NCHEC is extremely proud of the many health CHES® and MCHES® who serve as essential personnel in many different sectors across the US. Health Education Specialists have assumed critical roles in the identification, control, and assurance of the needs of individuals and communities. They advocate fiercely for public protection measures, and support many other critical health education and health behavior measures. As our nation continues to move forward in addressing and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a competent certified health education workforce is as significant and essential as ever before.
The following interview is part of a new series to highlight the remarkable work efforts of our credential-holders.
Name: Stephanie Hunter, M.Ed, CHES®
Job Title: Project Coordinator, Coach Onboarding
Career Sector: Business
NCHEC: What is your current job title and where do you work?
Stephanie: My job title is Project Coordinator, Coach Onboading, at Noom.com. My normal scope of work is to be a primary point of contact for all courses and training activities involved with onboarding Noom’s newly hired health coaches. I build, implement, and maintain training courses and activities for a variety of health coaching roles spanning all external hiring and internal coaching role conversions. I ensure that all of Noom’s new health coaches are able to understand the responsibilities of their role and ultimately gain the coaching skills needed to guide our consumers through healthful behavior change.
NCHEC: How has your role as Project Coordinator changed as a result of COVID-19?
Stephanie: Starting in March 2020, Noom experienced a surge in demand for our services as people worldwide faced isolation due to quarantine from the COVID-19 pandemic. As people had more time at home, they became interested in working with a health coach to build healthier habits. As a result, Noom needed to hire and train more health coaches to support the growing consumer demand for health coaching. Throughout 2020, I ultimately trained more than 1500 new health coaches (which doubled the size of the health coaching department) and contributed to the scaling of a new onboarding and training model to accommodate larger incoming cohorts of new hires.
In addition to the increased number of health coaches that were hired and trained, I also had to adapt my training materials to ensure that the coaching skills that new hires were learning could be applied to clients’ changing environments as the effects of the pandemic went on. Elements of culturally competent coaching were incorporated into training material to ensure that Noom’s health coaches could empathetically work with clients no matter where they were starting on their journey to better health. A greater focus on empathy, support, and guidance was incorporated into training to ensure that all coaching activities were conducted compassionately and with respect to the unique impact of the pandemic on each client's lifestyle.
NCHEC: Give an example of how your organization is providing health services to its clients?
Stephanie: Noom’s mission is to help people everywhere live healthier lives through behavior change. Throughout the pandemic, and especially at its onset, many of our consumers felt like the healthy habits they had built couldn’t be maintained as the world changed around them. Our health coaching team regularly met our clients with empathy and support to guide them through the process of creating and sustaining new healthy habits that could be continued throughout the constraints of the pandemic. Through 1:1 and group health coaching, our health coaching team helped each of our clients feel empowered and optimistic about their ability to live healthier lives, even in the middle of the pandemic.
NCHEC: What advice do you have for newly certified health education specialists ready to enter the current work force?
Stephanie: Be prepared to adapt! As you learn new skills and meet new people in your professional network, you will need to grow in your ability to work across sectors to best support the optimal health and wellbeing of all people. Be open and curious to learn about new ways to conduct health education and follow where your heart is telling you that you’re most interested in making a difference. As you pursue the elements of health education that speak to you most, take pride in the work you do and continue to advocate for the value of health education as you find your footing and your voice in your career.