Students learn coaching skills for better health
ON THE GREEN | A team led by a UD professor is developing a post-baccalaureate health coaching certification program, which will train students in the motivational and behavior-change skills needed to promote health and prevent disease.
Michael Peterson, chair of the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, is leading the team, which was awarded a $20,000 educational grant by the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance.
The program is aimed at preparing health professionals to work in a clinical setting as part of a team to facilitate behavior change among at-risk patients, to decrease demand for health care services and to reduce morbidity across the lifespan.
“Sixty percent of the factors leading to premature death are under our control,” Peterson says. “These include things like smoking, obesity, stress and inactivity. Health coaching is emerging as a viable way to help people adopt behaviors that reduce their risk.”
The health coaching certification joins an academic track at UD that already includes a bachelor’s degree in health behavior science and a master’s degree in health promotion. In fact, Peterson says, overlap in the course offerings for the master’s degree and the coaching certificate will enable interested students to earn both credentials at the same time with just a few additional requirements.