Those of you have been following me for a while will know that last Fall the Humber School Of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism (HRT) invited me on campus to speak to students in their nutrition diploma programs.
These students were enrolled in either the Food and Nutrition Management or Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle programs and were on the path fueled by their love for food, nutrition and health.
I took the opportunity to speak to them about the importance of integrity and responsibly when it comes to disseminating health information, regardless of their title, position or career path.
It was a truly enjoyable experience and I am thrilled to say that Humber has invited me back again, this time to speak on some of the 1-on-1 coaching and motivational techniques that I use as a private practice dietitian and behaviour change specialist.
As part of this educational initiative, I am also helping to spread the word on their brand new post-graduate certificate program in Wellness Coaching, which offers students skill development in those exact areas.
The program, which opens its doors in Fall 2018, is geared towards offering those from other areas of expertise an entry way into the field of health/wellness and also to offer current allied health professionals an opportunity for professional development by improving their expertise in the area of behaviour change, coaching and motivational interviewing.
My Interview With The Program Coordinator
I debated on a couple of different directions to take when preparing today’s blog post and quickly arrived at the fact that there was no one better to speak about the program than the man who runs the show, Program Coordinator and Professor Noah Gentner.
As a Sport and Exercise Psychology Ph.D., Noah has devoted his life to the theory and practice of behaviour change. He has a great deal of published research and conference talks under his belt and has worked with a wide array of athletes, teams and coaches.
I had the pleasure of chatting with him about his background, his aspirations for the Wellness Coaching program and what an ideal student candidate might look like.
My questions will appear in bold, his answers in italics.
So Noah, tell us a bit about your academic background and how you ended up here in Toronto at The Humber School of HRT
Sport Psychology and the science of behaviour change have always been my passions!
I completed my B.A. degree in Psychology from Indiana University before moving on to the University Of Tennessee where I received both Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Sport And Exercise Psychology.
I started my career as an Assistant Professor in Exercise and Sports Sciences at Tennessee Wesleyan College and later moved on to an Assistant Professor Position at Ithaca College where I taught Exercise and Sports Sciences and helped coordinate undergraduate and graduate programs in Sport Psychology.
In 2009 I made the move to George Southern University where I coordinated their Master’s Program in Sport Psychology and also taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Sport Psychology and Coaching.
It was two years later in 2011, with a health experience under my belt, that I finally found my way to Canada and the Humber School of HRT where I now am lucky to be the program coordinator for the Wellness Coaching post-graduate program, set to open this fall.
I will also be one of the program instructors and I honestly could not be more excited to get going!
Who do you see as the ideal fit for the program?
It’s important to point out that the Wellness Coaching program is a graduate certificate program that was actually designed to help accommodate students already in the workplace.
That means classes are either online, in the evenings or on the weekends and run for two 12-week semesters.
There are two kinds of broad categories of students that I believe are a great fit for this program:
The first category are individuals who already have diplomas or degrees in non-health related fields but who want alter the direction of their career by learning the skills they need to work with people towards the goal of improving their health and wellness.
The second category are those who are currently working in a health related field and wanting to develop professionally, remain competitive in the workplace and enhance both their knowledge base and skillset when it comes to effectively eliciting behaviour change in those they work with.
We would also love our recent graduates from our diploma programs at the school of HRT to consider coming back to further their development!
What can students expect to get out of the program?
Simply put, the goal of our program is to improve your ability to affect change in people’s lives.
Students will leave with the knowledge and skills they need to guide behaviour change and build strong relationships with their clients.
These skills can be applied in a number of settings with the ultimate goal of helping people improve the quality of their life by developing changing habits designed to assist them with managing stress, living an active style, sleeping better, quitting smoking, improving dietary choices, etc.
Speaking of settings, the 225 hour experiential learning component is a very big, very important part of the program, can you tell us more about that?
Our hope is to actually work with students to allow them to complete their placement at their current place of employment. We also have a relationship with Sick Kids Hospital and hope to be able to send students there to work on projects aimed at increasing physical activity in adolescents with chronic conditions. Other locations we will be looking at are other hospitals or family health teams, other clinics or health/fitness facilities. Workplace wellness and community health opportunities will also be available and students will be engaging with other students and staff as part of Humber’s Centre For Healthy Living as well.
Want To Learn More About The Program?
If my chat with Noah has piqued your interest in the program and you are either looking for a career change or to enhance your skillset within your current allied health role, you have a few different options at your disposal.
On Saturday April 14th Humber will be running an open house for the program from 10 am to 2 pm on the main campus.
Alternatively, you can reach out to program support specialist Eddie Yu either via phone 416 675 6622 – ex 4146 or email
Personally, I can’t wait to get back into the classroom setting and talk to current Humber students about the importance of effective behaviour change coaching & interviewing!
Until next time
Andy De Santis RD MPH