Interview with health coach and pharmacist Stacy Bennett — part one

November 13, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

by Jen Johnston

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Stacy Bennett, RPh, CHHC of Health Coach Pharmacist to talk through how she is incorporating health coaching into her pharmacy practice. I hope this post will give you some ideas of how you can incorporate health coaching into your pharmacy practice, either by becoming a certified health coach yourself or by partnering with one.

Q. How long have you been a pharmacist?

A. I graduated from Ferris State University in 1997, and I’ve been a practicing community pharmacist for 16 years.  I also am a trained immunizer and have experience in diabetic education. I currently work for a mass market pharmacy but I’ve actually worked in several different retail scenarios such as independent, hospital outpatient, clinic, grocery store, small chain, and large chain retail.

Q. What made you decide to become a health coach in addition to a pharmacist?

A. Frustration with the current healthcare system of giving a person a pill to take care of a symptom, but not taking care of the underlying reasons for the illness. My patients were not getting better.  As time progressed, they were just adding more medications. I became frustrated and started looking for a new way to help my patients lead happier and healthier lives.

Many of our current ‘diseases’ are lifestyle based, such as high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression. These are treated with a pill to reduce the symptoms, but not cure the problem.  Health coaches are there to help cure the underlying problem by treating the lifestyle, not just treating the side effects of that lifestyle.

Q. Where did you receive your health coaching certification, and what did you learn in your courses?

A. I received my training as a health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program. They offer certification in partnership with The State University of New York.

During my training, I studied over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with health and wellness experts. My teachers included Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University; and many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.

My education has equipped me with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health.

Q. How do you currently incorporate health coaching into your pharmacy practice?

A. My health coach training helps immensely with patient counseling. For example, today a female patient asked how she could treat her yeast infection without using one of the OTC creams.  I recommended cutting sugar out of her diet and taking a good probiotic. Without the health coach training, I would have been stumped.

I find that I am using my training in other situations as well. The pharmacist is the one person that patients see most often in their healthcare routine, and by having small conversations with them at each visit, I can be a great motivator and source of information.

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In part two of this post, Stacy will talk about incorporating health coaching with medication therapy management, the role of health coaches at pharmacy, first hand experiences as a pharmacist health coach, and how pharmacists can partner with health coaches without necessarily becoming one themselves.

One Comment

  • I manage a pharmacy in a clinic setting and am looking to develop a wellness section. Do you have any ideas on types of products to carry?

    I enjoyed this article.


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