York University

Faculty of Health

York University is Canada’s third-largest university and its leading interdisciplinary research and teaching institution. York’s 28 research centres deliver real-world solutions to real-world challenges. The hallmarks of research at York are interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and impact – these are especially evident in the research conducted within the Faculty of Health.

The Faculty of Health is on a mission to develop future global leaders and generate new knowledge for keeping more people healthier longer. The Faculty, with over 10,000 students and 400 faculty members, consists of four integrated Schools encompassing Health Policy & Management, Kinesiology & Health Science, Nursing and Psychology. Another key component is the Health Leadership and Learning Network (HLLN) for continuing education and professional development. Faculty members include renowned educators, researchers and policy makers, dedicated to improving health promotion, disease prevention and health care. Their research covers the spectrum of health, health care and human science— from the laboratory, to the bed side, to the community. No other university in Canada combines these strengths and perspectives in equivalent depth. The Faculty of Health is also home to the York eHealth Alliance (YEHA). This alliance brings together faculty experts from across the university, along with key external partners, to explore the many intersections of health and technology and to collaborate on the next generation of education and research initiatives in eHealth.

As a partner in the CAPCH Academic Research Collaborative, York’s Faculty of Health takes the lead in health-coaching or counselling that addresses changes in health behaviour based on data from mobile devices that monitor health processes and maintain client contact on a 24 hour basis.

York’s commitment to health coaching is related to the increasing capacity of 21st century technologies to eliminate the need for office consultation. Many tests that are presently implemented or planned during medical office consultations will be planned by phone and undertaken at home as primary care and specialist physicians increasingly use remote monitoring to precisely assess patient status. As this trend develops, patients and caregivers will become increasingly motivated to improve behavioural effects on health. The health coach will be the first line of contact in stimulating and supporting health-behaviour change, acting in alignment with treating physicians. This improves the scope of services being delivered and lowers delivery costs by leveraging cost effective people.

The Faculty of Health, in recognizing the evolving occupational strata of health coaching, is developing academic and practical training, along with certification processes that coordinate Kinesiology and Health Science, Nursing and Psychology. Health coaching is conceived as a multidisciplinary skill undertaken by professionals from differing core disciplines (e.g. nursing, psychology, kinesiology, nutrition, exercise science). York plans to initiate a health-coaching certificate program within its Health Leadership and Learning Network. York has also launched a spin-off company serving industry, insurance companies, elite athletes, executives and the York community. This spin-off, named Interactive-Health.com, will employ graduates and advanced students. Through such initiatives and related resource development York is becoming a global centre of excellence in health coaching.

York University is currently executing a MITACs cluster grant (with NexJ support) that joins health science and computer science laboratories (four grad students with two professors) in undertaking the Healthy Student Initiative, a campus research project aimed at improving student, staff and faculty health through mobile health tools, coaching, and social networking. York is also executing an NSERC Engage grant with NexJ Systems on Information Extraction (text mining) technologies. NexJ is supporting a PhD student in the personal health coaching of low socioeconomic strata individuals in one neighbourhood in Toronto. Finally, York is currently supplying health coaching and research trial leadership with Type 2 Diabetics and individuals at elevated cardiovascular risk at the Black Creek Community Health Centre, North York Family Health Team and Southlake Regional Health Centre.

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