Coach Spotlight: Amy Trivedi on Top Tips for Managing Hypertension

Omada Health Coach Amy Trivedi is based in the Bay Area and received her Master of Science in Public Health from Meharry Medical College in 2013. For the past five and a half years, she’s played a monumental role in supporting participants at Omada. As of this year, Amy has stepped up as a team lead on the coaching team, and has been leading the first ever group of Omada hypertension coaches who are pioneering the care team model for our participants with hypertension.

With 46% of the US population affected by hypertension, Amy and her team work diligently to guide our participants towards sustainable behavior change. We recently sat down with her to learn more about her journey to becoming a coach, key motivators for her participants, and her coaching philosophy. Read on to learn how Amy actively educates and empowers her participants with a healthy dose of grace, empathy, and compassion.

Amy, tell us about your journey with Omada. What led you to becoming a coach?

I started off my career getting my Master of Science in Public Health as a stepping stone to medical school. I really enjoyed the preventative aspect of health, particularly health literacy and behavior change. Prior to Omada, I was a digital medical scribe. This experience really solidified the need for prevention-based care. The healthcare system is currently up against many constraints, which limits the ability to make a sustainable impact on patient’s lives. So, I reached out to Omada and was fortunate enough to begin coaching our at-risk participants. I became a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist through Omada, and now lead the health coaches in our Hypertension program. 

How did you decide to focus on hypertension?

Both sides of my family have a history of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, as the prevalence tends to be higher among the South-Asian population. When I was offered the opportunity to work with our hypertension population, it felt like the perfect marriage of my skills and passion. 

Can you share a bit more about the key focus areas for participants in our hypertension program? 

At Omada, we use what we call the Hypertension Care Team Model. Every participant is assigned a health coach who is their primary contact (in this case that’s me). But each participant also has a dedicated hypertension specialist (a registered nurse, or CDCES with deep hypertension expertise) who works closely with me to provide clinical support when needed. As their coach, I look at lifestyle factors with a hypertension lens on it. On the clinical front, the specialist is also reviewing blood pressure values, medications, and overall trends which allows us to partner with and empower participants so that they can ultimately become a better advocate for themselves. 

Our participants are able to see real-time benefits. For example, I recently had a participant who had just started exercising. I recommended they take a couple of blood pressures after working out. They were able to see their blood pressure decrease after the very first workout. This simple suggestion empowered my participant to take control of their health and begin to see the immediate impact exercise has on their health. 

Getting to work on lifestyle changes with oversight from our phenomenal hypertension specialists is a key to success. We’ve had many participants who start to see lower blood pressures as a result of their weight loss, and our specialists review their medications, BP trends, and help them advocate for themselves with their healthcare provider before low blood pressure  is frequent and possibly even dangerously low. 

What has the feedback been from the participants you work with? 

Well, building off my last example, participants are always so surprised at the impact of exercise. Our participants receive connected blood pressure monitors through Omada. That data is automatically uploaded into the Omada platform, and visible to both a health coach and hypertension specialist. Needless to say, they’re pleasantly surprised when they see such positive results and appreciate the positive feedback from the coach and specialist. 

One participant recently shared that when they went to their doctor, they were able to pull up the Omada app and show their doctor their blood pressure readings and notes from their hypertension specialist. Not only was this participant able to cut back on their medications, but they left the doctors office feeling empowered and a greater sense of control thanks to the data they were able to pull up in the Omada app. 

The most powerful feedback for me is when I get to witness participant’s surprise and delight they can make small, sustainable changes to better health -- and when they feel supported and empowered rather than judged. 

What do you find to be the biggest motivators for participants starting the hypertension program? 

Both hypertension and prevention motivators are similar -- participants want to reclaim their wellness -- have more energy so that they can be more active in life, and more often than not, they want to do it for their spouses and children. As the program progresses, not only do they often see numbers change, but they often feel the changes in their mind and body. 

One participant recently wrote to me letting me know that they were so grateful for the program because up until Omada, they felt stuck. They shared that they assumed these were the cards they were dealt with, and that was that. Once they felt the changes in their body, their overall outlook improved. They realized that they had the power to change their circumstances. It’s hard to adequately describe how exciting sharing in a moment like that is! 

What would you say to someone who’s resistant to changing their behavior?

There are always going to be factors that are out of our control, however there are many factors within our control that we can give our time and attention to -- BMI, nutrition, activity levels, stress management -- these are the areas that we can work towards improving. 

My role as a coach is to listen and validate their experiences. When a participant shares a challenge they’re currently up against, I’ll acknowledge their obstacle, and will then help them reframe and redirect their attention by helping them figure out what they can control in the moment. 

I also take the time to get to know my participants’ values, hobbies, and preferences. If a participant happens to be feeling stuck, I’ll suggest that they do something that brings them joy, which can vary from listening to an audio book, watch some comedy, paint, or sit outside with some coffee. 

What would you say to someone who was just diagnosed with Hypertension?

Approach this program with openness and a growth oriented mindset. You have human coaches and specialists, so keep it real with us. It’s our pleasure to support you on your wellness journey, and we can best do that when you’re willing to meet us at this virtual table.

Any misconceptions you’ve noticed?

A common trend I’ve noticed is that people living with hypertension don’t realize that it’s a chronic disease. Because you can’t necessarily feel the side effects of hypertension, it’s easy to ignore until a serious complication arises. Hypertension is something that needs to be monitored at a certain frequency. A lot of times, people take their medication and think that’s enough. Solely taking medication is not a sustainable solution. It’s a chronic condition that needs chronic monitoring and feedback, especially for someone who is actively working on making lifestyle changes. It’s important to help them find value in that process. 

How would you describe your coaching philosophy?

My coaching approach mirrors a collaborative care model. I want my participants to be active and engaged throughout the journey because it’s their journey -- they know what is sustainable for them and what’s not, so I first make sure to educate them with the necessary tools and information, and from there, we empower our participants to change their behavior with this new knowledge. 

Overall, I lead with empathy. I want my participants to feel like I’m in their corner, offering support without judgement. Our goals are not going to be met in a linear fashion, so my role is to support them as they experience potential setbacks. Oftentimes we hear “no pain, no gain!” however this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not about making participants feel uncomfortable or unhappy to reach their goals. 

I tell my participants that it’s less about suffering, and more about finding happiness as a means to your goals because the process won’t be sustainable if you’re not happy while doing it. This is often the first time participants have heard that. I’m not here to say drop and give me 50. I’m here to say, you’re human. These setbacks are human. Lifestyle change is a change for life. It’s not realistic to expect us to be 100% perfect 100% of the time!