Aetna, Harvard to spend 5 years researching determinants of health

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Aetna and Boston-based Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will collaborate on a five-year study of what determines a person's well-being.

Aetna and Harvard researchers will gather data for six dimensions: physical health, emotional health, social connectedness, financial security, purpose and character strengths.

"The goal of the research will be to study the determinants of well-being, correlations to population health and productivity, and ways to enhance total well-being," the organizations said in a statement. To prepare for the research, Aetna is piloting a well-being assessment within a small cohort of Aetna employees. Aetna will use lessons learned from the pilot to inform its research with Harvard, which will concern a larger number of employees.

Harvard and Aetna will apply assessment results to a well-being improvement plan for each research participant. Aetna and Harvard will also share the identity-blinded data, and will assess over time how interventions and programs may affect well-being.

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