EAPA 2017 Conference & EXPO - Journal of Employee Assistance Vol. 48 no. 1 - 1st Quarter 2018

Lights! Camera! Action! EAP Focus on the Workplace
Recap of the 2017 EPA 2017 Conference & Expo – Los Angeles

Journal of Employee Assistance editor Mike Jacquart attended “Lights! Camera! Action! EAP Focus on the Workplace,” EAPA 2017 Conference & EXPO – Los Angeles, held October 3-6 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites. In this article, he shares key findings from this important gathering. EAPA’s Conference on Demand is also available for anyone interested in downloading conference breakout sessions from either the 2016 or 2017 conferences. Full information is available at http://eapa.sclivelearningcenter.com/index.aspx?PhD=8163.

October 4 – The opening keynote, “Wrestling with EAP Core Technology: Origins and Future Implications for the Profession,” was led by Paul Roman, EAP pioneer and an expert on the management of substance dependence in the workplace. The discussion was presented as an interview with EAPA CEO Greg DeLapp.

Sessions that JEA editor Mike Jacquart attended included:

A New System for Integrating Mental Health into Workplace Wellness was led by Julie Marshall, PhD, CEAP, VP of Clinical and Operational Services with Cascade Centers, Inc.; and Anna Meiners, MA, Director of Account Services with Cascade. Marshall and Meiners discussed Whole Life Scale, a validated assessment tool that measures nine behavioral health issues and provides proactive intervention strategies. The nine issues, or domains, are: anxiety, anger, depression, sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationships, stress, substance abuse, and work engagement.
Capabilities of the scale include providing proactive direction to EAP and mental health services, increasing awareness of mental health issues, and integrating mental health into workplace wellness campaigns. The scale features individual summaries; immediate, in-assessment feedback; and links to online solution centers.

Richard Bond, Manager, Workplace Services EAP, Optum; and CEAPs George Melgarejo, Reon Tesar, Peter Bunnell, and Tarsyia Waddell, presented Your Company’s Threat Management Team: EAP is Key. The discussion included a brief history of how threat management has evolved, examples of threat management procedures, and identifying key issues for EAP. 
Threat management has its roots in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace violence guidelines, and drug-free workplace policies. EAP is a perfect fit for such teams, according to Waddell. “EAPs have a long tradition of assisting in unforeseen situations that threaten employees, customers, and neighborhoods.”
With widespread violence in today’s society, people are looking to professionals such as those working in EAP for answers, Waddell stated. “This includes employees, customers, and strategic partners.”

October 5 – Like 2016, the keynote address included short, engaging EAP Talks (think TED Talks) about current EA topics from Tim Mutrie, Vice President of Marketing and IT, ACI Specialty Benefits; Tamara Cagney, EAPA President; Kay Burd, Senior Director, Business Solutions, Workplace Options; Ivana Grahovac, Director of Advancement, Facing Addiction; and Nancy Espuche, Founder, KardBoard House.
Mutrie spoke on the seven major disruptions shaping the future of EAP: 1) Telemental health is the new norm; 2) Services must be on-demand; 3) Robots are coming (actually, they’re here); 4) The new workforce is everyone; 5) Transformation of “the office”; 6) EAP identity question (embedded or stand-alone); and 7) Age of the influencer.
Cagney discussed Cannabis @ Work, a new toolkit intended to give EA professionals information to assist their companies and clients. “Education will play a huge role for EAP,” she said.
Specific cannabis issues were also discussed. All but four states allow medical or recreational use of marijuana, but for employers, it’s not legalization that’s the problem, it’s how they are supposed to balance workplace safety with employee rights. She posed the question, “Do employers need to reasonably accommodate employees using marijuana as medicine?” 

Sessions that JEA editor Mike Jacquart attended included:

Workplace Impact of EAP was presented by Greg DeLapp, CEAP, CEO, EAPA; Dave Sharar, PhD, Director of Commercial Science, Chestnut Health Systems; and Mark Attridge, PhD, Attridge Consulting Inc. The session featured current “pooled” data on the workplace impact of EAP from more than 60 different EAP vendors, using the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS). The session highlighted the importance of using the same tool as a profession when collecting outcome data, noting that all five measures used in the WOS (absenteeism, presenteeism, workplace distress, life satisfaction, and work engagement) show significant change after using this landmark tool.
Differences do occur substantially within age, gender, referral type, presenting concern, industry of the employer, and the delivery model of EAP.

October 6 – Numerous awards were presented. They included the Best Use of Technology in Employee Assistance, ACI Specialty Benefits; and EAP Quality Award, Hellas EAP Ltd. (A complete list of award recipients is listed at the end of this article.)

EAP in Russia: A Complicated History with a Promising Future was led by Anna Krymskaya, Program Director, Corporate Health LLC; and Ken Burgess, EAP Consultant. Krymskaya discussed the brief history of EAP in Russia, including obstacles and ideas for overcoming those barriers. To date, Corporate Health remains the only EAP based in Russia. Burgess spoke on his role in developing a substance abuse program at URAL Steel, which remains the only one in Russia.

EAPA Awards Recognize High Achievement
Each year, the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) recognizes and celebrates the achievement of members, individuals, and organizations who have distinguished themselves through their hard work and leadership in the EA profession.

R. Paul Maiden received EAPA’s highest individual award, the Lifetime Achievement Award during the EAPA 2017 Conference & EXPO - Los Angeles. Other award recipients included Andrew Davies (EAPA Member of the Year); and Hellas EAP, Piraeus Bank Group (EAP Quality Award).

The complete list of award winners is as follows:

Global EA Champion Award
Carl Tisone

Lifetime Achievement Award 
R. Paul Maiden

EAPA Member of the Year 
Andrew Davies

EAPA Benefactor Award
EAP Expert

Best Delivery of CIR Services
R3 Continuum

Best Use of Technology in EA Award 
ACI Specialty Benefits

EAP Quality Award 
Hellas EAP 
Piraeus Bank Group 

EAPA Making It Happen Award
Joan Treece

Excellence in EA Business Development 
EY Assist: 

Outstanding Chapter Award 
Connecticut Chapter

Ross Von Wiegand Award
Mount Sinai Health System EAP, Local 1199 (SEIU) MAP