myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: February 9, 2022

Penn Named One of America’s Best Large Employers


Forbes recognized the University of Pennsylvania as one of America’s Best Large Employers of 2022. The awards list was announced on February 10, 2022. Forbes’ award honors 1,000 employers – 500 large employers and 500 midsize employers – across 25 industry sectors.

To establish this year’s list, Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to identify enterprises that employees liked best in its annual ranking. This award marks the second year in a row that Penn has made a Forbes Best Employers list.

“I am extremely honored that Penn has received this award two years in a row. It re-emphasizes that Penn is an employer of choice and a place where faculty and staff can have a successful and fulfilling career,” says Jack Heuer, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. “Seeing Penn on this list again makes me even prouder to work with the University’s outstanding faculty and staff.”

Forbes and Statista selected the America’s Best Large Employers 2022 through an independent survey applied to a sample of more than 60,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 employees in the United States. The employees were consulted anonymously through several online panels.

The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from employees who were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employee evaluations also included other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively.

Additionally, participants evaluated their employer based on a series of statements surrounding work-related topics such as working conditions, salary, potential for development, and company image.

The complete America’s Best Large Employers 2022 list is available on the Forbes website.

Over the Counter COVID Tests


One reassuring part of this year’s cold and flu season is the growing access to COVID tests. Testing—along with handwashing, vaccines, masking, and distancing—continues to help the Penn community reduce risks and overcome the recent case surge.

Now, in addition to on-campus COVID testing and free at-home tests delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, University faculty and staff can get over-the-counter (OTC) tests through Penn’s CVS Caremark benefit. This coverage is part of all Penn healthcare plans.

Eight Test Kits a Month

Penn benefits cover up to eight (8) rapid-response test kits per month for enrolled plan participants--no prescription required.* For example, a two-person household may get up to 16 tests while a family of four would be eligible for 32 tests this month. If you buy a multi-pack of tests, each test in the package counts as a single test.

Two Ways to Get Your Test Kits

Plan participants have two options to get the no-cost OTC COVID tests. You can obtain them from an in-network pharmacy without paying upfront or you can pay up front and receive a reimbursement by submitting your receipt online. You will be reimbursed a maximum of $12 per test purchased, regardless of the cost.

Zero Out-of-Pocket Cost In-network

Penn health plan participants can obtain eligible OTC COVID-19 tests* with no upfront out-of-pocket cost directly from in-network pharmacies. Simply present your prescription benefit card to any in-network pharmacy that elects to offer COVID-19 tests through this program. (Be sure to present the CVS Caremark prescription card, not the discount card that generates all those coupons.) The following kits are the only ones available for this option.

Label NameNDC / UPCManufacturerTests per package
Flowflex COVID-19 Ag Hometest82607-0660-26ACON 1
On/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test60006-0191-66ACCESS BIO 2
Binaxnow COVID -19 Ag Card Home TestMagellan Health Care1-800-688-19112
Inteliswab COVID -19 Rapid Test08337-0001-58ORASURE2
Quickvue At-Home COVID -19 Test14613-0339-72QUIDEL2
Quickvue At-Home COVID -19 Test14613-0339-68QUIDEL5
Flowflex COVID-19 Ag Home Test In Vitro Kit 82607-0660-27ACON2
Flowflex COVID-19 Ag Home Test In Vitro Kit82607-0660-28ACON5

The CVS Caremark network includes non-CVS pharmacies such as Walgreens and Rite-Aid. To find an in-network pharmacy, visit the CVS Caremark website at and click on the Pharmacy Locator link near the top of the home page.

The Reimbursement Option

Penn health plan participants can also get reimbursed up to $12** per test for approved OTC COVID tests purchased at pharmacies and stores outside the CVS Caremark network, as well as online retailers. Penn’s plans will reimburse enrolled members for purchases made January 15, 2022 through the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Before you can submit a claim online at, have your receipts ready as proof of purchase and register as a member using your 10-digit Penn ID number. You can also submit claims using the CVS Caremark mobile app (available for Android and Apple) or submit a paper claim for reimbursement.

Download the CVS Caremark reimbursement guide for more details.

Play it safe this cold and flu season. Protect yourself, your family, and your community with over-the-counter COVID tests. For more information visit and the Penn Public Health Guidance page.

If you need assistance, please contact Penn’s Benefits Solution Center at 1-866-799-2329.

