25 Oct 2022

Coach Training Program Aims for Whole Health

By uci_admin
Marcelle Hayashida portrait and quote: "I feel more inspired professionally since taking this course. I am inspired to help people move through ambivalence and into the full expression of their most fulfilling lives."

You can know that certain lifestyle changes may help to prevent, treat or reverse some diseases and even lengthen your life, but still not be able to change your life. A health and wellness coach might just be what the doctor orders.

Health and wellness coaches are partners in change, helping clients define a personalized path to better health that aligns with their values and health goals.

In the past year, the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute introduced Academic Integrative Medicine (AIM) Health and Wellness Coaching, a program to train individuals in the tools and techniques that make effective coaches. The program was developed with funding from Linda Mussallem, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Advisory Board member, and her husband, Michael, chairman & CEO of Edwards Lifesciences and a UCI Foundation trustee.

The six-month certificate course offers a particular focus on supporting people in underserved and underrepresented populations. Participants also get tips on effective collaboration with colleagues on interdisciplinary health teams.

“A health and wellness coach can extend clinical services to help the patient better understand and implement treatment in order to reach optimum health and happiness,” said Robert McCarron, DO, director of education for the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.

AIM Health and Wellness Coaching students benefit from the Samueli Institute’s roots in academic medicine. They are taught to apply evidence-based behavioral change and coaching strategies to help clients select and adopt lifestyle changes.

Marcelle Hayashida, PhD, a trained clinical psychologist, enrolled in the course because she saw it “as a natural extension of my curiosity about human flourishing and thriving.” Hayashida, who is Associate Vice Chancellor of Wellness, Health & Counseling Services at UCI, joined a diverse group of healthcare professionals in the first cohort of the AIM Health and Wellness Coaching certificate program, including a doctor of nursing practice and medical doctors.

“I particularly enjoyed our conversations about ways that clients can take a proactive approach to their own wellbeing and be active partners with their medical providers about what works for them. I really enjoyed the refresher on mindfulness and its benefits,” said Hayashida. “I also really enjoyed the deep dive into motivational interviewing techniques, as it is so important to behavior change.”

The Samueli Institute’s AIM Health and Wellness Coaching course is one of 110 training programs approved by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and the only such program offered by a University of California school. The Samueli Institute program fulfills the training requirement for the board certification exam, which was developed by NBHWC in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners.

For Hayashida, the integrative education offered both personal and professional benefits.

“I feel more centered. I feel like I have more agency in my own wellbeing. I feel more excited about being a healer in this world. And I feel more inspired professionally since taking this course. I am inspired to help people move through ambivalence and into the full expression of their most fulfilling lives.”

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