Karen Gregory-Mercado, Ph.D., MPH, NBC-HWC, MCHES, is a senior lecturer that specializes in developing, refining, and assessing ASU’s health and wellness coaching curriculum. Dr. Gregory-Mercado has 20+ years of experience in health education planning, implementation, promotion and evaluation, qualitative and quantitative data collection design, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination. Dr. Gregory-Mercado now focuses on how to facilitate the best learning about health and wellness behavioral change matters, developing partnerships to support students’ scholastic exposure, and providing students exposure to real-life experiences. Her graduate research focused on determining behavioral and social factors that predict the consumption of fruits and vegetables and preventive health care practices. Her most recent interest focuses on health and wellness coaching methodologies that promote patient wholeness and resourcefulness to promote effective lifestyle changes amongst different populations.
Dr. Gregory-Mercado's interactions with NBHWC originated her involvement in several initiatives. Dr. Gregory-Mercado is part of the National Certification Leadership Team, a national expert survey group in charge of designing the blueprint for the National Certification Exam and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). She is also part of 15 national health and wellness coach leaders who completed the national exam item-writing and reviewing processes. Dr. Gregory-Mercado also works with the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Certification program.
Dr. Gregory-Mercado expanded her nutrition, health, and wellness knowledge at the University of Arizona, where she completed a combined degree: A Ph.D. in Nutrition and MPH in Health Education and Promotion. After graduation and as an ORISE Fellow, she developed evaluation research on the CDC's public health practices—specifically their WISEWOMAN program. As she wanted to apply her knowledge in real-life settings, she adjusted gears and enthusiastically dedicated seven years of her career as a Health and Worksite Wellness Coach and Coordinator for Cigna. In this role, she developed effective worksite interventions that significantly reduced health care costs and improved employees’ health and wellbeing. In this last role, she also became a certified Master Health Education Specialist, Tobacco Intervention Specialist, Intrinsic Coach, Worksite Wellness Specialist, and Worksite Wellness Program Manager. She is passionate about education, and it is for that reason that she has been working as a lecturer at ASU.
In the process of discovering life and its intricacies, Dr. Gregory-Mercado has held a variety of roles. As Technical Services Coordinator for LifeScan, Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Gregory-Mercado became aware of the importance of nutrition and health education to prevent chronic diseases while creating a corporative Diabetes Educational Curriculum; it was at that time that she realized that her passion was health education and promotion.
She loves spending time with my family. She is the proud mother of three children and married to the love of her life and best friend. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, and exploring the beauty that nature offers. She also has a creative side that enjoys crafts, sewing, and inventing while cooking. As an animal lover that cares for dogs—she has three! For more details on her background, check www.linkedin.com/in/karengregorymercado.