What will you do as a Certified Health Coach?

A health coach partners with individuals through the process of behavior change. This is done through support in setting goals, unearthing values, strengths, and motivations, and encouraging the development of sustainable healthy behaviors and attitudes.

Health coaches are credentialed members of the healthcare industry who have additional training in the science of health behavior change. Coaches combine their medical expertise with coaching skills to manage a variety of chronic medical conditions (metabolic syndrome, heart disease, pain, etc.).

Whether you work as an independent Health Coach or as a provider that uses Health Coaching skills, being trained as a Health Coach can elevate the level of care you provide to patients.

Potential Job Titles for Health Coaches include:

  • Health Coach
  • Clinical Health Coach
  • Integrative Health Coach
  • Care Coordinator
  • Transitions Coach
  • Disease Management Nurse

Where Will You Practice?

The Certified Health Coach has many practice settings from which to choose.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Medical Offices
  • Integrative Medicine Practices
  • Private Practice
  • Health Departments
  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Insurance companies

How Will Vanderbilt Prepare You for Practice?

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center and The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt’s certification program is a year long program with over 100 hours of course of study.

The curriculum emphasizes acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to provide health coaching for patients at each stage along the health spectrum, from wellness to those managing chronic illness and disease.

This course also has a heavy emphasis on self-care and self-awareness, which is the core of the health coaching experience. The program is offered in a modified distance format with two on-campus intensives.

The Health Coaching Certificate Program requires a significant amount of out-of-classroom study time and group work. In earning your certification in Health Coaching, your educational experience will include:

Web based and onsite modules:

  • Foundations in Health Coaching
  • Patient Centered Approach
  • Behavior Change Theory and Application
  • Health Coaching Skills & Tools
  • Health Coaching Application
  • Disease Specific Coaching
  • Mindfulness
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Positive Psychology
  • Scope of Practice, Referrals, and Ethics
  • Health Coaching Research

Intensive health coaching practicum:

  • Weekly telephonic coaching sessions with peers
  • Onsite patient simulation lab
  • Mentoring

Personal engagement in the health change process:

  • Experiential work with Positive Psychology & Mindfulness
  • Personal change project

About our Program Director

Dr. Ruth Wolever, PhD, is the Director of Health Coaching: Research, Practice & Education, jointly hired with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and Health and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

She is a clinical health psychologist with 21 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating behavior change programs for medical patients and those at risk for chronic disease. She is a nationally recognized expert on Health and Wellness Coaching and one of the elected leaders of the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching (ICHWC), a non-profit organization which has launched the first national certification for health and wellness coaches.

Dr. Wolever is also a national leader in the study of mindfulness-based approaches to self-regulation and lifestyle change (particularly stress and eating behaviors, binge eating, weight loss and weight loss maintenance), as well as innovative treatments for medication adherence, insomnia, tinnitus, and other stress-related disorders. Her clinical research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NCCAM, Office of Women’s Health, NHLBI, and NIDCD), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, industry, and philanthropy.

Dr. Wolever has served as an expert in emotional health and behavior change for Everyday Health on the web, for GlaxoSmithKline, for Nurtur (a fully-owned subsidiary of Centene), for the Samueli Institute, and for clinics on better integrating behavioral health into primary care models. Finally, Dr. Wolever serves as the Chief Scientific Advisor for eMindful.