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Health Coaching

The coaching process was remarkably beneficial! When my cancer load increased, and the painful and disruptive symptoms undermined my resiliency and quality of life, my coach helped me set new goals and manifest them one by one. From exercise and meditation to dietary changes, these lifestyle corrections vastly improved my health and well-being during a difficult time.
I could not have accomplished so much without it!

— NM (NET patient)


Health coaching is an opportunity for individuals to invest time and energy in self-care by going through a personal journey of change with a health coach as a guide. To be clear, coaching is not about seeking or receiving medical advice, nor is it therapy. The role of the health coach is not to give advice, prescribe a plan, or tell the client what to do. Health coaching is not about obtaining information about NET. (For NET-specific information and resources, visit our resources page.) Instead, health coaching is a personal journey of making positive behavioral change toward self-care with a coach as a guide. Health coaching is not intended to specifically address the medical aspects of the NET journey. The focus is not on disease management or treatment but rather, the focus is on improving one’s quality of life. The coach guides the client in defining and clarifying his/her own health and wellness goals and helps the client move toward those goals in an incremental, manageable way.

Sandy Beach
“Health Coaching helped me move through a very difficult time in my journey with cancer. It was the support I needed to regain my energy and motivation. I recommend Health Coaching to anyone who wants to build physical, mental and/or emotional strength while struggling with illness.”

— Mary Zoeller (NET patient)


While the NET journey may be unpredictable with factors outside of the patient’s control, the client can choose to work on lifestyle choices within one’s control that may include nutrition, movement, sleep/rest, mind-body connection, spirituality, environment, or relationships, just to name a few.  Through this process, the client gains the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make lasting and positive behavioral choices.

A health and wellness coach (or simply “health coach”) can serve as a guide on your journey. By partnering with a health coach, you experience the powerful message that you are not alone. Connecting with a coach and with a deeper community of past, current, and future fellow travelers through groups such as LACNETS cultivates and inspires resilience. These experiences positively influence the traveller’s narrative to create one of resilience.

My health coach has given me a life jacket. My coach, like the life jacket, kept my head above the uncertainty and sometimes murky waters of cancer.  Doctors work diligently to save our bodies, my health coach works diligently to save our lives. She is giving us the tools,  to not just live in cancer, but to THRIVE  through cancer.

— Beth DeBlase (NET Patient)


  • Interested parties can click here to find out more information.

  • LACNETS is offering a series of one-on-one telephonic coaching sessions (8-10 total) to NET patients and caregivers within the United States who are motivated to invest in their own self-care. Coaching sessions occur weekly or biweekly for approximately 3-5 months. The first 8 sessions are FREE OF CHARGE TO THE CLIENT. Two additional optional sessions are offered at a reduced cost.

  • Session structure:

    • Session #1: Review the client’s current state of health.

    • Session #2: Future visioning and setting 3-6 month goals.

    • Sessions #3-10: Work toward 3-6 month goals incrementally.

Note: This program is currently available for U.S. residents only. Limited spaces available. Applicants will be taken on a first-come basis.

LACNETS Health Coaching Program was featured in a case study that focused on the effects of health and wellness coaching with an adult cancer caregiver. The key finding showed that health coaching proves to be a viable option for supporting caregivers in the multiple physical, psychological, and emotional challenges they face. Check out the full study published in "The Permanente Journal.”

Health coaching helped me identify my roadblocks, pointed me in the right direction for valuable resources and tools, opened new doors, and provided me with action steps to help me make the changes I wanted to make. Thanks to health coaching, I have become a healthier and happier person.

— Pam Wagner (NET patient)



Balancing Rocks

National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the credentialing organization for Health and Wellness Coaches, defines them as coaches who “partner with clients seeking self-directed, lasting changes, aligned with their values, which promote health and wellness and, thereby, enhance well-being. In the course of their work health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change, and honoring that each client is an expert on his or her life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental.”

Our health coaches have completed a NBHWC-approved health and wellness coaching program and demonstrated the knowledge, tasks, and skills essential to the practice of health and wellness coaching. Our coaches have passed the new Health and Wellness Certifying Exam, recognized by the National Board of Medical Examiners, earning the title of National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).

Our coaches are graduates of the Vanderbilt Health Coaching Program under the direction of Ruth Wolever who serves on the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching, the team that developed and created national standards, and formed a partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners in May 2016 to launch a National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaches in 2017. While health coaches may be medical professionals, their function is solely that of health coach. This means although a health coach may know a great deal about health, in this role, their greatest expertise is in the process of sustainable change.

This relationship is different from relationships that clients may have with their healthcare providers. It is not prescriptive in nature. Health coaches are not here to give advice, prescribe a plan, or tell their clients what to do.  Instead, they serve as a guide in the client’s journey. Through this process, the client gains knowledge, skills, and confidence to make lasting and positive behavioral changes.

I have been blessed to receive care from world class doctors and nurses at centers of excellence for Neuroendocrine cancer. Now I realize that the very best medical and pharmaceutical expertise is vastly enhanced by qualified Health Coaching, which addresses the emotional and motivational components of managing a life-threatening disease.

