EHP Member Testimonials

Rachelle Health Coach 2

Robin Lewis-Cherry

Getting Kudos From the Coach

She was up early, and returned home late. She juggled a busy schedule that never seemed to deviate. The days stacked up; they eventually became weeks, months, and years.

While her carousel of life continued to spin out of control, Johns Hopkins Hospital clinical resource nurse, Robin Lewis-Cherry, realized that she needed to gain control of her priorities – mainly her health.

Physically, Robin was dealing with hypertension and asthma. Her cholesterol levels weren’t where they should have been, and she was carrying a bit of extra weight. And of course, there was the stress.

“I became interested in the health coach program because, as a nurse in a stressful environment, I knew I needed to take better control of my health and needed someone in my corner who could cheer me on,” Robin said.

Robin signed up for the program and was introduced to her health coach in June. They have talked every month since then.

“My health coach was very encouraging, and she is good at what she does. She helped me focus on my stress, which I needed and really appreciated,” Robin said. “When I didn’t reach some of my goals, she was remarkable. She didn’t put me down, but gave me credit where credit was due.”

Recently, an amazing thing happened. Robin was attending a hospital-sponsored health fair. She started talking to a health representative in attendance, and after a few moments, Robin realized she had just met Rachelle Cannon, the health coach she had been speaking to over the past several months.

“I was so surprised and thrilled to meet Rachelle in person that day,” she explained. “We talked for about 20 minutes. She is an inspiration. And with her help, I’m continuing to make progress.”

But Robin hasn’t been the only one to benefit from the health coach program.

“She has been one of the most enjoyable and successful members to work with,” said Rachelle, a Johns Hopkins HealthCare health coach. “By allowing me to help guide her with setting realistic goals, and by trusting me enough to always be 100 percent honest if she faced unexpected challenges towards meeting any goals. She has become the epitome of success and has shared the leadership role she has taken on to inspire her co-workers to join her in leading a healthier lifestyle at work.”

“I admire the commitment she has made to herself. I respect the person she is, and has grown to be more of, and I am honored to have had the chance to partner alongside her in this journey,” added Rachelle.

If you are interested in working with a health coach, please call 800-957-9760 or email

Note: The health coach program is not available for all employer groups. Consult your Schedule of Benefits for more information.

Bernard Williams

Bernard Williams

Williams Sleeping Soundly as an EHP Member

EHP member Bernard Williams lives close enough to Oriole Park and M&T Bank Stadium that, on a game day, he can probably hear the crowd roaring. But before Bernard was treated for his sleep apnea, the crowds could’ve probably heard him snoring.

Bernard is happy to talk baseball or football, always with a smile and a joke, but he’s also eager to talk about his previous lack of sleep and how EHP has helped his condition. His snoring was a side effect of his sleep apnea, which he has had for about 20 years. The condition causes breathing to stop during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last 10 seconds or longer and can occur more than 100 times  each night.

The irregular breathing caused Bernard to spend less time in the deep, restorative sleep that he needs to feel rested. As such, it affected his energy levels during the day. His friendly and welcoming nature that make him so endearing were clouded by constant fatigue.

Under a previous insurance provider, Bernard received a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) to help him breathe better when he slept. But the device was expensive and uncomfortable.

Then Bernard joined EHP through his wife’s job more than a year ago. He went to the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center and participated in a sleep test.

The test confirmed his sleep apnea, and he was prescribed a new machine. The device was a covered benefit with EHP, and Bernard says it’s much more comfortable to wear when he sleeps.

“Since I got the machine, I’ve been sleeping great,” Bernard said. “My blood pressure is even down a little, too.”

He also said that his energy level during the day has improved. Overall, Bernard couldn’t be happier to be with EHP.

“I just love it,” he said. “It’s great. This has been the most wonderful health care experience ever.”

Bernard now sleeps soundly, not only because of his breathing machine, but because he has EHP on his team.


Marian and Russell Denny

Marian & Russell Denny

Worry Free With EHP: Plan’s Coverage Allowed Members to Focus on Health, Not Bills

For Russell Denny, a self-employed auto mechanic, aches and pains were as routine as an oil change. So, last fall, he thought nothing of the discomfort on the right side of his torso.

Eventually, though, it became too much to bear. He went to the doctor, and tests showed a large, cancerous tumor on his right lung.

To focus on his health, Russell closed his shop and stopped working. His wife, Marian, a Johns Hopkins HealthCare employee, said that was an important decision.

“If he had to continue to work, I fear that he would have never gotten better because of the type of work he did and the hours he put in,” Marian said.

