Business of Well-being

Corporate Wellness and Employee Morale: Supporting the Surgeons Who Transform the Lives of Patients

Corporate wellness and employee morale are inseparable. The two are responsible for everything from enhanced productivity and camaraderie to increased self-esteem and improved health in general.

The latter are often the result of gifted doctors - surgeons, to be precise - who perform some of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art operations imaginable: Procedures, which include the use of 3D imaging (to illustrate the outcome of a particular type of surgery) and robotics (for less invasive incisions and smaller scarring), all complemented by the art of an exceptional plastic surgeon and the science behind the latest advances in medicine.

Companies that support these endeavors are businesses with a conscience and compassion; they understand, and seek to cover the costs associated with, reconstructive surgery, the type of life-changing work a breast cancer survivor deserves or the transformational effects an accident or trauma patient should receive.

Indeed, organizations with an understanding of the moral value of plastic surgery, which is not a euphemism for beauty surgery or some indulgence for the wealthy -- these companies offer themselves (and by extension, their employees) the ultimate brand of respect; they believe in, reimburse (in part or whole) or encourage insurance companies to offer coverage for plastic surgery.

This support is critical because it is an integral part of an individual's self-worth, which has a direct connection on how that same person approaches work and life in general. To give that person a second chance at life - to reconstruct facial injuries or the aftereffects of a mastectomy or lumpectomy - such a gift should neither be a luxury nor an elusive goal bestowed upon the few.

One surgeon who shares these ideals and champions the power of education of current and prospective patients is Dr. Gilbert Lee , an acclaimed physician in San Diego, who recognizes that healing - of the body and spirit - is the key to wellness, period.

Wellness Begets Wellness, Or: Supporting the Surgeon-As-Educator and Civic Leader

I cite Dr. Lee's work for several reasons because his success is a testament to the many ways in which wellness begets a sense of optimism and good health throughout a company, as well as the importance of educating the public about the benefits of plastic surgery. (My references to Dr. Lee are the result of extensive research, where, in reviewing the credentials and respective philosophies of many surgeons throughout the United States, I can certify that he is an educator and civic leader of the highest order.)

The point about education is critical because it dispels certain stereotypes about plastic surgery - that it is purely about vanity, for example - and enlightens companies to support, in word and deed, those employees who can benefit from the expertise of a distinguished surgeon of Dr. Lee's caliber.

To that end, Dr. Lee offers a model all doctors should emulate, since he has a very helpful Q&A on his website about some of the most frequently asked questions concerning plastic surgery. The role of the surgeon-as-educator is a principle every professional should adopt because it makes otherwise complex issues readily intelligence to a mass audience.

However, the act itself is one of respect, to and for patients, which confirms a doctor's belief in sharing information and having the necessary patience for his patients, so to speak. Companies can - and should - learn from this type of leadership, since respect is an invaluable and mandatory way to create and sustain the very culture of wellness every company aspires to achieve.

But wellness is not simply an office phenomenon, activated and silenced at the beginning and end of each workday. It is a mindset, practiced by executives, surgeons, patients and employees alike; it is the most revelatory form of evidence - it displays the values and integrity of a business or doctor - while also indicating a person's role within his or her community.

Simply stated, to be a leader is being a proud and vibrant citizen of a community. Dr. Lee is one such leader (more about anon), who understands that wellness reverberates throughout a people and a place.

Wellness Through Leadership and Volunteerism

If companies are to support surgeons like Dr. Lee, and they have every reason to do so, they should make community involvement a priority. Again, I cite Dr. Lee's involvement within his home city of San Diego, where he is both in and of the area at large, because it proves that wellness (and educating the public about it) is a matter of ethics and common sense.

Dr. Lee has plenty of the latter because he exemplifies all the traits of the former: The willingness to speak on behalf of issues, which influence the community and influence the health of its citizens, augmented by a stalwart belief in helping people.

That assistance can take many forms, from answering a query via email to consulting with a potential patient to demystifying the purpose and practice of plastic surgery. These efforts are part of an overall pledge to deliver the rewards of wellness to people of all interests and age groups.

A company that honors this pledge - an organization that leads, inspired by the enthusiasm of Dr. Lee - will elevate corporate wellness to its rightful place in the hierarchy of values and ever-lasting ideals. That summons to action is every company's moral obligation, and every employee's rightful reward.

About the Author

Lewis Fein is a media relations consultant, based in Los Angeles, with extensive experience involving consumer goods, food, technology, hospitality and various entrepreneurial endeavors. He can be reached at

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