For this #PackChat, we’re sitting down again with Tamara Wilson, one of our Senior Health Advisors here at Pack Health. Tamara recently went through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Master Trainer Certification through Emory University. Today, Tamara’s sharing what it means to be a DPP Master Trainer, how she’s using this certification at Pack Health, and how she sees lifestyle coaching benefitting the healthcare landscape in the state of Alabama.


INTERVIEWER: You’ve recently received your Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Master Certification. Congratulations! Can you explain more about what this certification is, what it means to you, and how you incorporate it into health advising?

TAMARA: Yes! I was certified earlier this year in June 2019. The Master Training Certification is a designation that was created through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) because there was a need for more lifestyle coaches.

INTERVIEWER: What are lifestyle coaches? 

TAMARA: Lifestyle coaches are the individuals who are trained to deliver the CDC’s curriculum for the DPP. To teach this curriculum, you have to be certified. Initially, there were only a few select companies and organizations that could train individuals on how to provide that curriculum. However, they realized that they needed to scale that process. They were able to train a specific group of lifestyle coaches who had already led a successful group of participants through a DPP. Those individual coaches were then asked if they were interested in teaching other individuals how to be lifestyle coaches. There are only a few entities that are certified to train Master Trainers.

INTERVIEWER: Interesting! Where did you get certified?

TAMARA: I received my certification through Emory University Master Trainer Select Program for the National DPP, specifically through their Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC). This certification allows me to train lifestyle coaches within Pack Health so that we can scale to meet the demands of individuals who have prediabetes. Throughout the training, I got to meet people from all over the United States, ranging from Utah, Arizona, all the way to Virginia. Everyone was from different career fields and public and private companies. It was really cool.

INTERVIEWER: That’s awesome! So, what was your motivation to become a DPP certified master trainer? 

TAMARA: I’m one of those people that once I have my mind on something, I want to know all aspects of it. The first time someone told me about the certification and asked if I considered it; I didn’t believe I was eligible. After doing some research, I found the different programs and thought that there is truly a need for more lifestyle coaches, particularly in the state of Alabama. I wanted to be that individual to train within Pack Health’s community. We’re trying to move the needle in healthcare and we can make a difference by working to reduce the incidence of new diagnoses in diabetes. I was excited that there was an avenue available to reach out and train other health advisors to become lifestyle coaches. This is how we can work together to move that needle.

INTERVIEWER: It is so nice that you decided to do this and share your experience with Pack Health. Now that you have your master trainer DPP certification, I understand you are currently in the process of training other Health Advisors here at Pack Health. Can you share a brief overview of how that training looks? What are the benefits associated with having more DPP certified Health Advisors? 

TAMARA: Sure. The training is designed by Emory University and is approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The curriculum in which we train lifestyle coaches is through Emory University. They have a great support system through the DTTAC program. Because we’re training people on how to deliver a lifestyle change program, we spend time going over the curriculum, but we are also teaching lifestyle coaches how to facilitate. Generally speaking, when people think about classes, they think about lectures and presentations. Facilitation gives the power to the participant. We’re training lifestyle coaches to empower participants. That’s a different set of skills.

INTERVIEWER: We’ve got roughly 30 Health Advisors here at Pack Health. Are you training all of them at once? 

TAMARA: We actually keep the groups a little more intimate! The next cohort consists of 5 Health Advisors. This group of people will attend a two-day training with me; they have workbooks and materials to help them get ready to deliver a lifestyle change program. During the first day, the HAs will learn a lot about the basics of diabetes, such as statistics and common terminology. Then, we get into the nitty-gritty of facilitation through different hands-on activities. The following day, they’ll start to learn the actual curriculum they’ll be facilitating and how to deliver it. It allows trainees to practice and get familiar while developing their niche within the program. In addition, participants learn how to market the program and how to keep people engaged.

INTERVIEWER: That’s great that they actually go through the curriculum. I mean, if you don’t experience it yourself, how can you deliver it to other people? So I have to know, as a Senior Health Advisor, what do you find most rewarding about training new lifestyle coaches?

TAMARA: Right now, I’m getting prepared to train a few of our Health Advisors! One of the unfortunate things about being in Alabama is that we have extremely high rates of diabetes and prediabetes. And unfortunately, at this time, we do not have very many lifestyle coaches to deliver the program. It is absolutely incredible seeing Health Advisors who are trained the Pack Health way also be able to put on the lifestyle coach hat. Seeing them go out and deliver this curriculum to make significant changes is super exciting. I’m thrilled to see how this is going to roll out because of the success we’ve seen from our own coaching programs. I think we can make a serious impact on the state of Alabama.

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