Certified Integrative Health Coach
Helping people be healthy has been my passion throughout my life. Lessons I have learned over the course of my career have convinced me that health care needs to be addressed using a proactive and integrative approach. Professional Integrative Health Coaching blends my experience in health care with my vision to make a positive difference in a person's total health-mind, body and spirit.
I have 20 years of health care experience and have witnessed how the delivery of health care is fragmented. I am passionate about being part of a newly defined health care delivery system that integrates resources to promote health and well-being. In 1991, I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Medical Technology. I was fascinated with using technology to discover what was making a person sick. After working for about five years in a hospital as a medical technologist, I wanted to see a bigger picture of health care. The Clinton Administration had highlighted the need for healthcare reform. I wanted to learn why health care was so expensive. Was there a more effective way to utilize our resources for detection and treatment of diseases? I wanted to better understand business and economy. Therefore, I enrolled in the MBA program at Meredith College.
After completing my MBA, I accepted a role in the Market Planning Department at WakeMed. In this role, I wrote market assessments to help grow the business and conduct patient satisfaction surveys. I really enjoyed helping nurses understand the feedback from patients. I facilitated role-playing exercises and coached staff in ways to help them see opportunities to help patients have a more positive experience. I learned that health care was more than disease detection and treatment protocols. It was taking care of patients by acknowledging their feelings and values, listening to their needs, and answering their questions. In addition, while writing a certificate of need application for the emergency department, I learned how many people were coming to the hospital emergency room for routine care. This was an expensive way to provide health care. I learned first-hand that our health care system was designed to provide "sick care" not "health care."
After seeing some of the business aspects of health care, I pursued a newly created position as a public health epidemiologist. In this role, I analyzed diseases and outcomes collectively. While my focus was primarily surveillance of infectious disease outbreaks, I saw data that showed the large number of patients who entered the hospital with complications due to chronic diseases. My interest shifted from disease detection to prevention. Meanwhile, though a personal experience, I gained a deeper perspective of a patient's experience in a fragmented system while I advocated for my mother during her battle with terminal lung cancer.
Next, I began self-exploration of ways that we can stay healthy. Pandora's box opened for me and I pursued this interest intensively. I read about healthy diets, exercise routines, supplements, environmental toxins, organic food, slow food and fast food. While on this quest to learn how to be healthy, I had much concern for finding trusted resources and avoiding pervasive urban myths. Each book I read led to more questions and research. I sought counsel from professionals such as physicians, pharmacists, nutritionists, physical therapists, organic farmers, and social workers. All have unique and valuable perspectives on health. This quest has led me to the desire to become a coach for others to be successful in attaining their health goals.
Duke's Integrative Health Coaching Program which was developed by Duke Integrative Medicine was a valuable way for me to gain knowledge and skills in order to pursue my passion of helping people to become healthier. It brings my interest in health care full circle: from detecting diseases to preventing illness and optimizing health. I want to offer guidance to help people realize and find solutions to reach their health goals. Further, I can't think of a better way to improve the economy than to help people become healthier. Providing quality care when people are sick is crucial. However, providing guidance, proactively, for people to improve and sustain their own health is of the utmost importance.
"My sessions with an Integrative Health Coach have been very helpful. At the beginning of the coaching sessions, I was feeling overwhelmed with the stress that comes with being the caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. I was full of worry, especially about my health. I was not sleeping well and I was stressed trying to find time to exercise. With the help and encouragement of the IH Coach I faced my stumbling blocks and looked for ways to improve my lifestyle. As a result, my attitude has improved, I feel better and life, for me, has improved. I am pleased that I took part in the sessions."
-BB, Raleigh, NC
"Coaching is something I was not real sure about when I started. But I knew I needed to make some changes in my life and I had started every Monday for months and by Wednesday just didn’t seem to be able to stick with it. By having someone I was accountable to it helped me fight through and work on those changes. One pleasant surprise was having someone to bounce ideas around with. Marilee had fresh new ideas and thoughts to help me make those changes. I enjoyed our conversations. The key factor for me was no judgment. She never judged me even when I had not accomplished the simplest task. She would help me start over from the point I was at. I think coaching is a wonderful program that gives us the assistance we need but often can’t seem to find. I would recommend it to anyone and I would also recommend Marilee to anyone as she was such a help for me."
-DA, Raleigh, NC
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
- Jim Rohn