In this brief, we examine the health coaching model of Harlem-based City Health Works. City Health Works coaches use an evidence-based curriculum and motivational interviewing to educate clients about their chronic disease and help them improve their nutrition, medication adherence, physical activity, stress management, and engagement with primary care providers. Lay coaches are hired locally, receive intensive training, and consult with a registered dietician/diabetes educator and a social worker. The clients we interviewed were usually effusive in their praise, and said coaching helped them better understand and manage their condition. Some credited the trusting friendships they developed with their coach as making them more receptive to their coach’s advice. Coaches focused on teaching clients how to eat healthier, and most clients reported lowered hemoglobin A1c levels and feeling better physically and emotionally.
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