counseling, health behavior change, medical education, physician-patient relations, wellness



  1. Cameron, Donna PhD, MPH
  2. Katch, Ellen
  3. Anderson, Patricia MEd, LPC
  4. Furlong, Mary A. MD


Promoting health and eliminating disease are goals of Healthy People 2010, a national initiative for all communities. Physician-directed interventions that advance these principles are most effective when directed by clinicians who regularly participate in such healthy behaviors themselves. This pilot study describes an 8-week intervention, "Well-being for You and Your Patients," for first-year medical students to experience health behavior change. In the 2-hour sessions, students set goals for changing health behavior in 6 dimensions of wellness; report their progress; and enjoy a 30-minute change-of-pace wellness activity. The authors recommend adapting the course for medical student alumni to facilitate health behavior change with small groups of adults, school-age children, teens, and elders in churches, schools, community health centers, and other community-based organizations. Through continuing medical education and Grand Rounds, residents and physicians in practice could also be trained to implement specific behavioral change strategies.