks (a free American Cancer Society program to disseminate evidence-based interventions), HealthLinks+ (which will include creating worksite wellness committees as part of the program), or to serve in a delayed control group. This approach will identify successful strategies for implementing evidence-based interventions at low-wage worksites to improve workers'cancer screening, healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco cessation.