The Community Health Coach Program: Learn more from participants

Want to interact with local healthcare professionals in both an academic and clinical space? Interested in working with patients in the local community? Now is your chance! This program is provided in partnership with Licking Memorial Hospital and Denison’s Knowlton Center for Career Exploration. Read on to learn more from two program participants.

Esme Wright, Junior Biology major
2022-2023 Participant

“The first part of the Community Health Coach Program involves a once a week seminar class where we learned the skills that one needs to be a health coach. This included presentations from staff of Licking Memorial Hospital on a variety of topics, including diabetes education, population health, mental health and so much more. We were also taught skills like motivational interviewing and how to take vitals very early on in the semester, which allowed for plenty of time to practice our skills before we were assigned a patient.

Before second semester started, there was a two day boot camp where we refreshed all the skills that we learned the past semester, were given a tour of Licking Memorial hospital, and met with our nurse case managers to receive our patient assignments. The bootcamp experience assured me that I was ready to assist my patient. 

Although I have only had one visit with my patient, this experience has already been rewarding, and I am excited that I have a whole semester of patient interaction in front of me. I know I will be able to carry many of the skills that I learned last semester with me through life. Learning skills that health professionals use has been very interesting and is something unique about this experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is considering any kind of career in healthcare, or any kind of career where you might be helping someone achieve their goals.”

Esme Wright taking a blood pressure reading at the Community Health Coach Bootcamp, January ’23

Fernanda Aiala, Senior Biology major
2019-2020 Participant

“The Community Health Coach Program was the first time I was able to experience what it was like to have a patient and to build a connection with a patient. This has further highlighted to me that in my future career path, I want to continue to make connections with my patients and establish trust so that I can always provide the best help to my patients. 

The semester that I was a health coach was during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and because of this, I was not able to meet in person with my patient. My patient and I had weekly phone calls, in which we would talk about her symptoms and her treatment. Eventually, I felt my patient open up more and more to me. She was honest with me about how she was feeling, and she confided in me about her personal and family life. During our semester meetings my patient even decided to stop smoking and said that I was part of the reason that she decided to quit. I didn’t realize how much of an effect I was able to make in other people’s lives until that moment and it felt so rewarding to know that I was able to help. Although it has been around 2 years since my patient and I met regularly, we still maintain contact. My patient will still call me every few weeks in order to catch up. The Community Health Coach Program was an incredible experience in which I was able to learn so much about different chronic illnesses and also to learn more about how to interact with a patient and different ways to provide them with the best care.”

If you are interested in the Community Health Coach Program, you will need to submit an online application. When you are ready to start, click here to access and begin the application.

All applications must be submitted no later than February 10th, 2023, by 5:00 PM.

By Sara Stasko
Sara Stasko Senior Associate Director