*The quantity limit is eight (8) tests per 30 consecutive days. Local stores may have smaller quantity limits for purchase.

**You will be reimbursed $12 for each at-home test or the amount you paid out-of-pocket – whichever is lower. If the test cost less than $12, you will be reimbursed for the actual purchase price of the test.

Kind Heart, Healthy Mind and Body


Doing good can be its own reward, but it also has fringe benefits for your well-being. Medical research has revealed how exercising your kind heart has positive effects on your brain and your whole body.

With science in mind, faculty and staff are invited to take the seven-day Be Kind Healthy Habit Challenge on the Virgin Pulse wellness platform. This challenge gives you the opportunity to earn 250 Be in the Know 2021-2022 campaign points for simply tracking your acts of kindness from February 14 through 21. Registration opens on February 11.

Have you ever done someone a favor or given your time or resources to a neighbor in need, then experienced a mood boost even before they had a chance to thank you? That feeling was your body’s way of rewarding your actions by releasing natural feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. A short-term rush of these brain chemicals from a random act of kindness can uplift you for a few moments, but kindness researchers recommend getting a daily dose.

"The trick you need to know: Acts of kindness have to be repeated," says Waguih W. Ishak, MD in a Cedar-Sinai article on the science of kindness. "Biochemically, you can't live on the 3-to-4-minute oxytocin boost that comes from a single act."

Frequent practice lets you enjoy the long-term benefits of kindness. Just like regular physical activity keeps your heart muscles in shape, routine kindness may help you maintain emotional and mental strength.

To get started, log in to the Virgin Pulse portal between February 11 and February 16. Click the “Social” tab on the main menu, then click “Challenges” and select “Be Kind” to join. You’ll receive ”tips” and simple kindness ideas to try with your coworkers, neighbors, friends, family – and yourself! Activities include volunteering in your neighborhood or listening to your favorite podcast, which are sure to brighten someone’s day – perhaps your own, too!

Visit for more wellness campaign information. 

Stay Engaged and Energized in Virtual Training 


In order to build an effective virtual training event, facilitators must have the proper technology, engaging content, guidelines for session attendees, and a process for follow up after the class has ended. Having these tools in place is key, but it is not the only way to ensure your virtual workshops and presentations are successful and bring value to its participants. During a time when staff may be inundated with virtual meetings, presenters must also consider how to help their students avoid virtual meeting burnout or “Zoom fatigue.”

To make online training less draining, Training & Development Consultant Jamie Apgar will present Virtual Training 101 on February 17, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. In this session, Apgar will provide a step-by-step method to help you develop your next training session or translate an in-person training program into an online class. Apgar will examine:

  • Phases of training and how those are structured for a virtual training
  • How to reformat course activities and communication to participants
  • Tips for using video platforms, and
  • Best practices for facilitating your course

Apgar says that virtual training allows participants to engage with one another, share experiences, ask questions, and interact with colleagues. Still, the constant screen time can provide a challenge for learners to stay focused and energized. Here, Apgar shares four tips to help you shape online classes that will keep participants attentive and motivated.  

  1. Keep training concise and schedule breaks. During virtual training it can be very easy for learners to get distracted or lose focus.  To help, streamline your training so that it is concise while also highlighting key takeaway points.  If your session is a longer training, make sure to include plenty of breaks for participants to step away, refresh, and come back engaged.  For a three-hour class, try to include a 10-minute break at the top of every hour.
  2. Supplement training with other materials. Are there pieces of your facilitation that could be swapped out for an article, a video, an assessment, or a worksheet?  If so, you can provide these materials as pre-work or homework for independent learning. These options may be a way for learners to understand the content without having to digest all of it during the class. You can then use the instructor-led sessions to debrief and discuss the activities and materials.
  3. Engage learners often. It is hard to read body language or non-verbal cues during a virtual meeting. You may not be able to see all the participants, or some may have their video turned off. To decrease virtual fatigue and make sure participants are following along with the class and understand the content, incorporate activities and discussions.

    Get your participants involved every 3 to 4 slides by using a probing question, poll, breakout room, or screen annotation. These are especially good tools to use for the introverted learner, who may be more comfortable discussing ideas and opinions with a smaller group than the full class. The breakout room feature provides smaller size discussion and chatting with groups as small as two. The polling and annotation features allow learners to engage without speaking out. You may also want to place a “Questions?” icon on your PowerPoint or slides, signaling to the class that they are welcome to ask for more information.

