From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Thomas Smith
This June marks National Safety Month – a month that acknowledges the importance of safety in the workplace, as well as in our communities, through education, leadership and advocacy.
At Disney, safety is an important tenet and it starts with our cast members. Our dedicated cast members are at the heart of every great Disney experience, and the secret to the magic. It’s for that reason that Disney’s Four Keys – including Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency – were created to serve as a compass for our cast members to create happiness and serve others.
Safety is the first key as a reminder that it is a top priority in the decisions we make – both for our cast members, and for our guests. It’s a foundation that was introduced by Walt Disney himself many decades ago.
It takes a variety of highly talented team members in different roles, working together to promote a healthy and safe environment at our Disney Parks and stores. And as we continue with the phased reopening of our parks, resorts and stores around the world, we’re excited to introduce you to a just a few of these professionals who are helping shape, monitor and implement our enhanced health and safety measures. They’re working closely with industry groups, research universities and public health agencies to promote safe practices while we work, stay, and play at Disney parks, resorts and Disney stores.
Meet some of our team members
Dr. Pamela Hymel – Chief Medical Officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
Dr. Pamela Hymel has been with Disney for nearly 10 years, serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, where she’s responsible for developing global occupational health and wellness strategy, as well as managing domestic occupational medicine clinics and programs, guest first aid services and wellness programs.
Dr. Hymel received her MD from Louisiana State University in New Orleans and a master’s in public health from Tulane University. From there, she went on to do her Internal Medicine and Occupational Medicine training at University of California, Irvine and is board certified in both areas.
“The programs I work on give me an opportunity to improve the health and wellness of our cast members,” said Dr. Hymel. “An example of an initiative we introduced at Disney is how our health and wellness team developed the Incredible Athlete pilots at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The program really integrated physical conditioning instruction with education on sleep and nutrition for optimum performance and is designed to help prevent injuries from occurring. It is very rewarding to know we are helping our cast optimize their performance at home and at work.”
Katie Kelly – Vice President, Worldwide Safety Services
Katie Kelly began her Disney journey nearly 17 years ago as a professional intern. Now, she serves as the Vice President of Worldwide Safety Services for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, where she’s responsible for developing and implementing safety programs that keep the wellness of cast members and guests top of mind.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and master’s degree in Engineering Management from University of Central Florida, she went on to become a licensed professional engineer in the states of Florida and California.
“The best part about working at Disney is that you get to share what you do with your kids,” said Kelly. “Seeing the joy that my kids have from visiting one of our theme parks is what drives my passion for the job. I want every one of our cast members to be able to experience that joy with their own family and that starts with promoting their safety here at work so that they can go home and enjoy time with their families at the end of the day.”
Dr. Michael Hankins – Chief Physician, Walt Disney World
Dr. Michael Hankins has been with Disney for more than 27 years and serves as the Chief Physician at Walt Disney World Resort. In his role, he provides care for cast members at the Occupational Health Clinic within the park, as well as developing improvements to support the safety of all cast.
Dr. Hankins received his MD from University of Florida and a master’s in public health from Medical College of Wisconsin. From there, he went on to develop a background in Family Medicine with a strong emphasis on preventing illness and injury. In 1995, he worked to computerize our medical operation before most other medical clinics. Today, he is proud to provide cast members with the same level of medical care that he would expect his family to receive.
“The major focus throughout my career has been to advocate for and work toward improving the health and wellness of all cast members,” said Dr. Hankins. “Seeing the ongoing efforts within Disney aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of our cast members and preventing workplace injuries makes it easy for me to remain committed to support these efforts.”
Dr. Gabriel Guo – Chief Physician, Shanghai Disney Resort
Dr. Gabriel Guo has been with Disney for five years, currently serving as the Chief Physician of Shanghai Disney Resort, leading the resort’s medical team that consists of doctors, nurses and other healthcare specialists.
Having studied Clinical Medicine at Peking University in Beijing, China, his team provides health services to both cast members and guests at the resort. In response to COVID-19 related questions from cast members, a special “Ask Dr. Guo” segment was established, allowing Dr. Guo to answer a variety of health-related topics raised by cast members through a question and answer series.
“I believe that what my team and I do makes a difference, since we have the expertise to try to help those who aren’t feeling well,” said Dr. Guo. “We can help our guests and cast members have a healthy and happy experience at our park.”
Joseph Yip – Director of Security, Safety, Fire and Health Services, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Joseph Yip has been with Hong Kong Disneyland Resort for 15 years, currently serving as the Director of Security, Safety, Fire and Health Services. In his role, he is responsible for developing and coordinating Disney’s safety and health efforts at the resort for cast members and guests.
Having studied management science at University of Wales, UK, Joseph brings decades of experience to his role at the resort. He was an advocate for the creation of the Safety & Wellness Council and Committee, aimed to help leaders focus on guest safety methods, safety and wellness policies, and programs for cast members. Since 2006, HKDL has received more than 350 safety and wellness awards from different organizations.
“Family, happiness and good memories are the three key drivers that keep me always looking for opportunities to enhance the safety and wellness for our guests, cast members and loved ones,” said Joseph. “Safety is not just a core value of our business – but also an important part of our lives.”
Dr. Nicolas Duport – Medical Doctor, Disneyland Paris
Dr. Nicolas Duport joined the Disneyland Paris team earlier this year, currently serving as a Medical Doctor for the resort. In his role, he is responsible for proposing preventative health measures that aim to benefit the health and wellness of the resort’s cast members. Alongside his colleague, Dr. Cyril Warmberg, they coordinate closely with health, safety and security teams to ensure safety remains the top priority at the resort.
Dr. Duport received his master’s in epidemiology and public health at the University of Nancy I, followed by his doctorate in medicine at the University of Paris VII. He also received his diploma of specialized studies in public health and social medicine in 2003. He previously worked for Santé Publique France, the French equivalent of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a scientific project manager for nearly 15 years. He also received his qualification in occupational medicine at the University of Reims earlier this year before starting his role with the Disneyland Paris team.
“There are many things unique to Disneyland Paris that I find really exciting, including a diversity of professions, a complete medical team of eight doctors working together within and to support a commercial business – which is very rare in France – and the chance to use all of my specialties in one place,” Dr. Duport said.
These professionals, along with their colleagues and teams will continue to work with their local industry partners, as well as health and government authorities to promote the health and safety of guests and cast members.
We’re looking forward to welcoming all of you back to our Disney parks, resorts and stores. Until we are together once again, we wish you and your families’ health, hope, and happiness!