Gannon University’s Community Health Coaches Partner with Local Hospital
Posted: August 14, 2014
Navigating the rapidly changing landscape of the U.S. health
care system can be a challenge, even for those who know the
territory. Preparing the next generation of health care providers
to move comfortably and wisely in this terrain is the goal of
Gannon University's Community Health Coaches course.
A new, collaborative effort between the University and Saint
Vincent Hospital, this course offers a unique learning experience
where students engage in dialogue to contemplate the challenges
facing health care in today's dynamic environment. These
discussions are guided by a diverse team of health professionals
from Saint Vincent, which includes physicians, a neurologist,
nurses, a dietitian, a women's health specialist, a medical
malpractice lawyer, a psychologist, transitional care
representatives and more.
This past semester, the inaugural class of six Gannon students,
who are pursuing careers in pharmacy, medicine and community
health, met for a discussion that was facilitated each week by a
different leader from the Saint Vincent health team. Together, the
students and professionals explored ways to optimize the health
outcomes and well-being of at-risk patients by developing
individualized educational and motivational support plans for
specific case studies. In the subsequent semester, students will be
trained as community health coach interns and will make individual,
guided visits to patient homes.
The course allows students to identify mentors and role models
working in the respective fields they are planning to enter, and to
gain valuable, long-term interaction with patients under the
careful guidance of Saint Vincent staff. The internship course also
helps Saint Vincent Hospital to identify students who will serve as
health coaches someday.
The course has already gained popularity and recognition among
Gannon pre-professional students. In the Fall 2014 Semester, ten
students will enter the program with most of the inaugural class
completing the internship this fall.
"Through programs such as this, our students have the
opportunity to learn vital skills, interact with patients and their
families, and communicate with members of the health care team-
things they will not get from their textbooks or science labs,"
said Provost and Vice President Carolynn Masters, Ph.D.