Founders Journey

My journey to optimal health

I know about health from two perspectives. I have a doctorate in nursing, and I coach others in reaching their personal health goals. I also know from personal experience what it’s like to have a chronic illness, a busy schedule, and seemingly no time to do all those things that the experts tell us will help us feel better.

As a registered nurse with more than 30 years experience, I bring an extensive background in health care to my wellness and integrative health coaching practice. After working as a hospital and home care nurse, researcher, college professor, public health professional and in health care administration in the U.S. and Canada, I decided to return to the root of why I became a nurse in the first place: to help people feel better and stay healthy.

After three decades in a demanding career, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Having juggled career, family, and health issues of my own, I decided to opt for a “mid-life opportunity.” I quit my job, began a healthy eating plan, resumed a full exercise routine and worked with a life coach to identify the next evolution of my career. Through this process I realized that as a health coach I could merge my professional and personal experience in a way that would achieve my vision of supporting people in their quest for better health and wellness.

I was drawn to the Integrative Medicine Department at Duke University Health System, and its Integrative Health Coach Training Program, because of the reputation of the medical center and the focus on training health professionals with previously acquired credentials in their field. I selected the program at Duke because it was ideal for my needs and due to the program’s reputation as the best in the nation. The course is delivered on-site and through distance learning via computer and telephone.  Considering that most health coaching is administered over the phone, having a component of the course that required coaching on the phone (both as coach and as client) jump-started my practice with valuable hands on experience.

In 2012, I completed the process to become a Certified Integrative Health Coach through Duke’s program.   Certification through the Duke program is a rigorous process requiring coursework, supervision, exams and extensive coaching hours, and reflects my dedication and desire to bring advanced skills to my coaching practice.  I have remained actively engaged with the Duke program and had the privilege of serving as the first Chair of the Alumni Newsletter Committee from 2011 to 2013, producing quarterly newsletters with my colleagues.  I became an instructor in the program in early 2014.  Not only do I have the honor of teaching in the training program, I also teach in the certification program.

I opened my practice as Better Choices Health Coaching in early 2011, serving personal clients.  Soon after opening, we responded to a need within organizations to provide services to help their employees achieve long term, sustainable healthier habits for living.  We began providing such services to organizations – especially health care organizations – where we find that too often, those who give care to others do not take care of themselves.

In July 2014, we changed the name of our company to Better Choices Wellness.  This new name better aligns with the broader array of services we offer for our clients.

Our focus remains the same whether the client has engaged us personally or via their organization’s wellness program – we work with individuals 1:1 to help enable long-term, healthy, sustainable change.  Please go to our Testimonials page, and you can see just some of the life-changing results our clients have achieved.  We care about outcomes. Tracking and monitoring of our clients has shown that our efforts yield positive results.

Our philosophy at Better Choices is to “empower you to make better, smarter choices every day.”  Let us help you or your organization achieve sustainable results.

In good health,

Deborah Lee, PhD, RN, NBC-HWC

Deborah Lee, PhD, RN, NBC-HWC

President, Better Choices Wellness.  Wellness Consultant, National Board Certified-Health & Wellness Coach and Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach.

Instructor, Integrative Health Coach Training Program & Certification Program, Duke University Integrative Medicine

Mentor, Vanderbilt Health Coaching Certificate Program and Meharry Medical College-Vanderbilt Health Coaching Program.


PhD in Nursing,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Master of Nursing (MN),
Emory University

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Western Kentucky University

Integrative Health Coach Training Prgm & Certification Prgm, Duke University Integrative Medicine


National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach








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