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Who I am

Teresa Donegan, PhD

I have over 12 years of experience as a motivational interviewing trainer and consultant and 31 years teaching in higher eductation. I discovered motivational interviewing (MI) when I was a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy program. I was responsible for teaching the "human sides of patient care" and I thought MI would be a great skill set for pharmacy students. I attended trainings in MI which I then incorporated into my teaching. Not long after I was asked by colleagues in other health professions (i.e., dietetics, physical therapy, nursing, chiropractic care) to teach MI in their programs. My work extended to the community when I was approached by a large health insurance company to train all patient care providers in MI. I learned after a few years of training there that their patient engagement scores had improved significantly since MI became part of their patient-care culture. I also worked with accrediting bodies for health professionals and other health care entities. I have trained over 2,000 health/mental health care providers including nurses, social workers, dieticians, physical therapists, chiropractors, and health/wellness coaches. On teaching evaluations, students said that motivational interviewing had the biggest impact on their learning. Over the years, I have had the feedback from graduates who said they use the skills regularly in their practice.  I decided to leave academia in 2019 after 31 years in higher education to start training full-time and also to pursue my writing aspirations. 



 I was born in Toronto, Ontario and left Canada in 1987 to pursue graduate work in psychology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. I received a PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1999 with expertise in research, psychotherapy, and teaching. I taught graduate and undergraduate programs in psychology and health professional programs.  While in academia, I had many leadership roles in student health and wellness initiatives. As part of an evidenced-based practice research team for Ohio State’s Building Healthy Academic Communities we researched and wrote a paper  Creating a culture of wellness: A call to action for higher education. 


I am currently working on two books related to a course I taught over a 10 year span called "The Psychology of Identity and Fulfillment".  One book will focus on the struggle younger adults face in the first throes of the identity struggle. The second is directed at women who are recreating themselves at later stages of life. 


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