Primary Prevention Health Coach Certificate

Program Overview

Support populations at-risk of developing health conditions through primary prevention and risk reduction coaching.

This five-day course offered by the Health Coach Institute will examine nutrition, physical activity, and sedentary behavior, and focus on the implementation of health coaching skills to bring behaviour change theory into action. Technologies used to self-monitor behaviour change, or monitor and measure process and outcomes, as well as strategies to incorporate these technologies into health coaching practices will be also discussed.

The competency-based curriculum integrates theory and applied skills to help you develop your highly effective health coaching practice. You will have the opportunity to practice your new skills through live role plays with patient actors using structured and standardized case examples.

By the completion of the certificate programs, you will have the confidence to deliver health-coaching interventions to at-risk individuals, and will be poised to apply your skills in public or private clinical settings.

What You Will Learn

  • Technology assisted health coaching using an evidence-based approach - access the latest technology/applications to support your health coaching practice, your clients and families, and your team
  • Client-centred and motivational communication with individuals who engage in risky behaviours
  • Assessment of at-risk clients and their histories to develop behaviour change roadmaps
  • Identify and manage resistance to change, such as stress
  • Legal issues and innovation related to primary prevention health coaching

How You Will Benefit

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Implement health coaching for primary prevention and risk reduction of health conditions in your client population
  • Structure health coaching and develop your manual of operations
  • Deploy a highly-effective, evidence-based health coaching practice

Who Should Take This Course

  • Individuals working in health and wellness sector including primary care, community health centres, schools, pharmacies, hospitals etc.
  • Professionals or new graduates looking to expand their role or start their own health coaching practice


  • Regulated Health Professional OR
  • University and/or college degree in health promotion, kinesiology, psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or other health-related fields AND 1-2 years of work experience in the health and/or wellness field

Contact us at if you are interested in taking the course but are unsure if you meet the pre-requisites.

Please see Frequently Asked Questions for more information about health coaching and our health coaching programs.

Program Content

The Primary Prevention and Risk Reduction Health Coach Certificate comprises of five (5) full classroom days and two webinar sessions. The program uses an interactive, competency-based curriculum, which includes a live role-playing simulation session with patient actors.

In-person classroom sessions

You will learn about strategies and tools for individuals to assess and self-monitor their health behaviours, and how to finalize your health coaching protocols. We will also discuss some practical elements related to the implementation of health coaching process (e.g. structuring sessions, tailoring coaching to different modes of health coaching delivery).

Topics Include:

  • Using Evidence-based Applied Nutritional Science to Foster Client-Focused Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Bringing Behaviour Change Theory to Action
  • Structuring Health Coaching: Developing your Manual of Operations
  • Behavior Change Science and Working at the Interplay of Stress and Health
In-person classroom sessions

You will learn about of range of tools and technologies, and methods to integrate their use into health. Professional actors will be used to simulate a series of standardized cases and scenarios that may arise during the health coach process. The goal of this module is to enhance participants’ confidence and readiness to incorporate health coaching into their respective practices. Leading clinical experts will be on hand to provide participants with feedback on the applications of health coaching.

Topics Include:

  • Health Coaching Technologies
  • How to implement your health coaching process and skills using a variety of simulated cases and scenarios
  • How to build your confidence with the implementation of health coaching

You will explore to use health coaching to support physical activity, exercise, and reduce sedentary behaviour for primary prevention. You will learn to how to start a conversation with their clients to establish medical readiness for physical activity. Using motivational interviewing skills, health coaches can understand client circumstances and overcome barriers to physical activity and exercise. You will be engaged through case study scenarios. The instructor will also cover the health risk of sedentary behaviours, and the frequency, intensity, and types of physical activities appropriate for specific chronic conditions.

Legal Issues for Health and Wellness Coaches 
2-hour webinar

Understand how to protect yourself legally under various challenging scenarios related to being a Primary Prevention Health Coach. Learn about professional ethics and the law and how they apply to your practice.

Topics include:

  • Real world conflicts related to primary prevention health coaching
  • Regulation of health care in Ontario
  • Ethics and communication in health care
  • Consent, capacity, and substitute decision-making
  • Privacy and confidentiality in health care
Starting Your Health and Wellness Practice
2-hour webinar (Note: Students who have taken this webinar in any of our other health coaching certificate programs may have advanced standing to bypass this component of the program.)

This workshop will help you develop your health and wellness business idea in a private practice or within your organization. The course will focus on the practical aspects of establishing, maintaining, and growing a health and wellness practice to promote and support support healthier lifestyles, aging, and chronic disease management.