— NM (NET patient)

Webinar: Thriving with NETs - How Health & Wellness Coaching Can Help You



Location: Nashville, TN

Leeann Hays is a Registered Nurse and a Nationally Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Her past nursing experience were in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuro-intensive care at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She later spent years in the pharmaceutical industry learning to network and connect with physicians. Her passion to help others also led her to volunteer with women who were victims of abuse and addiction and help them find healthier alternatives. Leeann chose to become a health coach through Vanderbilt University’s Health Coaching Program because she strongly believes that a person’s well-being is more than the absence of disease and that the heart is capable of holding both suffering and joy. Her area of expertise is in supporting positive behavior change through small, forward steps towards a more fulfilling and happy life. Her interest in the Neuroendocrine Tumor population is to care, connect, and empower patients to discover ways to cope and thrive. Leeann believes that NET patients have the power and ability to use their inherent strengths to improve the quality of their life through self-care. Leeann enjoys spending time partnering with clients to customize and discover what brings unique value and meaning to each person’s life.


Julie Oijala is a Registered Nurse with over 18 years of nursing experience in hospital pediatrics, surgery, intensive care, outpatient clinic, and school nursing including with medically fragile children. She has also monitored vaccine clinical trials as a Clinical Research Associate for the pharmaceutical industry.  Julie received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from CSU Fresno. Later she continued studying in Finland, receiving her nurse licensure and certification in Perioperative Nursing. Having lived overseas for more than 20 years through challenging and amazing times, Julie believes it has given her ‘sisu’, a Finnish concept described as bravery, resilience and hardiness.

Julie’s interest in holistic health and well-being sparked her curiosity in health coaching.  During her training for the Vanderbilt Health Coaching Program, she had the opportunity to coach a few clients with cancer, including neuroendocrine cancer. She is excited to provide health coaching to the NET population so they can realize their internal strengths to find forward momentum with their health and their life. She believes in the importance of the ‘here and now’ and the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit. Julie loves the outdoors, yoga and being a life long learner. She helps as a caregiver for her elderly parents and enjoys visiting family around the world.


Location: Maryland

Katherine Smith has been in the field of integrative health and wellness for over 25 years and is passionate about empowering clients to attain their highest possible quality of life.  As a health coach, educator, trainer, and mind-body researcher she has delivered health-focused programs and services to children, patients, healthcare clinicians, medical and nursing students, members of the military, corporate executives, and Members of Congress and their staff.  She is particularly excited to work as a health coach with the NET population after seeing her mother go through rigorous treatment for Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and slowly rebuild a vibrant life.

Katherine is faculty in the coaching department at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) in Laurel, MD, where she teaches behavior change, motivational interviewing, positive psychology and principles of self-care.  Katherine is also a longtime meditator and mindfulness instructor, teaching meditation and mind-body skills at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, George Washington University Milken School of Public Health and through MINDS Inc., a local organization that brings mindfulness into public and private schools in the local area.   Katherine received her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Michigan in 2003 and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Duke University an 1987.  Most recently, Katherine completed the Vanderbilt University’s Health Coaching Program and became one of the first National Board Certified Health & Wellness coaches in the country. An avid reader, runner, and outdoor enthusiast, Katherine lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two daughters.



Location: Tennessee

Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD, NBC-HWC serves as Interim Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt and the Director of Vanderbilt Health Coaching. She is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, with secondary appointments in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Meharry Medical College. Ruth is the Chief Science Officer for eMindful, Inc., is a founding member and was the inaugural President of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching. A clinical health psychologist and nationally-board certified health and wellness coach (NBC-HWC), Ruth has over 25 years of experience training and mentoring medical and allied health professionals in behavioral medicine, emotional health and coaching. She also has over 25 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating behavior change programs for medical patients and those at risk for chronic disease.

Internationally recognized for her expertise on mindfulness and health coaching, Ruth studies mindfulness-based approaches to self-regulation and lifestyle change. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NCCAM – now NCCIH, Office of Women’s Health, NHLBI, NIDCD, and NIDDK), the United States Air Force, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, industry, and philanthropy. Ruth is particularly interested in the intersection of mindfulness, behavior change, and inter-professional training.

I would recommend the Health Coaching program for anyone looking for an avenue to deepen their self- introspection and awareness, their personal gratitude and their relationship with themselves and in turn others in their lives.”   Health Coaching provided me with the motivation to concentrate on the aspects of my life that have been adversely affected by my health situation.  My goal was to learn to manage the psychological, social and personal struggles associated with my PNET in a more productive and positive way.  The Health Coaching Program did just this.

— Mary Donlevy (NET patient)

Health coaching helped me to see that I have the tools within me to navigate the tough days with this disease. I learned HOW to use these tools. I am in control of my life even with stage 4 cancer. Living and loving each day to the fullest is much easier when you can bring yourself back to the moment and be in the now. Health coaching taught me to do this. I highly recommend this process for anyone facing uncertainty.

— NET Patient


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