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Does your company offer access to a health coach?

Long-term behavior change is hard– really hard. Just think of the last time you or someone you know has tried to exercise more, eat differently, or stop smoking. How difficult was it to start, continue, and then maintain that change over the long haul? For most of us, each phase of behavior change is difficult. Nevertheless, it is often necessary– sometimes even medically necessary!

Traditionally, the US health care system has not been set up in a way to facilitate and support behavior change. For example, if a patient is told that they need to exercise in order to better control their diabetes, that advice may be difficult to implement and maintain, particularly for someone who does not exercise regularly.

If you don’t have access to health coaching services through an employer, you still have options! Here are just a few:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offers its 24-Hour Nurse Line to all of its health plan members. Members can consult with a nurse about health conditions, and request referrals to chronic disease management programs in their community. Visit the Nurse Line site for phone numbers and more information about the program. If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan member, additional resources may be available to help coach you to, and through, wellness—check your online member account for details and eligibility.
  • The state of Michigan offers a program called Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) to anyone seeking to manage chronic or long-term health conditions. The six-week program is offered at no- or low- cost in accessible locations throughout the state. Interested? Learn more.
  • Looking for a way to learn, track wellness indicators (like diet and exercise), and communicate with others? A Healthier Michigan now offers #HealthyMe, an online community to help you help you with all of this, and more. It’s free and available to everyone.

If you’re interested in reading more about health coaches, here’s a great piece from Alex Nixon on Trib Total Media.

So, have you worked with a health coach or programs like these? Is working with a health coach or wellness program interesting to you? Tell us more!

Have questions?  Post them at, or email them to

This post was contributed by Shannon Saksewski (Health Education Program Manager, Detroit Regional Chamber).  Shannon can be contacted at