Healthy is Hard: Creating Equitable Health Benefits for Women – a HLTH Webinar Overview

By Lianne E. Jacobs, MPH

Last week, Tanya Little, Chief Growth Officer for Vitality, moderated a HLTH webinar entitled “Healthy is Hard: Creating Equitable Health Benefits for Women.”  She was joined by panelists Sara Rothstein, VP of Planning & Performance for Population Health Management at Mass General Brigham, Katie Misata, Benefits Manager at Moderna, and Scott Liebman, Founder of BenefitBump, for the discussion.

The conversation started out by highlighting how women were disproportionately impacted during the pandemic and how many women left the workforce and have yet to return, particularly due to mental health burden women faced as caregivers.  The speakers noted that employers have a responsibility and an opportunity to ensure they are providing equitable health benefits to help support their female workforce.

The panelists touched on ways they have enhanced their benefits throughout the pandemic to better serve their workforce, through creative strategies such as reducing the eligibility threshold for employee benefits to allow workers to cut back on their hours while still maintaining benefit eligibility.  They discussed the necessity for increased paid parental leave, expanding programs to apply equally to birthing and non-birthing parents and for those on all paths to parenthood, including adoption, surrogacy and those requiring fertility treatments to build their families.

The panelists discussed the importance of messaging and framing in communicating these benefits to ensure that all employees are aware of the benefits available to them and the importance of these benefits for those they support.  They also discussed the role of men and community support in advancing women’s health in the workplace.

The discussion centered around what steps employers can take to examine their current benefit offerings and reflect on whether they are meeting the needs of their workforce, and then taking it a step further to examine whether their benefits and solutions are supporting their workforce in an equitable way to ensure good health and optimal productivity.

If you missed the live HLTH webinar “Healthy is Hard: Creating Equitable Health Benefits for Women,”  please check out the recording.


Lianne E. Jacobs, MPH, Health Communications Strategist, has a master’s degree in public health from Yale University.  She is the only indoor cycling instructor who can’t ride a bike.  She enjoys traveling the world, laughing at her own jokes, changing diapers, and tricking her husband into eating baked goods made with hidden vegetables.

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