Health Coaches Program - Spring 2014

Health Coaches Program – Spring 2014

If you are considering any kind of a health career, I have some exciting news about a program in which you might be interested. Beginning in the fall, St. Lawrence University students will have the opportunity to get involved with the Health Coaches program through the Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH). The way the program will work is that after a didactic semester course, students will be assigned to patients who are being discharged from CPH. Students will then have an extensive telephone and home visit contact with these patients (at least one home visit per week). The goal is for the Health Coaches to help the patients understand, and then encourage them to follow, their discharge orders. You will also be trained to recognize potential problems, and when questions arise you will notify the rest of the health care team. Although you will obviously not be practicing medicine, you will be an important member of the health care team, which will include the physicians, physician assistants, case managers, social workers and the rest of the CPH staff. Basically the program is aimed at developing practical approaches to support patients.  If you are considering a health career which involves patient contact as part of the application process, the time you spend as a Health Coach will obviously help you fulfill that application requirement.

During the didactic semester you will learn about confidentiality, diagnosis and treatment, how to be an effective member of the health care team, the challenges of community health and how to deal sympathetically with patients and their families. Once you become part of the health care team, you will meet regularly with the other coaches and the rest of the health care team to review patient progress, something like what happens during grand rounds in teaching hospitals. The CPH Health Coaches program is patterned after a similar program at Allegheny College.  Reports from the students, patients and staff involved with this program have been spectacular. The premeds involved with the program report being super prepared for things like medical school interviews.

If you participate in the program, you will receive 0.5 units of credit per semester. If you begin as a first semester junior, over four semesters you could receive a total of 2 units of credit towards graduation. If you begin as a senior you will have two semesters of credit for a total of 1 unit credit. The didactic classes will be held on campus.

The minimum academic requirements for the program are an overall GPA of at least 3.2 and a science (biology, chemistry, physics, neuroscience, biochemistry and math) GPA of 3.2. The class will meet on Tuesday morning from 8:00 AM until to 10:00 AM. Attendance and participation will be required. In addition, if you are accepted into the program the expectation will be that you will be available for the most of the rest of the semesters you will be a student at SLU. So, if you are a senior, the expectation is that you will participate both semesters. If you are a junior the expectation is that you will participate for at least three semesters.

The members of the Health Careers are very excited about the Health Coaches. We view this as a win, win, win program. The patients win because they are more likely to follow medical advice and less likely to require a re-admit to the hospital. The hospital wins because fewer ER visits and re-admits have a positive effect on its bottom line. The Health Coaches win because they have the opportunity to see medicine from the perspective of the patients – an experience that will shape the way the practice and the way they deal with others throughout their careers.

I hope you will consider applying to participate in the program.

David Hornung, Chair, Health Careers Committee

The application form follows:

Health Coaches Application – Spring 2014

If you are interested in applying for the Health Coaches program, please provide your name and class. Then please provide the selection committee with the following information:

  1. Why are you interested in the program?  How would participation in this program support your career goals?
  2. What personal strengths do you have that you think will make you a good Health Coach?
  3. What do you feel is your greatest academic strength?
  4. What do you most often criticize others for?
  5. What are you most often criticized for?
  6. Please provide the names of two SLU faculty or staff members who we could contact about your suitability for the Health Coaches Program.
  7. Please provide any other information that you would like us to consider in evaluating your application.

The completed application should be sent electronically to Dr. David Hornung ( or you can put a printed copy in Dr. Hornung’s bio department mailbox.  If  you return a completed application electronically please put the phrase “Health Coaches Application” in the subject heading of the email.

Applications must be received by March 7.