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Supporting a Congregation’s Journey Towards Well-Being. Q&A with Michael Mickens, Recent Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training Graduate

September 21, 2023

Michael Mickens, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, was initially drawn to the Duke Health & Well-Being Health Coach Training program for its distinctive use of the Wheel of Health model. However, he quickly discovered that his time in the program would involve more than just learning about behavior change.

Read more about Michael’s transformational journey in the program and how, as a Pastor, he’s supporting his congregation’s well-being journeys.

When did you complete the Health Coach Training?

I completed my coursework and the Health Coaching Training mentoring portion a few weeks ago. I am preparing for my final oral exam to complete my Duke Certification.

What motivated you to apply and register for the Health Coach Training?

I was excited about the Duke Health and Well-being Coaching the first time I came across the course online while looking up possible health coaching programs (I was considering other university-based programs, but the Duke program utilizing the Wheel of Health really caught my attention). I was interested in becoming a Health Coach to better support the members of my congregation and the underserved and marginalized members of my local communities. Learning about the Hinge Health Advancing Diversity Award opportunity was something I was excited to be a part of. Also, one year before starting the training, we conducted health and wellness training at my church. However, I realized afterward that there was no significant lifestyle transformation because we never incorporated behavior change methods into our training. Hence, health coaching seemed like the next practical step to helping individuals achieve transformational health and wellness.

Please describe your experience in the program.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the program. I realized how helpful it was to have so many opportunities for health coaching practice about halfway through the course. The hands-on approach to learning within small groups (diads and triads) was the most helpful part of the training. I enjoyed meeting and interacting with new people, learning about their health and well-being journeys, and working with the instructors, who were extremely helpful in their feedback and patient with our individual and group learning process.

How did the program help you grow professionally?

The program has been great professionally. As a Military Veteran, I’m seeking opportunities to serve as a Health Coach for the VA Whole Health Program. Also, as a Pastor, I’m excited about offering free health and wellness coaching through my Church’s Non-profit Organization – New City Community Development Corporation. We will be able to help at-risk individuals who would not usually have access to health coaching through our community health programs, so I’m excited about supporting the health and well-being of our community in this innovative new way.

“I already referred someone to the program about halfway through it! It was such an impactful experience that I would tell anyone interested in health and well-being work to consider the Duke Health and Well-being program seriously.”

What would you tell others considering applying to the program?

I already referred someone to the program about halfway through it! It was such an impactful experience that I would tell anyone interested in health and well-being work to consider the Duke Health and Well-being program seriously. They will learn effective behavior change methods and meet amazing people during their learning journey. Also, the program is an excellent opportunity to experience being in the other chair and sitting in the role of a client (during coaching and mentoring sessions) so that you can grow in your journey toward health and wholeness. Great overall experience. Take advantage of this life-changing opportunity!

Ready to Become a Health & Well-Being Coach?

The Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training combines an online curriculum with live instructor-led training, providing students with hands-on experiential practice and preparing graduates to immediately utilize their skills.

Start Your Journey Today

Read More Program Graduate Stories

Nurturing Well-Being Journeys – Q&A with Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training Program Graduate Serena Jain.

Feeling Fully Prepared for the Health Coaching World – Q&A with Duke Health & Well-Being Coach Training Program Graduate Anna Batsakes.


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