NIWH Participates in Historic Summit to Develop Plan for National Coaching Standards


On September 26-27 in Wellesley, MA, NIWH, along with 70 other leaders in the medical, nursing, psychology, health education, research, credentialing, academic, coach training and coaching fields gathered at a historic event, The Summit on Standards and Credentialing of Professional Coaches in Healthcare and Wellness, to establish a plan for national coaching standards for the education and certification of professional health and wellness coaches.

Dr. Georgianna Donadio, Program Director for NIWH, joined together with high-level representatives from Duke University, HealthCorps, the Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the University of Minnesota and the American College of Sports Medicine to help catalyze a transformation in healthcare. The event was supported by a grant from The Institute for Integrative Health. It was led by co-chairs Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation, and Karen Lawson, MD, Director of Health Coaching at the University of Minnesota. The 3-day event was attended by participating medical luminaries Michael Roiden, MD, Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, and David Eisenberg, MD, renowned Harvard Integrative Medicine researcher.

Seventy percent of today’s healthcare costs are related to preventable life style-related diseases. There is an urgent need for well-educated, skilled, credentialed coaches to help shift the focus of healthcare from illness and repair to wellness and prevention, empowering individuals to take control of their own health and well-being. Despite its immense growth in recent years, no national standards exist for professional health and wellness coaching. Presently, the title of “health coach” and “wellness coach” can be used by anyone regardless of whether they have completed training or not and programs vary widely.

“Health and wellness coaches will play an integral role in the prevention portion of the healthcare reform legislation they will help catalyze a transformation in healthcare,” explained Pam Peele MD, MPH, national spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine campaign and advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General.

“This historic event represents a shifting of consciousness in healthcare. We are collectively tasked with evolving a new model of care, one that is relationship-centered and prevention focused, in service to the whole person”, comments NIWH Director, Georgianna Donadio, DC, MSc, PhD.

Established in 1977, NIWH is the pioneer of Whole Health Education® and Behavioral Engagement™, the first patient education and health coaching model developed and utilized in clinical settings. NIWH’s programs provide health and wellness coaching competencies, as well as integrative, evidence-based whole health science programs and courses for medical, allied health, education, fitness and wellness professionals. This model has been recognized as a Best Practice by a Harvard hospital and nominated for the Fetzer Institute’s Norman Cousin’s Award for Best Practice in Relationship-Centered Care.

Participants in the Summit included:

American Association of Diabetes Educators
American College of Sports Medicine
American Holistic Nurses Association
Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts
Case Management Society of America
Cleveland Clinic
Duke Integrative Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Vanguard Medical Association
Mayo Clinic
Nightingale Initiative of Global Health
University of Bridgeport
University of California San Diego
University of Minnesota, Center for Spirituality & Healing
Vanderbilt University Medical Center