As testimonials go, this one is impressive: After completing the ‘Leap Into Diabetes Prevention’ program through the Providence Medical Group – Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Center last year, one participant told the instructors there were two great things that she had done in her life. One was to marry her husband.

The other? “Being in our program,” says Diabetes Educator Linda Gooding, RD, CDE, MS, CD, one of the two instructors that run the year-long course, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

providence diabetes education
Linda Gooding says the ongoing support of the group is a key factor in creating success.

A new class will begin in February, and is limited to 15 participants. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Gooding at 360-493-7885 or her fellow instructor Sarah Skidmore, RN, CDE at 360-493-5785. The cost of the class is covered by some insurance companies.

Providence Medical Group and the Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Centers

Diabetes and nutrition services are part of Providence’s medical home model. In a medical home, your care is coordinated. Providers don’t just treat you when you’re sick, but focus on prevention, health education and your overall well-being. That’s why Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Centers are fully integrated in Providence Medical Group clinics as part of the medical home.

“As members of the medical home team, the diabetes educators can collaborate directly with pharmacists, providers … the entire team,” said Rik Emaus, M.D., chief executive for Providence Medical Group in Southwest Washington. “This helps create wonderful outcomes for the patients.”

The move to the medical home models has helped all 10 Providence primary care clinics in Southwest Washington become level-3 accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the highest level of accreditation possible.

“Part of our journey toward the medical home model was recognizing services like Boldt – which previously lived in isolation – can better serve patients when they are integrated,” said Dr. Emaus. “We’ve gotten great feedback from patients and caregivers alike about these changes.”

providence diabetes
Sarah Skidmore is one of the instructors for the year-long course.

For more information on Providence Medical Group or to schedule an appointment, call 1-855-776-4362.

Leap Into Diabetes Prevention

Over the course of the year, participants meet regularly to report progress, share strategies and gain knowledge. “The goal is for everyone to lose at least seven percent of their weight and exercise at least 150 minutes per week,” says Gooding. “We meet for a whole year because it takes a while to make a change. We talk these people slowly into making changes because we want to help them keep that weight off. When you move too quickly, often people will lose the weight and gain it back.”

Before anyone can enroll, they have a conversation with Gooding and Skidmore. “We want to make sure they’re motivated and at that point in their life where they’re ready to make a change,” says Gooding. “It’s a big commitment.”

Participants join for a variety of reasons, says Gooding. Some have been advised by their physician to make some changes or have read about the course. Others may have relatives with diabetes or simply want to make a change in their lifestyle.

Once the program starts, the first step is for everyone to become aware of how much they’re eating. “It’s the single most important thing,” says Gooding. “Everyone keeps a record with fat grams and calories. Often times we eat without knowing it. Having to write everything down makes us think about it and become more aware.”

providence diabetes
For the first six months, the group holds weekly meetings, which become monthly during the second half of the year.

Understanding which foods are calorically dense helps people to cut back on their calories. “In every session, there’s a different topic,” Gooding explains. “We cover nutrition, physical activity and handling stress. Stress causes most of us to eat more.”

The course also covers how to eat in restaurants. The average person consumes 33 percent of their calories away from home, and many of those include high levels of fat, says Gooding. Food such as pizza, hamburgers, and tacos are all high on the caloric intake list. “We help them choose healthier foods when they’re eating out,” she says.

The results are impressive. In the class that ended in December 2015, the average weight loss was 12 percent of participants’ body weight, well beyond the seven percent goal. “People will tell us that it’s amazing how much more energy they have,” says Gooding. “Now they’re able to sit in a booth at a restaurant instead of a chair, or tie their shoes without getting out of breath. Their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure readings improve as well.”

In one case, a participant came in eating no vegetables at all. At the very end of the program, the person began eating some. “It took a whole year, but it was really neat to see,” Gooding says.

The group aspect is critical, she says, because of the support it offers. “People get to know each other. Usually people know what to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. Here, they get support. People talk about what’s worked well for them and what hasn’t. We’re just there to facilitate the group discussion. We’ll provide guidelines but we’re not there to tell people what to do.”

The transition from meeting weekly to meeting monthly can be challenging. “When they have to check in once a week, they’re on top of it,” says Gooding. “They’ve got the group support and accountability, and we review their food logs and give them positive comments. When they go to once a month, it’s tougher.”

The group that finished in December found meetings so valuable that they decided to continue them on their own, gathering once a month in downtown Olympia. “Getting support from others, people feel a lot better about themselves,” says Gooding.

To learn more about the class beginning in February, contact Gooding at 360-493-7885 or her fellow instructor Sarah Skidmore, RN, CDE at 360-493-5785.

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