Healthy Emory’s Diabetes Prevention Program still makes a difference online

Emory Report | July 1, 2020

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Healthy Emory offers a free Diabetes Prevention Program to employees who have prediabetes or are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Information sessions start in July, with the next series of classes beginning in August.

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After delivering Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPP) to Emory employees onsite for almost three years, Healthy Emory delivered all 16 classes of the latest series from a remote platform after the university shifted to remote learning and working environments in March.

The health and safety of program participants remained a focus during the change. Transitioning to the remote format went smoothly, says Marisa Hutchinson, wellness specialist with Emory’s health and wellness team and a DPP lifestyle coach.

“Our DPP provides accountability among participants,” Hutchinson says. “The virtual format created longer and more meaningful conversations among participants, especially due to changes we all experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“As a coach, it’s great to see the excitement that participants feel when they have made progress,” she adds. “It also feels good to see participants help each other when they are going through challenges. They come up with ideas to help others achieve their goals.”

Emory offers the DPP to employees who have prediabetes or are at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The program consists of hour-long classes over the course of 12 months. In addition, Emory offers medical plan incentives to eligible employees who participate.

Information sessions for the next series of classes start in July, with classes beginning in August.

Tavia Anderson, senior accountant in finance at the Baltimore Road Building, notes that the virtual program format via Zoom allowed her to continue the accountability from her in-person class. Her normal day and health behaviors had changed during this time, so accountability and encouragement from the virtual meeting helped her get back on track. 

“The program has been life changing,” Anderson says. “The information in the classes was helpful, and our lifestyle coaches presented the content in a very supportive manner that encouraged me greatly.” 

Karlene Wortham, referral coordinator in internal medicine at the Midtown Medical Office Tower adjacent to Emory University Hospital Midtown, agrees. “I have lost 30 pounds and no longer take blood pressure medication. I have learned the importance of portion control and exercise. In addition, our lifestyle coaches Mickey Evans and Barbara Mayfield were very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the entire program. They made the classes fun and enjoyable.”

Julia Kreutz, manager of acute care rehabilitation services at Emory Decatur Hospital, loves the camaraderie, support system and level of accountability over an extended period. 

“Our lifestyle coaches Kyle Roberts and Cynthia Holbrook and all of the class participants are incredibly caring, encouraging and supportive of one another,” she says. “I was successful in lowering my HbA1c to 5.4, met my weight loss goal and reduced my waist circumference. I am truly grateful for the opportunity Emory provided to me and that Emory demonstrated a commitment to my personal wellbeing that extends beyond my job responsibilities. I truly feel better about myself and my ability to better manage my health.” 

Learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program.