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)


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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.

“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 Southern California region 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 Southern California residents only. Limited spaces available. Applicants will be taken on a first-come basis.

“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)


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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).

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Our coaches are graduates of the Vanderbilt Health Coaching Certificate 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.


Leeann Hays, RN, NBC-HWC (CST)     Location: Nashville, TN

Leeann Hays, RN, NBC-HWC (CST)

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 Coach Certificate 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.

Katherine Smith, NBC-HWC (EST)    Location: Maryland

Katherine Smith, NBC-HWC (EST)

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 Certificate 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.

Lisa Yen, NP, NBC-HWC (PST)     Location: Los Angeles

Lisa Yen, NP, NBC-HWC (PST)

Location: Los Angeles

Lisa Yen was a nurse practitioner hospitalist for over 12 years prior to her husband’s diagnosis with advanced, metastatic pancreatic NET in January 2015.  As a medical professional, a caregiver, and most recently, a health coach to NET patients, she brings a unique perspective to LACNETS.  In her role as Program Director, she works with the team to plan content for the monthly educational meetings and annual patient educational conference as well as developing such as NETConnect and a program to offer health coaching to NET patients.  Her passion is to help improve the quality of life for those who have been touched by NET.  

Lisa earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1997, a bachelor of science in nursing from Loyola University of Chicago in 1998, and a master of science in nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program in 2003.  She recently completed Vanderbilt University’s Health Coaching Certificate Program.  She has been active in community service and church activities including serving breakfast at homeless shelters for over 10 years.  She also has served in medical missions in Kenya and Haiti.  Other than her passion for helping people, she also enjoys cooking, snowboarding, and musical theater.

“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)
“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)

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