  4. Pay it forward. While you may structure your sessions to finish at the top of the hour, many participants may have another virtual meeting immediately after. When possible, try to end your training 15 minutes before the scheduled end time to help the participants reset for their next session. A small break like this can make a difference in their daily schedule. This can be a healthy habit to exercise for ongoing virtual meetings and can help avoid virtual burnout.   

Register today for Virtual Training 101 and learn a real-time model that you can apply to a variety of teaching needs.

For more information about Penn’s Talent Development programs, visit the Learn and Grow webpage

Tips to Pump Up Heart Health


February is Heart Health Month, a time to take note of the amazing things our hearts do for us 24/7. For instance, the average heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood to every organ in the body. While it’s easy to take such reliable performance for granted, it’s wiser to show your heart some appreciation and support. Remember to keep your heart healthy and pumping with these lifestyle tips from Aetna and Health Advocate.

Get Psyched for Heart Health

Being heart-healthy doesn’t mean giving up all of life’s pleasures. It does require awareness in situations that tempt you to trade long-term well-being for quick thrills and comforts. Cardiologist and Aetna medical director Bradley Artel, MD, FACC, FASE shares practical tips to help you avoid four common psychological heart health traps:

  1. When you’re tempted to blow your diet…

    The usual suspects: Mint chocolate-chip ice cream. A supersized fast-food burger. The complimentary breadbasket.
    Expert advice: Resisting cravings gets easier over time, so hang in there. Most cravings pass within a few minutes.

  2. When you think just one cigarette won’t hurt…

    The usual suspects: Social smoking. Vaping. Cigars and pipes.
    Expert advice: Imagine yourself 10 or 20 years from now as a non-smoker. Visualize yourself succeeding and remain positive – you’ve got this.

  3. When you’re losing too many hours to screen time...

    The usual suspects: Bing-worthy shows. Social-media feeds. Cat videos.
    Expert advice: Unplug to reduce stress and gain command of your time.

  4. If you prioritize work over your health...
  5. The usual suspects: Putting work before personal obligations and self-care. Regularly skipping social events because you’re either working or exhausted.
    Expert advice: Chronic overwork is not a virtue. It might be an escape.
    For a deeper dive into the Dr. Artels’ recommendations, visit the health guide.

Heart Health Dos and One Don’t

The Health Advocate Blog recently shared these seven heart health reminders. During another pandemic winter, these tips can help you reestablish habits that protect your heart just in time for a Lunar New Year habit refresh.

Keep moving! Even if you exercise for an hour a day, the fact is that prolonged sitting itself has been associated with worse health outcomes, including heart disease. Try to move every hour if possible. Stand up and sway from one foot to the other while folding laundry, walk while on the phone, dance during TV commercials, etc. 

Focus on fiber. If your daily wardrobe has featured mostly sweatpants and now your expanded waistline keeps you from buttoning your jeans, the culprit may be months of consuming high-calorie, high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, and fatty meats. On the other hand, eating more soluble fiber foods like apples, peas, beans, bran, oatmeal, barley, nuts, and seeds could help you accumulate less belly fat.

Cut back on salt. Just one heavy, high-sodium meal can elevate blood pressure. Aim to pile your plate with salad and vegetables first to help limit your salt intake. Use herbs and spices to flavor your food.

Curb “over-snacking.” Try these tips: If you’re craving a snack, divert your attention–get up and drink some water. Limit your snack choices to fresh fruit or veggies, air-popped popcorn, or no-added-sugar fruit pops. Or dole out a single (small!) serving of chips and put the rest away. Better yet, limit bringing snacks into the house in the first place!

Keep stress in check. Stress constricts blood vessels, which can raise blood pressure and releases the cortisol hormone, which encourages the storage of body fat and is linked to hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. While you may not be able to control a traffic jam or other stressful situation, you can quiet your body’s response. Listen to relaxing music, take slow deep breaths, or look up at the clouds and let worries float away.

Don’t skimp on sleep. Turn off that alluring TV series, shut down your devices and aim to get at least six to nine hours of sleep nightly. Adults who sleep less than six hours a night have a 48% greater chance of developing heart disease and a 15% greater chance of stroke.

Do your daily floss! Flossing helps remove bacteria from the gums, which can travel to the bloodstream, inflame blood vessels, and cause other heart problems. See your dentist every six months for checkups.

You can also download Health Advocate’s Lifestyle Swaps for a Healthy Heart.

