One Drop coach, Lisa Graham, grew up in Los Angeles thinking she was going to be an actress. Instead, her bold dreams morphed into a bigger performance than any Hollywood movie set could offer: a lifelong career as a registered nurse and certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). Graham graduated with her bachelor’s degree and spent 27 years working in traditional healthcare in the Atlanta area, where she most recently coordinated the diabetes and nutrition education program at two large hospitals. She saw healthcare for all it was—good and bad—which prompted her to join One Drop as the lead coach for the cardiovascular program. As a nurse, she was taught to be an advocate for patients. She saw a greater need, however, and this was her opportunity to act.
Graham’s grandmother was a pastor and her mother was a nurse. Following in the footsteps of strong women, she, too, entered a helping profession.
Lisa, how did you go from acting to working in healthcare?
I developed confidence from performing on stage throughout school, so getting up in front of people and talking came naturally to me. Then, seeing what my grandmother and mother were doing in the community, one thing led to another and I entered nursing school at USC.
Tell us about your journey with One Drop. What inspired you to become a coach?
People need to learn not only how to advocate for themselves in the healthcare system, but how to explore other credible options to maintain their health outside of it. That’s where One Drop coaches come in.
In all my experience working as a nurse and CDCES, I saw that the teaching I was doing can actually affect generations.
People take what they learn back to their families. It excites me that the information we as coaches are providing the One Drop community can affect health for the better and live on for generations.
How did you decide to focus on hypertension?
The focus of my work in recent years has been diabetes, and one of the long-term complications of diabetes is hypertension (high blood pressure). Diabetes and hypertension have overlapping traits: both can be “silent” until your doctor says you have high blood pressure or, worse, you end up having a cardiovascular event. My goal is to educate people on how to better manage their hypertension—or prevent it from occurring entirely.
Can you shed more light on key focus areas for members in our hypertension program?
Education and support are our foundation. Most members I help have not been presented with the proper education or tools to monitor their blood pressure until discovering One Drop. What we can provide is not only information about, say, the impact of sodium on blood pressure and ways to moderate intake, but as health coaches, we are also there to listen and help guide someone on the best ways to manage their chronic condition and get to better health.
What has been some of the feedback from the members you work with?
Before joining One Drop, most people I speak to had not been checking their blood pressure, so they really enjoy using the blood pressure monitor. Often many get our glucose meter as well to manage their blood sugar if they have diabetes. I also hear a lot of positive feedback about One Drop podcasts and One Drop Instagram Lives that share advice on healthy eating and other ways to improve health. The favorite, by far, is the One Drop Monthly Challenge. Each person I speak to loves having a goal to work toward and, when they win, rewarding themselves for taking a positive action for their health.
What are the biggest motivators you have found for members starting the hypertension program?
We talk to a range of people and there’s one thing that unites them all—the desire to make a change. Whether they’ve had a cardiovascular event, currently have high blood pressure, or are just trying to prevent a chronic condition from occurring, the motivation to live healthier and feel better are everyone’s goals.
What would you say to an employer who is thinking of offering this type of program and the impact it has on their employees living with hypertension?
It comes down to one simple fact: if you are sick, you cannot work to your full capacity. Having the tools to monitor blood pressure, eat better, incorporate exercise into your routine, and more—all of that makes a difference in managing your chronic condition and improving your overall health. For me, it’s a no-brainer.
What’s next for you Lisa?
My passion for providing education doesn’t end at One Drop. I am working on my master’s degree in nursing and, in my spare time, I teach seniors how to line dance.
I like to say that I can command a dance floor, and show others how to do the same. That’s precisely how I teach people to take charge of their health. One step at a time, of course.
To learn more about One Drop’s coaching approach, download our latest eBook “The Power of Self-Care: How Qualified Health Coaches Can Help Your Employees and Company.” It highlights the ways health coaches can support better chronic condition management for a healthier and happier workforce while lowering healthcare costs for your company.
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