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Health Break: How to get connected to free health coaching

UPMC Health Plan member exercises  with support from a health coach

A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.

Episode 1: Take a Health Break with Linda Fayad

Prescription for Wellness health coach Linda Fayad takes a Health Break to tell us about health coaching: What it is, how it works, who the coaches are, how it can help, and how to get connected. The best part—it’s free! 


Episode transcript:

Camille: Welcome to Health Break by UPMC Health Plan, your quick guide to health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan. Listen during your coffee break, lunch break, or anytime you need a break. I’m your host, Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. I help to oversee the quality of the plans we offer at UPMC Health Plan.

Alex: And I’m your co-host, Alex Treanor. I’m a senior health coach who works with our members on healthy lifestyle habits and goals. This is your… Health Break.

Camille: Hey! This is Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. Today lifestyle health coach supervisor Linda Fayad will share the simple steps UPMC Health Plan members can take to get connected with a health coach for no additional cost, and some of the benefits of working with a health coach. Thank you so much, Linda, for taking a Health Break with us today.

Linda: Thank you so much for having me.

Camille: What is health coaching and how does it work?

Linda: Yeah, so health coaching is a free benefit to UPMC Health Plan members. We work alongside you to create goals to move you towards healthier living. We have various resources and lifestyle materials that can help along the way, but we sort of start out if you would give us a call, or chat with us, we would take a look and start to build a picture of where you’re at now, and where you want maybe your health and wellness goals to be. So, you know, three months down the road, six months down the road, a year from now, what that looks like—and then work backwards. So creating some goals that feel attainable to you, and just helping you stay motivated along the way. We do also touch on, you know, making sure you’re connected with an annual exam, or just resources that you may need in terms of physical health. But a lot of our conversation just goes into maybe what gets in the way to living the healthiest life that you can, and just how to go about doing that. So again, we work backwards with you after building that wellness vision, how to get there. We typically work with you over the phone or sort of face to face—we do virtual coaching, so it’s nice because we’re able to kind of show you a nutrition fact label or show you the right way to do a yoga pose or something like that. But over the phone and virtual are sort of our main ways of coaching right now. And then we also just rolled out an app. Our RxWell app is available, and you have a coach that can sort of walk with you again on a lifestyle health and wellness journey.

Camille: Who exactly are the health coaches at UPMC Health Plan?

Linda: We can come from a lot of different educational backgrounds. Some of us in exercise physiology, registered dietitians, public health specialists, nurses, counselors—everybody’s sort of an expert in their fields, but it’s nice because we’re able to help with whatever you may need. We’re all trained the same on, kind of, our lifestyle programs and resources that are available through the health plan. And really we want to hear from you. You’re the expert in your life, and we are able to just kind of, again, hold your hand and walk with you along that journey to better health and wellness. A lot of different types of health coaches—we have physical health coaches that work maybe with chronic conditions, treatment and managing chronic conditions, as well as behavioral health coaches. Maybe somebody that’s working to manage like anxiety or depression. We have health coaches that can work with that, too, just to be able to get you where you want to be.

Camille: What are some of the things that health coaches can help with?

Linda: The five lifestyle core areas are managing weight, improving nutrition, quitting smoking, being physically active, and dealing with stress. We also have the chronic condition health coaching, like I had mentioned, and then also behavioral health coaching as well. So if you think about it, you know, if you want to start looking at what you want your life to look like and your health vision, that’s not typically just one thing. So stress may be a part of it and may overlap with heart health or physical activity. So just being able to customize and tailor health coaching is really our goal. So no matter what you’re looking for, we’re able to help and build a plan. And again, just help you along the way with that, checking in with goals. Maybe some barriers get in the way for you that week, you know, problem solving and figuring out what’s going on. But again, just having that overarching goal to get you where you want your health and wellness to be.

Camille: Thank you so much, Linda, for taking a Health Break with us today. If you are a UPMC Health Plan member, there are a couple of different ways to get connected to a health coach who can help you set goals and check in on your progress. Call 1-866-778-6073 (if you’re a TTY user, call 711). Or log in to MyHealth OnLine. Coaches are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Find show notes and more information at Join us as we explore other health and wellness topics in the next episode of Health Break. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes. It is not medical care or advice. Individuals in need of medical care should consult their personal care provider. Views and opinions expressed by the hosts and guests are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of UPMC Health Plan and its employees.

To get connected to a health coach, call 1-866-778-6073 (TTY: 711) or log in to MyHealth OnLine.  Coaches are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

About Linda Fayad: 

Linda Fayad is a lifestyle health coach supervisor and National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach. With a master’s in counseling psychology, she began working as a UPMC Health Plan health coach eight years ago. She has experience coaching across many platforms, including digital and telephonic. Linda continues to support the wonderful work health coaches do each and every day. 

About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith: 

Camille Clarke-Smith, EdD, is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan, where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3- to 12-week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Transforming the Health of African American Women (THAW) Inc. She earned a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh in addition to a master’s in exercise science and a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University. 

About Alex Treanor: 

Alex Treanor is a lead health coach at UPMC Health Plan. As a lifestyle health coach, she specializes in helping you lose weight, eat healthy, get more physical activity, be less stressed, and quit tobacco. Alex has a master’s in Kinesiology, Integrative Wellness from Point Loma Nazarene University. She has been coaching since 2014 and is a Nationally Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. Alex is passionate about helping people improve their relationship with food and exercise while creating healthy, sustainable routines filled with enjoyment. Alex enjoys spending time with her husband, walking with her dog, and eating tacos in the sunshine.