Propagating the new work disability paradigm for disability benefits & workers' comp systems

The 60 Summits Project: Mission and Approach


The mission of the 60 Summits Project is to:

  • Disseminate and encourage adoption of a new paradigm - the work disability prevention model * - in order to catalyze positive change in workplaces as well as disability benefits and workers' compensation systems throughout North America;
  • Establish a framework in 50 US states and 10 Canadian provinces for on-going communication and collaboration among all involved parties for the purposes of improving the way the Stay-at-Work and Return-To-Work process actually operates.


The 60 Summits Project, founded and led by Dr. Jennifer Christian, president of Webility Corporation:

  • Capitalizes on a report entitled "Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed" published in 2006 by the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). (Dr. Christian led development of the report.)
  • Recruits, organizes, and provides support to local volunteers who plan and produce workshop-type Summit Conferences about the ACOEM report in all 50 US states and 10 Canadian provinces.
  • Uses the ACOEM report as a framework and catalyst for discussion among Summit participants who are disability benefits and workers' compensation system stakeholders - employers, healthcare providers, benefits and claims payers, and other intermediaries and resources such as managed care companies, policymakers and regulators, unions and other advocacy groups, and so on.
  • Creates a shared positive vision of how the stay-at-work and return-to-work process (SAW / RTW) should work. Inspires and supports Summit participants to share this new vision with others and make subsequent concrete changes in medical care, business practices, regulations, and laws that improve communications and increase collaboration among stakeholders in the Summit participants' companies, communities and states/provinces.
  • Serves as a gathering point for those who want to "raise the bar" and support system-wide improvement through innovation, experimentation, and research to identify strategies and processes that measurably improve the results produced by the SAW / RTW process.
  • Provides an organizational framework to facilitate on-going communication, collaboration, and sharing of knowledge among participants and all interested parties.
  • Catalyzes an on-going process that will eventually improve the way the stay-at-work and return-to-work (SAW / RTW) process actually works, and thus positively influence lives and workplace productivity and benefit costs.

* Those who adopt the work disability prevention approach seek to minimize the disruptive impact of illness and injury on employed people's personal lives, especially their livelihoods, as well as on the employer's organization and the larger community that desires the worker's continuing productive contribution. Under the work disability prevention model, the "point" is to anticipate and address the whole life situation created by illness or injury in order to speed recovery and to avert or reduce medically-unnecessary workplace absence and work disability whenever possible. This new paradigm is replacing the current benefits payment model in which the "point" is to process and adjudicate benefit claims accurately and pay benefits promptly.

Updated 5/6/07