About the Speaker

Dr. O’Donnell has presented more than 300 keynote, breakout, and workshop presentations on six continents to groups ranging in size from 6 to 4,000. Audiences have included business leaders, health promotion professionals, scientists, corporate boards, senior level government officials, local community members and cruise ship passengers. The most popular topics have been the health and financial impact of health promotion, strategic design of workplace health promotion programs, integrating health promotion into hospital settings, and integrating health promotion into national health policy. For scientific groups, he has also spoken on research methods, program evaluation, principals of health behavior changes, design of tobacco cessation programs, and scholarly publishing. He has served as the master of ceremonies for more than 30 national conferences.

Michael O'Donnell, PhD Keynote SpeakerMichael P. O’Donnell, MBA, MPH, PhD,
CEO, Art & Science of Health Promotion Institute
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Relevant Background

Theoretical foundations

Dr. O’Donnell’s approach to developing and managing health promotion programs is based on integrating scientific findings with the dynamic realities of workplace and community environments. Critical scientific learning experiences have included conducting a benchmarking study involving the 80 best workplace health promotion programs in the nation, collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a systematic review of the published literature on the health impact of workplace health promotion programs, supporting a systematic review of the published literature on the financial impact of workplace health promotion programs, serving as a judge on the selection panel of the C. Everett Koop Award for 22 years, preparing a doctoral dissertation on the predictors of health behavior, and writing in-depth reviews of more than 1800 studies on the health and financial impact of health promotion. His approach to workplace health promotion has formed the basis of three pieces of legislation introduced in the United States Congress. He served as faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan for nine years. He also served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Catholic University and the Graduate School of Health Sciences at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea for one year.


Dr. O’Donnell’s publications include more than 200 articles, book chapters and columns, books and workbooks. His first book, Health Promotion in the Workplace (John Wiley and Sons, 1984) was the first reference/textbook on workplace health promotion, and was nominated for Books of the Year Award by the American Journal of Nursing in 1985. The second edition (Delmar, 1994) was translated into Korean. The third edition (Delmar, 2002) was translated into Chinese. The fourth edition (American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc (2012) has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and German. Collectively, this is the most widely used reference and text book in the field.

General background

Dr. O’Donnell is Founder and CEO of the Art & Science of Health Promotion Institute, Founder, and Editor in Chief Emeritus of the American Journal of Health Promotion, the leading peer reviewed journal on the science of lifestyle change. He is also Founder and Chairman emeritus of the board of Health Promotion Advocates, a non-profit organization created to integrate health promotion concepts into national health policy. He has served as Director of Health and Wellness for the Cleveland Clinic and Chief Wellness Officer for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan. He has 3 decades of experience in designing, managing and evaluating health promotion programs in workplace, community and clinical settings at the local, national and international level. He is has also been a business owner, executive in medical and health plan settings, leader of a national legislative advocacy group, Fulbright Scholar, and member of corporate and non-profit boards.

Speech Options

AMSO POSSE2: What Works Best in Workplace Health Promotion?

Health promotion programs that focus on educating people on the links between health behaviors and health outcomes fail because they do not recognize the complex factors that impact health behavior and successful behavior change. This presentation, based on several systematic reviews of the literature and audits of the most successful workplace health promotion programs, distills these complex factors into four important elements: Awareness (A), Motivation (M), Skills (S) and Opportunity (O). The Opportunity Dimension has six components: Peers (A), Organizations (O), State (S), Society (S), Environment (E), Equality (E). The components of these elements and their relative importance are discussed. This framework can be used to critique an existing program, plan a new program or help an individual change their personal habits. An optional interactive discussion can be included on how to apply this framework at the individual personal level and at the organization level. This presentation describes this systematic process.

Integrating Health Promotion into Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare organizations have realized that integrating health promotion strategies into healthcare services enhances patient outcomes, opens doors in the community and improves the bottom line. They have begun to provide comprehensive health promotion programs for their own employees, launched commercial ventures that serve the business community, led efforts to enhance community health, and supplemented clinical patient care and research with wellness offerings. This presentation reviews the scientific rationale for health promotion, describes business and programming opportunities, outlines strategic factors that guide decisions and provides a framework to implement plans.

The Health and Financial Impact of Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors like obesity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and lack of exercise cause 40% of premature deaths and at least 25% of medical care costs. The United States spends more than twice as much on medical care as all but four nations in the world, but ranks 42nd in infant mortality and 46th in life expectancy. Fortunately, lifestyle changes result in improved health, reduced mortality and cost savings. This presentation reviews the latest research on this topic and describes the most effective strategies for successful lifestyle change programs.

Comments From Clients

Commanding Officer,
United States Navy

“Your presentation was truly inspiring and successfully articulated our theme of Public Health Integration: Focusing on the Future. Your message regarding the recognition of health promotion in national legislation was particularly motivating.”

National Laboratory

“Our directors and vice presidents rarely get to hear such compelling thoughts from industry leaders. Your presentation added a critical piece to the design.”

Medical director,
Insurance Company

“Our CEO said you nailed it!”

Vice President,
Large Health Promotion Provider

“Your session was the highest rated of all of our sessions”

Technology Company

“I heard everyone was saying your presentation was fabulous as I walked out of the session.”