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Choose Healthier | November 20, 2014

The Choose Healthier Coach Hotline: Meet Coach Suzanne!

Healthy can feel complicated. Healthy can feel overwhelming. We all have questions, and we all need support! So we have created a first-of-its-kind tool, a free hotline you can call from anywhere in Texas to speak with a Health Coach who is trained and equipped to answer your questions and help you reach your health goals!

The Choose Healthier Coach Hotline is now live! Created in partnership with the United Way for Greater Austin, this is no automated, impersonal call service. You won’t be talking with one of those phone robots who asks you to repeat yourself a million times. We think there are more than enough of those already, and health is personal! So, who is your Choose Healthier Coach?

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Suzanne is our very first Hotline Coach! We asked her to answer a few questions about herself, so you can get to know the incredible woman you will be speaking with when you call!

First, tell us a bit about yourself, Suzanne! 

Well I’m an Army brat so I grew up all over, but call Texas home. I came to Austin for undergrad where I studied Government and French at the University of Texas. It’s hard not to love this city, so when I landed a role as Outreach Coordinator for an on-campus ministry working with international students, I gladly accepted. During those two years, a seed was planted for social justice and I began exploring the notions of empowering communities to generate positive, social change. I decided to make the trek across the Forty Acres and devote the next two years to cultivate that passion as a graduate student in the School of Social Work—and I’m so thankful I did! My education opened doors to engage immigrant populations, work on broad-based community issues, and learn from community development players in India and Ethiopia. That last point depicts a bit of my personality—an adventurous spirit, lover of culture, coffee, travel, dance, and the outdoors.

What has been your personal health journey? What motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle and help others do the same?

Growing up, I would definitely say I was the shy, insecure kid in class. Moving around a lot because of my dad’s job often made me feel uprooted. For a while that timidity stuck with me; I doubted myself and was afraid to try things if I felt I would fail. Engaging my health and physical wellness has perhaps been one of the most emboldening lifestyle choices I could have made. Take rock-climbing for example. This is a big hobby of mine, and one I often share as a great metaphor about trust and pushing the limits we didn’t think possible. When you’re on a climb—especially a new one—it’s easy to question yourself, the person holding you, the rope, or the next appropriate step or hold to take. If you let these fears paralyze you and keep you from moving, your body will actually lose energy, and eventually your muscles will tire. I think this translates perfectly when it comes to other aspects of life. Rock climbing has pushed me to embrace challenges, think creatively, and built my confidence. I want to share that empowering experience with others and connect people to resources, information, and the support they need in developing their own healthy lifestyle goals.

As the first Choose Healthier Coach, what sorts of answers, resources and tips will you be able to provide for callers, to make healthy easier?

I’ll be able to connect callers to information and resources for general wellness, healthy eating, and physical activity. So what does that mean? When a community member calls in, they will have a chance to learn about the kinds of foods their kids should be eating, the relationship between obesity and mental health, opportunities for physical activity for their child, referrals for healthy cook classes, tips for diabetes prevention, information about local community events like free yoga or Zumba classes, and so much more. Additionally, with the support of a Coach (that’s me!) they will be able to strategize and develop plans for healthy living that best fits their context. For example, what can a single mother who works full time do to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices for her kids? How about connecting them to an after-school recreation program that also gives mom some time to get home from work!

What makes you most excited to be a Choose Healthier Coach?

I’m a part of a team that is forward thinking, challenges the status quo, and believes in the work they’re doing. It’s inspiring to be a part of a cause that thrives on inspiring others. Healthy can be the norm, and it can be easy. Simple changes go a long way in preventing chronic issues down the road. To me that is what this hotline is about, empowering people to make those sustainable changes that truly, in the end are life changing.

You can call 1-(844)-26COACH on any week day, between 9AM and 6 PM CST, to talk with Suzanne! She can’t wait to hear from you!

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As we work to perfect the Hotline user experience, when you call through December 18th and answer the brief 2-minute survey after your call, you will be entered to win a $30 Visa gift card!

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We use social media to share resources, tools, and information to help you, your family, and your friends live healthy lives. It’s also a great way to join and connect with a growing network of Texans committed to making living healthy easier in our great state!