A wellness program for individuals with disabilities: Using a student wellness coach approach

Academic Article


  • Background Individuals with disabilities are at higher risk of health conditions; thus, there is a need to provide hands-on opportunities for pre-healthcare professionals to interact with individual with disabilities as well as deliver wellness services to this population. Objective Examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a student-led wellness program for individuals with disabilities. Methods Thirty-two undergraduate student wellness coaches between the ages of 19-23 years, and fifteen participants with disabilities, ranging in ages from 28 to 74 years were included in this study. Every participant was assigned to at least 1 student wellness coach with the purpose of establishing an individualized wellness plan. Results After 3 months (fall 2013 academic semester), all wellness coaches demonstrated improved clinical interaction and confidence toward working with the participants. The participants had an average weight loss of 2.0 ± 2.9 kg, ranging from 0.0 to 9.0 kg. All participants had improved functionality and fitness and reported high satisfaction toward the program. Conclusions This study demonstrated the impact of a unique program on the education of pre-healthcare professionals and the overall wellness of participants with disabilities. The program model has the potential to provide clinical health education among pre-healthcare professionals through interacting with individuals with disabilities.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Young HJ; Erickson ML; Johnson KB; Johnson MA; McCully KK
  • Start Page

  • 345
  • End Page

  • 352
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 3