The American workforce is an enigma. Our national culture encourages us to work hard, be the best at what we do, and succeed, succeed, succeed. Yet, at the same time, we're told to enjoy life, take care of ourselves, and raise healthy, permanently-smiling families.
All of these are excellent qualities to embody and goals to strive for, but no one tells us how to make the elusive American dream come true.
The result is a nation plagued by mental health disorders that become increasingly common with each new generation.
After witnessing first-hand the compounding challenges of a population in crisis while working in the mental health service sector, Rick McCartney knew something had to change on a massive scale.
Now, the CEO and Co-Founder of iRewardHealth has built a program that allows employers to be the source of relief and inject a science-backed solution into the very infrastructure of our nation.
A Natural Leader & CEO
The hallmark of an excellent CEO is the desire to affect change and to inspire others to join in that cause. Rick McCartney not only has that natural ability, but also he's using his gift to inspire other CEOs and leaders to do the same.
A nurse practitioner by training, Rick began his career at the Joslin Diabetes Center helping patients implement lifestyle interventions to take control of their health. After finishing a rigorous grad school program at Boston College, he transitioned into the mental health field where he focused on treating patients suffering from mood disorders, anxiety, and chronic mental illness.
Yet, despite all his best efforts and those of his colleagues, Rick recognized that he and his patients were fighting an uphill battle.
The patients were lacking the baseline physical health required to support and improve their mental health, including getting quality sleep and maintaining a healthy body.
Problem, Meet Solution
The trio recognized that each patient either had an employer or was actively seeking employment. They quickly realized that while illness spans all ages, races, and genders, employment was a common thread. In fact, in the United States, employment is so critical to our culture that there is an entire bureaucratic entity dedicated to tracking the unemployment rate: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
However, even the most well-meaning employers who were providing their employees with benefits programs weren't seeing success. "We saw patients struggle with programs employers were giving them and that weren't actually helping," said Rick. "Programs were only available part-time through the year, they weren't using best practices, or they weren't really designed to work."
Together, Rick, Benjy, and Carmine built a revolutionary new employee benefit program based on proven scientific and psychological techniques that would empower employees to create real and lasting positive change in their lives.
By 2016, iRewardHealth was ready to transform the American cultural landscape.
Building a Movement, One Reward at a Time
"We want to cause individual behavior changes at scale," says Rick. Employment is such a massive, necessary mechanism in our country; yet the potential to make an impact on individual lives was untapped until iRewardHealth was born. "We want to empower employers to be the mechanism to help millions of people," says the CEO, who has implemented his program within his own company with great success.
Overall, the biggest health crisis facing our nation is obesity. Unhealthy weight is the cause of numerous other life-shattering issues, including diabetes, mood disorders, heart disease, and more. iRewardHealth provides a structured program that's both intrinsically and extrinsically rewarding.
"Strong values and a personal 'Why' are the most important factors to creating lasting change," says Rick. "We've figured out how we can help people to live lives more in line with their values by using tangible rewards like gadgets or extra paid time off to turn healthy behaviors into habits."
The nurse practitioner-turned-CEO says, "It's not easy to get people to think about. In the short-term, positive reinforcement as a motivation tool can get people to a place where they can begin looking at their values and doing the work to identify what's important to them."
Massive Change Requires Massive Vision
iRewardHealth is more than just an intelligent company doing some very real and relevant good in the world. The program is also a passion project that CEO Rick McCartney is committed to seeing to fruition.
"I want to have a positive impact on over one billion people," the CEO says. "I get bored by highly contained things. I want to reach more people. It's a powerful challenge to take on, but I get out of bed in the morning to solve tough problems."
Want to join the iRewardHealth movement? If you're a CEO or company leader, sign up for a free trial to see how easy it is to give your employees a pathway to better health. If you're an employee and want to see iRewardHealth in your workplace, share this post with your employer.
Together, we can build a healthier America, one company at a time.