A Duluth woman has made history in the medical field.
Berta Lippert is one of the first National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches in the country. Wellness coaches guide people through making decisions to better their health, and they're becoming increasingly popular.
But before this fall there wasn't a standard in place, leaving consumers to do their own research to make sure their coach knows their stuff. That changed when the National Board of Medical Examiners held the first ever exam in the field.
Lippert got her certification from the Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program.
It was a professional high for Lippert, that came after a string of personal lows. In the past eight years, four of her immediate family members have had a critical illness. Three of them have died.
Lippert's mother died in 2010 from breast cancer. Her sister died in 2016 after a 20 year battle with lung disease. Her brother died in January of this year from pancreatic cancer.
Lippert's father survived his battle with cancer.
"It's genetically linked in our family, which is why it's so prevalent, especially in the young ages," Lippert said, "It's just something that's so deeply rooted now and engrained with what I want to do to pay it forward."
Lippert began paying it forward after her mom died. She had undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of cancer and decided to talk about in a blog. Anonymous at first, Lippert discussed the procedure and its aftermath. She also wrote about the grief she was dealing with after the loss of her mom.
Then one night, an email from a stranger prompted Lippert to put a name and a face on her then-anonymous blog.
"One night I had an email from a gentleman whose wife was going through cancer. [It was] a very grave situation for him," Lippert said, "He sent a very personal, heartfelt email [about] how grateful he was to have found my blog because he was better able to support her. It was at that moment that I realized that this could really go so many different degrees in helping more people than I had ever realized."
Lippert began pursuing a career as a health and wellness coach. Her goal: help people live their best lives, so the diseases that *can be prevented - are.
"I know what it's like to lose someone, but I also know when somebody survives. So, I refuse to lose that hope that it is possible," she said, "I think at some point with my family it started to really feel like we were meant to do something bigger with this experience, that [we were] meant to pay it forward and somehow help other people."
The Program Director of the Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach Training Program says about 1,000 health and wellness coaches have the certification nationwide.
To learn more about Lippert's tips for healthy living, click here.