For opportunities to put these tips into action, like the February 14 Go Red for Heart Health Wellness Walk inside the Palestra, visit the Human Resources events listing.

Key MindWell Supports

MindWell Mailer detail 200-200

Penn faculty and staff members have access to an array of wellness and healthcare options, but sometimes you just want to know where to start, especially if you or your family face emotional health concerns. That’s why Penn delivered a MindWell awareness brochure directly to faculty and staff homes this month. This mailing focuses on three key support programs for emotional well-being and behavioral health.

Penn Employee Assistance Program

Behavioral Healthcare Services

Penn Cobalt

Penn encourages you to keep these emotional and behavioral health resources in mind, and to access them whenever you seek understanding and support. These programs are part of a system that connect you to mental health and emotional wellness services and communities.

Penn Employee Assistance Program

All benefits-eligible faculty and staff have 24/7 access to trained clinicians through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP intake and in-network counseling is free for you and your immediate family members.

In situations that may need treatment or specialized care beyond the short-term scope of EAP, you may be referred to a care provider in your health plan network.

You, your spouse, dependent children and young adults, and your parents and parents-in-law, can all take advantage of this service. Each family member can receive up to eight sessions with an EAP provider per distinct problem, per year at no cost to you. If you wish or need to continue care beyond the eight sessions, EAP will assist you with coordinating services.

Visit for details.

Behavioral Healthcare Coverage

All Penn medical plans have specialized behavioral health networks, where you can access care for you and your enrolled dependents. The coverage includes counseling and psychotherapy, medication therapy and management, in-patient care, and addiction treatment.

Contact your behavioral health network to locate a provider and get authorization for care.

Your PlanYour NetworkContact
Penn Care PPOQuest Behavioral Health1-800-364-6352
Aetna POS  IIAetna Behavioral Health1-800-424-4047
Keystone HMOMagellan Health Care1-800-688-1911
Aetna HDHPAetna Behavioral Health1-800-424-4047

Log on to Penn’s provider network links at

Penn Cobalt

Penn Cobalt is a web-based platform that matches University and Penn Medicine faculty and staff to mental health resources and the appropriate level of group and individual mental health and well-being support.

At, you can connect with an array of support providers, including Penn EAP, resilience coaches, trainers, therapists, psychiatrists, or non-denominational chaplains.

There’s more to MindWell at Penn

These three resources are part of Penn’s comprehensive system of emotional well-being support, which includes Be in the Know wellness campaign activities on the Virgin Pulse wellness platform, fitness classes, mindfulness workshops, resilience, seminars and more.

Download the complete MindWell guide at

Healthy Meals: Healthier French Onion Dip

Healthier French Onion Dip

Super Bowl Sunday is about the game, but it’s also about the snacks. Whether it’s chips, pretzels, or carrots, this healthy French Onion Dip is sure to hit the spot. The dip is made with protein-rich, creamy nonfat Greek yogurt and caramelized onions. Pair it with veggies, pita bread, and other finger foods for a fresh and flavorful bite.  

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.

Ingredients: (Makes 3 Cups) 

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
salt + pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add salt, thyme, and balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until beginning to caramelize and soften. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in garlic and Worcestershire and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and place in a medium mixing bowl to cool.
  4. Once onions are completely cooled, add Greek yogurt and mix.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Store in fridge for up to three days.

PRO TIP: Serve with veggies for optimal nutrient value! If choosing a chip, choose whole grain or pita if possible. Aim for 2-3 grams of fiber or more per serving.

    Corporate Wellness Nutrition logo 

    Meet With a Registered Dietitian Today!

    • One-on-one, virtual nutrition counseling
    • 100% covered under many insurance plans and available to spouses and dependents
    • Simple Sign Up Process – Visit Penn’s Corporate Wellness Nutrition’s Sign Up page, provide your information and a customer service team member will reach out in one to two business days to book your appointment.

    Did You Know: February Wellness Walk at the Palestra

    Penn Human Resources is taking its wellness walk inside the Palestra, 223 S. 33rd Street, on February 14 at 12 p.m. The Center for Public Health Initiatives team will lead staff and faculty on a two-mile walk to increase physical activity and steps. You will need to wear a mask and show a Green PennOpen Pass to enter. In celebration of Go Red for Heart Health Day, you are invited to wear red! Register today.



    Story Tips

    Is there a Human Resources benefit, program or service you'd like to hear more about?

    Send us your suggestions.