Topics Include:

  • Understand how to gain buy in and position health coaching services so people understand its value and impact.
  • Developing and refining your business idea using a lean start-up model and a business model canvas tool


Anka Brozic - BPHE, MSc

Director of Diabetes Education Programs, Waterloo Region-Langs Farm Village Association

Shannan Grant - RD/ PDt, MSc, PhD

Clinician Scientist, Department of Applied Human Nutrition-Mount Saint Vincent University

As a Clinician Scientist, Shannan uses clinical trials to assess community-based questions. Interested in assessment of nutrition education from both the perspective of the patient/ client and the health care professional, she uses knowledge translation (KT) strategies, classical behaviour change theories and core education principals to develop, implement and assess dietary interventions. Shannan is particularly interested in working with health care professionals and patients to assess approaches to chronic disease prevention and treatment.

With eleven years of experience designing, implementing and evaluating dietary interventions in urban and rural settings, Shannan brings a practical lens to our Faculty. An example of an ongoing urban-setting multi-centre trial Shannan is working on is the Avoiding Diabetes After Pregnancy Trial - In Moms (ADAPT-M). This study has been developed to evaluate the impact of health coaching on post-partum risk modification in women with recent gestational diabetes (GDM). Other examples of Shannan’s relevant experience include: Overseeing a community-based dietary intervention as part of the Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project, an ecological study to better understand the eating behaviours of inpatients with Schizophrenia, a pilot trial designed to test a low glycemic index diet in women with gestational hyperglycemia and a follow-up multi-centre trial (that has just completed its active phase) assessing the effect of an evidence-based glycemic index education platform on clinical outcomes in women with GDM. All of these studies contain rigorous education evaluation and have provided opportunities for dietetic interns and nutritional science graduate students to receive training.

In her work, training and mentorship activities, Shannan aims to highlight the capacity clinicians have to play a key role in translating knowledge from research to practice. As a strong believer that education activities inform research and vice versa, Shannan is passionate about using clinical research as an opportunity to educate trainees. She is truly enjoys facilitating education of her students as they develop the knowledge and skills to become engaged in the knowledge-to-action process

Kathryn Walker - PhD

Clinical and Health Psychologist-SickKids Hospital, and University of Toronto

Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Walker is a registered Clinical and Health Psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children. She completed her graduate training at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where much of her research and clinical work centered on the treatment of ADHD and school-wide prevention of aggression and disruptive behaviour disorders. Katie has been working at The Hospital for Sick Children for the past 6 years. Clinically, she has trained at SickKids in eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, adolescent medicine, the burns team, oncology, and now works with the chronic pain team. The clinical frameworks she formulates from include cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness based stress reduction, motivational interviewing and emotion focused therapy, all in the context of patient- and family-centered care.

She also maintains a private practice where she sees clients with clinical and health psychology presentations (children, adolescents, adults and families). Her policy-related research has focused on prevention and public health practice, bringing a mental health promotion lens to the promotion of healthy weights. Her experience in school, community and hospital settings informs her thinking about health promotion and medical treatment messaging that children, families and adults receive, and how to empower individuals to feel good about themselves, navigate stressors in their life, and adopt healthy lifestyles.


Schulich Executive Hotel on Campus

The Executive Learning Centre features:
• 60 executive style guest rooms on 12 floors each with a queen size bed
• Complimentary high speed internet access
• In room coffee/tea maker
• Wheelchair accessible

Call Reservations (416)-650-8300 book on-line: or


Funding Sources

Please note that these funding sources below are listed here for your information only. York University or HLLN does not directly provide this funding or apply for grants.

Nursing Education Initiative

Nurses taking this program may be eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $1500 from the Education Initiative offered through the RNAO. You do NOT have to be an RNAO member to apply for the funding. Please visit the RNAO website, Education Funding, for more details

The Allied Health Professional Development Fund

Allied Health professionals taking this Workshop may be eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $1500 from the Allied Health Professional Development Fund offered through HealthForce Ontario. Please visit the HealthForce Ontario website for more details

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant

Through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant you may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs.
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant can be used to purchase training for your employees. York University/The Health Leadership & Learning Network is an eligible training provider and the grant can be applied to all of our offerings and for in-house training.
You can apply at any time. Employers can apply for one employee or for a large group of employees
If you are an employee or employer and would like more information visit:

Please note: Not all employers are eligible to apply, please consult the Canada-Ontario Job Grant website for more details.

Second Career

The Second Career program through Employment Ontario provides financial support for skills training needed for jobs in demand. You can apply for up to $28,000 for costs including tuition, books, transportation, basic living expenses and child care.
You qualify for Second Career when:
• you have been laid off and have not been working
• you have been laid off and are working a temporary job just to cover costs
• you are receiving Employment Insurance (EI), or have in the past, you can still apply
To apply to Second Career, you have to work with an employment services agency. Training occupations must demonstrate evidence of good employment prospects in your local labour market. For more information, visit: