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Bridging the gap from theory to practice in providing behavior change support

Programs and Research Collaboration with Health Change Involvement

Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (Canada)

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is transforming cancer care in Eastern Ontario with the opening of the country's first Cancer Survivorship Centre empowering survivors to be active participants in their health and wellbeing through and beyond cancer. Services at the Maplesoft Centre are available without referral and without cost to those diagnosed with cancer, their families and caregivers. Through individual and group coaching, tailored programs and relevant workshops individuals come to discover their personal needs and concerns, gain new knowledge and understanding of the impacts of cancer and identify and select strategies that are customized to their unique situation. The Cancer Foundation's Maplesoft Centre offers a safe and welcoming environment that encourages the exploration of options and where the survival of integrity, autonomy and dignity are always possible. 

For more information about the Cancer Foundation, please visit www.ottawacancer.ca

Australian Programs and Research

Health Change Australia and Melbourne University Research 

Study Protocol

Kim L Bennell, Thorlene Egerton, Caroline Bills, Janette Gale, Gregory S Kolt, Stephen J Bunker, Davide J Hunter, Caroline A Brand, Andrew Forbes, Anthony Harris and Rana S Hinman, 11 Dec 2012. Addition of telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity program in people with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial protocol. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 12:246

Health Change Associates was invited by Melbourne University to collaborate on a research project investigating the addition of telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity program in people with knee osteoarthritis. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000308897 and the protocol paper has been published and can be viewed at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/13/246

The aim of the randomized controlled trial is to investigate the effect of a health service intervention comprising of a limited number of physiotherapy visits together with telephone coaching designed to increase intake and sustainability of physical activity behavior and hence improve health outcomes in people with painful knee osteoarthritis. The intervention will be compared to physiotherapy alone which is known to lead to short-term improvements in pain and physical function.

Health Change Associates provided training and skill development for the telephone coaches delivering the behavior change support intervention. The Health Change Associates Model of Behavior Change is being used to guide the coaching telephone conversations. Participants receiving the coaching intervention also received written material to support behavior change developed by Health Change Associates.

At this time, recruitment is well underway and expected to be completed by July 2013. Final results after the one year follow up are expected in 2015.


HeartLink is a program being conducted in ACT (Australian Capital Territory) general practices to improve outcomes for patients identified as having a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. HeartLink is a collaboration between ACT Medicare Local, the University of Canberra and the Heart Foundation and is funded by the ACT Health Directorate. Six general practices have been recruited to participate in HeartLink which is taking a comprehensive approach to the prevention of cardiovascular disease through systematic absolute risk identification and coordinated support for lifestyle change for patients. HeartLink commenced in July 2011 and is a 3 year program. 

What does HeartLink do?

Working with the 6 pilot practices HeartLink is:

  • Taking a comprehensive approach to the prevention of CBD through systematic absolute risk identification and coordinated management of patients found to be at high risk.
  • Working closely with general practice and community based lifestyle modification program and service providers to improve support for patients who are found to be at high risk of developing CVD.
  • Engaging Lifestyle Advisors to work with patients to support their lifestyle change. GPs will be able to refer high risk patients to a Lifestyle Advisor funded by the project. The patient will be provided with behavior change support for up to 12 months, undertaking around 6 sessions with their Lifestyle Advisor.
  • Practice Nurses from HeartLink practices and the project Lifestyle Advisors have undertaken health behavior change workshops facilitated by Health Change Associates. The Health Change Approach has been adopted as the health behavior change approach for the program.
For further information contact Tanya Clancy at ACT Medicare Local: t.clancy@actml.com.au

HIPP Study (Excessive weight gain during pregnancy: piloting a prevention program)

Researchers from three Universities (Dr Skouteris and Professor McCabe, Deakin University; Professor Milgrom, University of Melbourne; Dr Herring, Temple University, USA) and practitioners from Health Change Associates (Janette Gale, Dr Vanessa Cook and Rebecca McPhee) have joined forces to pilot test a novel intervention to prevent excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention in women who are pregnant for the first time; this intervention adopts a Health Coaching methodology to assist women with weight management during pregnancy. It has two components. (1) The first component involves two one-on-one sessions with a Health Coach that a) promote patient adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors for the purpose of weight management, and b) address mood management and body image issues that commonly arise during pregnancy. (2) The second component involves two educational group sessions (10 women in a group), led by a Health Coach, that augment the one-on-one sessions; the aim is to provide new mothers with additional information related to healthy behaviors and mood, and to support and assist them in initiating, maintaining, and achieving their weight management goals. The program will commence at 18 weeks gestation and continue until 32 weeks gestation.

Pregnant women between 12-17 weeks gestation are invited to take part. For further details about this pilot study, please call Dr Helen Skouteris on +61 3 9251 7699 or email: helens@deakin.edu.au. To access the article on the research protocol of this study, published on BMC Public Health please click here.

Goulburn Valley Health: Self Management Network

The Self-management Network aims to assist clinicians at GV Health to embed self-management principles and practices into usual care. An important function of the Network is to support clinicians who attended the HCA Core Training Part 1 (2-day workshop) to practice the new skills learned to build their confidence and review current tools to reflect new skills learned.

  • GV Health Self-Management Network: Terms of Reference (download)
  • Presentation delivered at the Australian Health Coaching Network: Embedding Health Coaching into Practice (download)
  • Tips for setting up a Health Coaching network (download)
  • For more information please contact tracey.forster@gvhealth.org.au

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Randomized controlled trial of a lifestyle intervention for colorectal cancer survivors


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