The decision was only possible because of Employer Health Programs (EHP). With only one income, paying for Russell’s radiation and chemotherapy would have been a struggle. But the couple’s out-of-pocket payments were next to nothing.

“There were some (statements) that were bills, but most of them showed zero dollars for patient payments,” Marian said. “What a relief that was.”

The Dennys chose a Hopkins preferred provider, knowing that it would be the best coverage under their plan. Their care has been great. After an aggressive treatment, the tumor had shrunk when they last saw the doctor in January. Their coverage has been even better.

“I can’t imagine how much more difficult this would be if I had to choose between getting my husband the treatment he needs and being able to afford the treatment,” Marian said. “With EHP, I have one less thing to worry about.”

The Dennys have been EHP members for two years. Prior to that, they had health coverage with a different plan, through Marian’s former employer. If Russell had been diagnosed at that time, Marian said she doesn’t believe he would have been able to stop working. Their insurance would not have covered as much.

“I can’t imagine not having insurance or having a different insurance that’s not at the EHP level,” Marian said.

Russell hopes for good news when he goes back to the doctor in April for a follow-up visit.


EHP member ruth

Ruth Isaksson

Chronic Disease Management Support

The human spirit. It’s a remarkable thing. It doesn’t matter how often people or situations try to defeat it; the human spirit easily springs back to life.

It was a chilly winter day in January, and the news wasn’t great. Ruth Isaksson, a nurse by trade, had just been diagnosed with stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD), a disease that leads to a progressive loss in renal function over a period of months or years.

Yes, the news was disquieting, but Ruth, currently a care coordinator for Employer Health Programs (EHP) and secured EHP at Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC), did what she does best…she tapped into a vast reservoir of resources available to help EHP members.

Ruth’s first step was to find and work with a case manager. The case manager, Christine Dove in turn, advised Ruth that she could also benefit from the services of a health coach. Once she had her health coach in place, Ruth learned a lot about nutrition and exercise. She also chose a highly sought-after nephrologist, and made the necessary appointments. She also signed up for a Chronic Disease Management class, and had the support of her managers while taking it.

“JHHC has been promoting health and wellness, and I’ve been trying to improve mine,” said Ruth. “I’ve been focusing on what I eat. I look at food in a different way now, and I try to avoid salt. By changing my diet I’ve lost weight. And I enjoy walking my two dogs, Baily and Chandler,” said Ruth.
Although the CKD is a fairly new health challenge for Ruth, she has faced other health tribulations in the past.

Back in 2003, Ruth had scoliosis surgery to correct the curvature of her spine. Five rods were placed in her back. She spent the next two years in a wheelchair. Several surgeries later doctors told her that she would be disabled for the rest of her life. Ruth’s mother, who was also a nurse, worked with her daughter. Even though Ruth’s mother had lost her own vision, she still worked with her daughter, and got her up and walking.

“My mom was my inspiration,” said Ruth with a smile.

Ruth’s mother has since passed on, but she still inspires Ruth on a daily basis.

“My faith has really helped me through my current health situation. I do get angry sometimes, but then I realize that God has been good to me, and I carry on.”

The human spirit? Ruth not only lives it; she exudes it on a daily basis.

EHP member debbie

Debbie Nowakowski

Gained knowledge, lost weight

“Atkins, Medifast, the Scarsdale Diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig. I’ve gone to weight loss clinics, I’ve used diet pills and I even tried hypnosis,” said Debbie Nowakowski, project manager, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

She laughs a bit as she describes all the diets and weight loss programs she’s tried over the years. “All of the diet programs worked, but only for a short time. But the MOVE program, taught by Katie Powell (a Johns Hopkins HealthCare health educator), was different. I went to my first meeting after receiving a post card in the mail.”

MOVE! is a national weight management program designed by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP), as part of the Office of Patient Care Services. It was designed to help veterans lose weight, to keep it off and to improve their health.

“The group of people in this program really clicked together, and we all learned a lot. My goal at first was to lose weight, but I gained knowledge. I learned about nutrition and reading labels. I learned how to count fat grams; learned about sugars, calories, and portion sizes. I learned that a lot of packaged diet meals are processed foods, and not very good for you.

“I’ve learned what’s good for my diet and what isn’t. And Katie, Katie is great. She always brought healthy snacks to the class, and she helped me keep on track.”

Debbie isn’t sure how much weight she has lost. But she knows she feels better, her clothes are loose and she gets daily compliments about her appearance from her co-workers.

Learn about the rest of EHP’s benefits