Motivational interviewing (MI) has been well studied in specialist settings. There has been considerable interest in applying MI to community health care settings. Such settings represent a significant departure from the more traditional, specialist settings in which MI has been developed and tested. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of MI and to identify and discuss the key issues that are likely to arise when adapting this approach to health care and public health settings. This paper provides an overview of important issues to consider in adapting an effective counseling strategy to new settings, and is intended to begin a dialogue about the use of MI in community health care settings.