Creating A New Culture Of Holistic Wellness Through Behavior Change

Founded in 2014 in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine, The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) trains Functional Medicine Health Coaches to partner with clients, collaborate with practitioners, and build a career doing something they love.

The FMCA Story: An Idea Inspired by Our Own Experiences with Healthcare

FMCA was founded in 2014 by two women whose personal experiences with the conventional healthcare system – both as providers and as patients – drove them to find a better way to be well. A way that listened to and treated the whole self, not just the parts that could be medicated.

Founder Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum spent nearly five decades making healthcare and education more holistic and innovative. With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Sandi specialized in positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mind-body medicine, and served as a teacher and the director of a clinic for Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD). She is a pioneer in her fields, having implemented programs such as the use of neurofeedback with patients and becoming the first-ever psychologist to earn certification through The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM).

Sandi partnered with co-founder Elyse Wagner, MS, CN, LMHCA, a certified nutritionist and licensed mental health counselor while working together as mental health professionals in Chicago. With experience in health coaching as well as a dual master’s degree in holistic nutrition and clinical psychology, Elyse’s personal journey to overcome chronic illness fuels her passion for helping others take ownership of their health. The two women connected over their shared belief in the transformative power of Functional Medicine, and together decided to fill a gap in the Functional Medicine model. That’s when their vision of Functional Medicine Health Coach Certification was born.

To make personalized wellness a reality for the world.

We’re empowering passionate learners who are called to help others. 

We arm our students with the Functional Medicine knowledge and Health Coaching skills that enable them to pursue their calling.

We’re connecting Health Coaches with the people who need them.

We facilitate connections between our alumni and the practitioners with whom they partner, as well as the clients who they support.

Enrollment is OPEN


About The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

In the 10 years since our founding, FMCA has graduated over 4,000+ Functional Medicine Health Coaches. Our one-year Health Coach Certification Program is fully online and draws students from around the world, from a variety of different industries and backgrounds.

FMCA even received the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) Excellence in Teaching/Training Award for 2020. This award recognizes teaching that demonstrates extraordinary achievements and effective learning facilitated through technology with measurable outcomes.

The FMCA Health Coach Certification Program is the only one developed in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine. IFM sets the standard for science-based, root-cause curriculum in the areas of Functional Medicine and functional nutrition. The IFM renowned experts teach both the IFM and FMCA curricula, modified specifically for health coaching.

We are also fully approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), which means our program has passed its rigorous standards for approval. Because FMCA is an NBHWC-approved program, our graduates may sit for their board exams-and they consistently outperform the average test-taker, earning their NBC-HWC titles at higher rates.

In addition to our Health Coach Certification Program, FMCA offers a variety of Specialty Courses, including free options, and courses that qualify for Continuing Education credits. Our award-winning program is approved and recognized by a variety of national and global bodies, many of whom also accept our program for Continuing Education credits. Learn more about the organizations that FMCA partners with, and what this means for additional certification opportunities and Continuing Education credits.

Sandra Scheinbaum, Ph.D., IFMCP

Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum

Founder & CEO

Dr. Scheinbaum, a lifelong learner and innovator in education, has been making significant contributions to holistic health and wellness since the start of her career in 1972.

Initially focusing on students with learning disabilities, her journey led her to earn a PhD in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University. She went on to practice as a health psychologist for close to 40 years. Specializing in the integration of positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mind-body medicine, she continuously expanded her expertise.

Dr. Scheinbaum’s innovative spirit led her to pioneer the use of neurofeedback and conduct one of the first randomized controlled trials of this approach in her role as founder of a clinic for attention deficit disorders.

In 2013, she earned recognition as the first psychologist to attain the title of Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. She taught courses in the psychology of eating, the psychology of wellbeing & mind-body medicine in the Masters Program in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine at the University of Western States, and taught in the teacher training program at National Lewis University.

As the founder of Feed Your Mind Wellness, LLC, she ran individual, group, and corporate wellness programs. In addition to her PhD, Dr. Scheinbaum holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Northwestern University, pursued additional education in holistic nutrition, and became a registered yoga instructor. Her passion for holistic approaches to health is evident in her recreational pursuits as well, as she enjoys activities like yoga, Pilates, ballet, and cooking.

Dr. Scheinbaum is the author of Functional Medicine Coaching: How to Be Part of the Movement That’s Transforming Healthcare, as well as two books on using the Functional Medicine approach to stopping panic attacks, Stop Panic Attacks in 10 Easy Steps and How to Give Clients the Skills to Stop Panic Attacks. The founding of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) in 2014 marked a pivotal moment in Dr. Scheinbaum’s career. Driven by personal experiences with the limitations of conventional healthcare, rather than retire at age 65, she set out to create the preeminent training program for health coaches, as she believes that health coaching is the key to combatting chronic disease.

Today, she leads FMCA as a reflection of her commitment to growing the health coaching profession, and bringing innovative approaches to training students in this rapidly-growing field, underscoring a career that comes full circle back to her roots as an educator and a lifelong learner.

“I believe that Functional Medicine coaches are uniquely suited to help people take charge of their health. My mission is to transform healthcare, and through the power of coaches working alongside doctors, we can create a culture of wellness. With my passion for sharing my knowledge and experience, I’m honored to serve as your teacher and mentor.”

The World Needs Health Coaches

Our mission is to make personalized wellness a reality for the world. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our program and functional medicine health coaching.

If you have more questions, or would like to discuss our program, or a career as a health coach, please feel free to contact us.

What is functional medicine?

Functional Medicine empowers patients and practitioners to work together to resolve the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness through diet and lifestyle change. Learn how functional medicine is changing the game in healthcare.

What is functional medicine health coaching?

Functional Medicine Health Coaching bridges the gap between what clients know they need to do for their health and the intrinsic motivation needed to get there. Learn more about how Functional Medicine Health Coaching is bridging the gap in traditional healthcare.

How can I become a functional medicine certified health coach?

Earn your certification in our award-winning, fully online one-year program. Practice your skills in our hands-on group training and get personalized feedback as you learn everything you need to succeed as a professional health coach. Learn more about our Health Coach Certification program.