strengthening primary care both today and tomorrow


Most of us need a helping hand to make lifestyle changes. Losing weight, exercising more or quitting smoking are tall hurdles to jump. People with resources may go on-line, join a weight loss group or a hire a personal trainer to get motivated.  When someone suffers from a chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease, not clearing those hurdles may be life threatening. If that person also struggles with economic disadvantages, then health behavior change may be an overwhelming challenge.

That’s why, in 2008, Highland Hospital’s Primary Care Medicine Residency in Oakland, California created a volunteer premed health coach project.  As far as we know, we were the first to do so. Our colleague, Dr. Thomas Bodenheimer, inspired us. He and his colleagues developed a health coach model using other medical workers. We required a model that depended on volunteers. Who better than premedical students? Premeds are caring, bright, conscientious and hungry for immersive health care experiences. We hoped that premeds trained in motivational interviewing, and teamed with our resident physicians, could help underserved patients find their own paths towards healthier behaviors. We were right. Hear from the coaches and residents themselves ...


Why premed health coaching?

Who are we?

We are a group of volunteer premedical students and primary care physicians who have teamed together to provide accessible health behavior counseling to Alameda County low-income patients.