Health Coaches Program | St. Lawrence University Biology

Health Coaches Program

Health Coaches Program

This program, in collaboration with Canton-Potsdam Hospital, is an opportunity for SLU students to get hands-on experience being part of the healthcare team and supporting chronically ill individuals as they set goals and make changes to improve their health. See course descriptions below.

Admission to the program is by instructor permission only. Interested students should submit an unofficial transcript (BIOL 101 & 102 prerequisites, minimum cumulative GPA: 3.0) and essay explaining their career goal as a member of the health care team, and how this course will help them achieve this goal. These materials will be reviewed by Jane Kring MD (jkring@stlawu.edu) starting at 5PM on 4/8/20 and admissible candidates will be notified by 4/10/20.  After 4/8/20 transcripts and essays will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the course is filled.

Students accepted to Health Coaches are expected to participate in both semesters. In order to be matched with a patient in the spring semester, students are required to submit proof of current vaccinations, and to pass a drug screen and background check.

Students should apply to participate as sophomores or juniors so that they will be upperclassmen (juniors or seniors) during the Health Coaches program.

Health Coaches I & II meet on Tuesday mornings between 10:10-11:40AM and are worth 0.5 credits each. (These courses DO NOT count toward Biology major requirements.)

BIO 304 - Health Coaches I with CBL (0.5 units)

The fall semester of Health Coaches is focused on understanding the role of different members of the health care team, gaining perspective on the nature of chronic disease, and learning skills including motivational interviewing. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement, outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend up to/at least two hours per week in the community. This will allow students the opportunity to practice the skills being discussed in class. A wide variety of speakers including multiple physicians, health care administrators, physical therapists, nutritionists, hospice staff, clinical psychologists and other members of the health care team will speak to students about a variety of topics including the role of the health coach, population health, empathy, end of life care, cardiovascular screening, Diabetes Mellitus, physical therapy, nutrition, and the changing face of medicine. Instructor permission only.

BIO 305 – Health Coaches II with CBL (0.5 units)

During the spring semester of Health Coaches, students are assigned a chronically ill individual to visit, call and assist with setting and achieving health goals. After the initial patient visit and introduction by a healthcare professional, students spend 1-2 hours a week alone with their patient, talking about and implementing changes that will benefit their health. Most class periods are dedicated to clinical conferences, where students present their patients’ health challenges and current goals. Other professionals on the healthcare team will be present to share ideas that have worked with previous patients and offer support. Other class periods will focus on disease conditions affecting the health coach client population including substance abuse, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and behavioral changes that effectively manage these challenges. Instructor permission required.  BIO 304 is required as a prerequisite course.