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DHS needs ‘holistic approach’ to worker health: report

Washington – The Department of Homeland Security should develop a strategy that addresses physical, emotional and mental health to help workers within the department better deal with job-related stress, concludes a report from the Institute of Medicine.

At the request of DHS, the institute reviewed a program that was created in 2009 to improve the wellness and resiliency of DHS workers. IOM found the program lacked leadership support, a strategic plan, clear vision, accountability and authority – all of which prevented it from being fully effective, according to an IOM press release.

Noting that working at DHS is “inherently stressful,” IOM emphasized the need for workers to be healthy enough to rebound from job crises. To improve worker readiness, the report suggested taking a “holistic” approach that addresses health, organizational culture and the workplace environment. Suggestions also included strong leadership, better communication and a five-year strategic plan to support the recommendations.