Who We Are

The National Wellness Institute (NWI) is the leader in providing professional development and engagement opportunities that support individuals from a variety of disciplines in promoting whole–person wellness. At the core of NWI’s offerings are the Wellness Promotion Competency Model (the standard for the Certified Wellness Practitioner certification), the Six Dimensions of Wellness model, and the Multicultural Competency in Wellness Model, which guide strategies toward creating a multidimensional, multicultural, high-level wellness society.

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Our Vision

The vision of the National Wellness Institute (NWI) is to activate and advance inclusive cultures of well-being for all.

NWI’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan Overview

Our Mission

NWI’s mission is to elevate and empower professionals who drive inclusive whole-person wellness that enables people to function optimally within their environment. 

We accomplish this mission by:

    • Offering competency-building programs, strategies, and solutions.
    • Establishing standards of excellence for practices, policies, and systems.
    • Developing and providing evidence-informed resources for practical application.
    • Creating spaces for connection, collaboration, and networking

Our Pillars

Professional Develpoment
We deliver next-level learning, training, and certification programs to upskill professionals and positively impact the health and wellness of individuals, organizations, and communities. 

Practical Application
We help bridge the gaps between current research, thought leadership, and practical application by providing high-quality resources, learning opportunities, and services that activate whole-person wellness.

Professional Standards
We establish standards, develop frameworks, and provide resources that support the implementation of highly effective, compliant, ethical, multicultural, and multidimensional wellness practices and strategies.

Connection & Collaboration
We offer engagement opportunities for wellness-promoting professionals, organizations, and communities to collaborate, cultivate connections, expand their networks, and influence growth and change.

Our History

The National Wellness Institute, Inc. (NWI) was officially formed in 1977, but held two wellness symposiums (1975 and 1976) prior to the official organizational launch. Originally, the organization was launched under the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) Foundation, as the Institute for Lifestyle Improvement. Two UWSP faculty, Dennis Elsenrath, EdD, CWP, director of counseling services and Bill Hettler, MD, CWP, director of health services, along with the V.P. of Student Life, Fred Leafgren came together to start a movement on the idea that we, as humans, could live better, healthier lives through the principles of balance and awareness. In 1976, Dr. Hettler released what was to become the base philosophy for the National Wellness Institute: the Six Dimensions of Wellness model. The six dimensions are intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, and physical. By balancing these six dimensions and actively seeking to improve them, the organization’s founders believed individuals could improve their overall well-being.

In 1985, the name of the organization was changed to the National Wellness Institute to reflect a more global mission. Then, in 1988, NWI separated from the UWSP Foundation and applied for its own nonprofit status, which was granted August 3, 1989. The National Wellness Institute is a registered 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

NWI began certifying wellness practitioners in early 2009, and the NWI Wellness Promotion Competency model now serves as the standard for the Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) credential.

Each year, NWI welcomes well-minded individuals to its annual National Wellness Conference. Today, the organization continues to have an active membership and educational outreach program and continues to expand its offerings to meet the growing needs of wellness professionals globally.

Download Your Copy of the Organizational Wellness Inventory PDF


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