Georgia CTSA Leader Shares Culturally Congruent Coaching Approach

In a recent TED Talk, Priscilla Pemu, MD, MSCR, FACP, Co-Director for the Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at Morehouse School of Medicine and the Medical Director for the Community Physicians' Network, shares a culturally congruent coaching approach - a high-tech, high-touch approach to support lifestyle change, producing greater results among diverse patient groups. Pemu’s TED Talk, “A Personal Health Coach for Those Living with Chronic Disease,” brings attention to the impact of behavior on health and well-being among people living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and the doctors who care for them.

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity with subtitles in over 100 languages. After premiering on January 22, 2020, Dr. Pemu’s video has already received over 700,000 views. Help her TED Talk hit 1,000,000 views this week and move to the top tier by watching and sharing this 7-minute video.

Pemu says, “There's no shortage of resources to help people change their health behaviors -- but far too often, these resources aren't accessible in underserved communities.” Enter ‘culturally congruent coaching,’ a program Pemu and her team developed to help patients with chronic diseases monitor their health with the assistance of a coach from their community. Her TED Talk describes how this approach transcends language and cultural barriers and could potentially transform health care in America.

During the talk, Pemu explains that a health coach can be successful if they care enough to go below the surface and probe the patient’s deep culture and reach them at that level. The coach needs to know how to listen and how to ask the right questions to get the information that is needed. Pemu adds, “We all have deep unconscious rules that drive the way we make our health decisions. That's our culture. The relationship and the conversation between [a health coach and their patient] illustrate what's possible when we have conversations with our patients, our friends and our neighbors on a deep cultural level.”

Dr. Pemu concludes the talk by asserting, “I'm beyond excited to think that with this simple concept of culturally congruent coaching, we could change the lives of 125 million Americans and many others across the world that are living with chronic diseases.”

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