The best practices honors is a national recognition that highlights those local psychologically healthy workplace award winners with a single program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees.

Orion Associates received a Best Practices Honor from the American Psychological Association (APA) at the annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony held on March 1, 2009, in Washington, D.C.  Orion was recognized for its work encouraging and supporting volunteerism among its employees and its mission to serve communities in need.

The APA recognized this practice of encouraging volunteerism to be an example of promoting employee growth and development, one component of a psychologically healthy workplace.  Orion Associates was one of ten organizations to receive the Best Practices recognition at the ceremony.  Orion is a previous winner of the Minnesota Psychological Association’s State-Level Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, qualifying it to be nominated for APA’s Best Practices Honors.

In 2005, Orion Associates took its long history of volunteerism to a new level with the “River of Hope” project, created to assist the people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Employees helped swell a volunteer pool to almost five hundred, working tirelessly alongside plumbers, electricians and contractors to gut and rebuild homes.  To date, the “River of Hope” project has contributed more than $600,000 in materials and supplies to New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and other parts of the city.  Orion also formed a volunteer Mental Health Resource Center to help the community address its mental health needs.

As an outgrowth of the “River of Hope” project, Orion Associates formed the non-profit “Headwaters Relief Organization.”  Every penny of the money Headwaters raises goes back into the community.  As a result, according to Forbes Magazine, Headwaters is one of the most efficient relief organizations in operation.

“In these tough economic times, a healthy, productive workforce is more important than ever,” says David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA’s assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy.  “Employers who embrace the connection between health and well-being and organizational performance are better able to develop a high-performing workforce that serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  Orion Associate’s volunteer efforts demonstrate that investing in employee growth and development and being a good corporate citizen can help optimize outcomes for employees, organizations and the communities they serve.”

The Best Practices Honors is a national recognition that highlights those local Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners with a single program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees.  Nominees come from a pool of previous local winners and are selected through a competitive evaluation and judging process.

More information about the Best Practices Honorees and APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners is available at  Organizations interested in learning more about creating a psychologically healthy workplace or applying for an award in their state, province or territory can visit

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists.  APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.

Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.