PROGRESS Toward Wellness
PROGRESS Toward Wellness is a program for adults with epilepsy who are interested in reducing the impact of epilepsy on their overall health.
The program features supportive phone calls every two weeks with a Health Coach. During these calls, participants use a step-by-step process to develop and implement an Individual Wellness Plan. Participants can stay in the program for four to six months...depending on how long it takes to reach their goals and master the PROGRESS steps.
Participants select their own goals, based on what’s important to them, and work toward improved wellness in the following areas:

  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Medication Management
  • Depression
  • Memory & Thinking

To further support their wellness goals, participants have access to facilitated group conference calls with other participants who've chosen to focus on the same problem area.

Highlights from the pilot study of the program 

The initial pilot study of the program, supported by a three-year grant from The Jewish Fund, resulted in several positive outcomes for participants, including the following:

  • Significantly reduced epilepsy-related emergency room visits - an average of 0.54 visits for the 6 months prior to participation vs. 0.24 visits for the 6 months during participation (p = .006)
  • Significantly reduced impact of stress on quality of life - prior to the program 54% said stress impacted QOL "quite a bit" or "a lot"; after the program, only 32% said this (p = .009)
  • Increased knowledge of epilepsy and related issues - 85% of participants reported this
  • Enhanced epilepsy self-management and health promotion skills - 90% of participants reported this
  • Success in making progress toward self-selected goals - 92% of participants made at least “some progress” toward at least one goal, 70% reached or made “a lot of progress” toward at least one goal, and 44% reached at least one goal

 What participants have said about the program

"If anyone is thinking about doing this program, definitely take the opportunity do it. I would recommend it because it definitely helps."

"The coaching calls... helped me think through things. Talking with someone not directly involved can help you see the situation differently. You didn't tell me what to do, but helped me think through it on my own to figure out what to do next. I was able to cry if I needed to cry, or be happy if I was happy. It was so non-judgmental. I've become more accepting of living with epilepsy and more outspoken about living with epilepsy, letting other people know that there is hope. It made me want to be a better advocate for people living with epilepsy, especially minorities with epilepsy. I know I wouldn't have set these types of goals without the coaching calls. I would have still felt depressed about my memory, about my weight, instead of doing something about it... The only "improvement" would be on the end of the participant. If someone is not actively participating in the program, then it's not going to work."

"I have noticed a huge change in the way I handle things. I have proved my goals to myself. The program helped me keep focused."

"Setting the goals, especially around reducing stress, helped me the most. I found new ways to reduce stress and set a strategy to manage stress. It helped me from letting stress get so high that I worried I would have a seizure."

"It showed me that I had options on dealing with things. It showed me how to talk to my doctor about my problems."

"The coaching calls (were the most helpful). I looked forward to the calls. You asked questions to help me talk about stuff that I needed to and found ways to help me handle those issues."

"I've really liked it because, at the same time I joined the program, I have been going through a lot of changes that have impacted epilepsy that I didn't necessarily think would. It has been nice to get feedback and advice on how to deal with these changes."

"It encouraged me to do some self-searching. It helped me come to grips better to realize that having epilepsy is not an end to life as I thought it would be."

"The program has helped me from the very beginning. I have more confidence and am doing more things, and have been better able to control my seizures."

"I don't know where I would have been with my memory had I not joined the program. The skills I have learned have helped me so much, and I have been able to pass the skills along to my family."

This program is currently available to adults ages 18 and older who have epilepsy and have health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Other adults with epilepsy may be able to access the program at a later date (please call for details). To sign up for this FREE program, please contact Russ Derry at 800-377-6226 ext. 1302 or
This program is made possible by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and is offered in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.