Health & wellness insights from Dr. Tim

Our chief medical officer shares his health and wellness insights

4 min read

Physician taking blood pressure of patient sitting on doctor's office table

“Right now, many of us are feeling anxiety. Anxiety is often rooted in fear. Fear is typically of the unknown, and knowledge helps to overcome that. Please remember that you have 40,000-plus Progressive people right there with you, and as a company, Progressive offers numerous resources in a variety of formats to help you cope.”

These words came from Progressive’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tim, to the inboxes of employees in early March 2020 at the onset of a pandemic that would soon change the world as we know it. One of those resources he referenced turned out to be Dr. Tim himself.

Science-backed solutions

Since that time, Dr. Tim offered his viewpoint on the objective science around COVID-19, as well as many of Progressive’s employee benefits and health and wellness offerings, in his biweekly all-company update that came to be known inside Progressive as “Tuesdays with Dr. Tim.”

We’ve long featured a monthly health topic with employees to help educate people on the health and wellness resources available to them here. “We know healthy employees are happier and more productive. But the pandemic really became a change agent in many ways for many employees,” explains Dr. Tim.

As the pandemic progressed month after month, employees were inundated with information about how to keep themselves and others healthy. Dr. Tim sees his role as helping to sort through the avalanche of information and find the helpful tidbits of knowledge to share with others. As Dr. Tim puts it, “The art of medicine is understanding the objective science and then applying it to the individual in a thoughtful, personalized way. I’ve found you gain credibility by bringing that science to people and helping them solve a problem.” In the early days of COVID-19 one of those problems was trying to make sense of multiple messages from multiple sources.

During his 20-plus-year tenure as an in-house physician for Progressive, Dr. Tim’s become a trusted medical resource for many employees. His perspective of level setting with the objective science made his weekly updates appealing to employees. “Things are rarely black and white,” Dr. Tim says. “You have to be based in reality. I receive many responses from employees thanking me for being a voice of reason; for sharing a matter of fact, ‘this is the science’ type of message during a confusing time for many.”

The mission of Health Services at Progressive

As Dr. Tim puts it, his role as chief medical officer has always been to provide value for the company through the health of our people. And that’s really the overarching mission of Progressive’s Health Services organization, our in-house medical clinics, and services available to all employees: to motivate, educate, and empower Progressive people to improve their health and quality of life. This mission’s been the driving force behind a continually evolving suite of health and wellness offerings since it was established in 1987.

In the early days of our Health Services offerings, the care offered was more for incidental visits—a sprained ankle, a sore throat, and the like. But over the years, it moved to a more primary care resource for employees. And with that evolution came the introduction of comprehensive programs designed to treat the whole person, including on-site fitness centers, flu vaccination clinics, mammograms, nutrition services, ergonomic workspace assessments, and an array of mental and emotional health support offerings. As Dr. Tim puts it, “Health services in the outside world is more reactive—more disease-driven. With the services we offer for our employees, we want to be more proactive.”

Looking to the future of Health Services at Progressive

“My role’s always been to provide value for the company—the health of the people. We’re continually looking forward to see how we can best do that for employees; how we can best help to keep people healthy.”

As the circumstances around the pandemic continue to evolve—and as Progressive’s employee population continues to increase—Dr. Tim and his team keep their eyes on what the world will look like when it comes to health and wellness, and how we can pivot to keep up with that. They’re being planful for how they’ll continue to meet employees where they are—offering their services virtually—as well as how to expand their programs. “The future is exciting in this respect,” Dr. Tim says. “We’re offering virtually available solutions, and it’s part of a larger comprehensive plan to support our greatest asset: our Progressive people.”

Dr. Tim Kowalski MD FCCO, CPE, is Progressive’s Chief Medical Officer. He has more than 25 years of experience in the medical field. He's board certified in pulmonary medicine, which is the treatment of respiratory infections. In addition he's board certified in general internal, critical care, and sleep medicines from the American Board of Internal Medicine.

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