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Emory offers new Diabetes Prevention Program for employees

Several Emory employees have recently participated in the specialized training to become lifestyle coaches for the DPP program for fellow employees.

To help combat the prevalence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, Emory recently launched the Diabetes Prevention Program, a health resource available at no cost to employees.

According to Michael Staufacker, director of health management, approximately 28 percent of Emory employees are prediabetic and another 4.9 percent already have diabetes. “Yet, many cases of type 2 diabetes in adults are preventable, which is why we decided to bring this program to our employees,” Staufacker explains.

Studies have shown that a loss of even 5-7 percent of body weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in adults with prediabetes and by 71 percent in adults older than 60, so the Emory DPP Steering Committee was formed to implement the national Diabetes Prevention Program here at Emory.

The program was chosen because it is evidenced-based, having withstood the test of rigorous research and evaluation, proving to be an effective approach for preventing diabetes. The steering committee consists of representatives from the School of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory Outpatient Diabetes Education, Congregational Health Ministries, Employee Health Services, Occupational Injury Management, and Health & Wellness

After a successful pilot in 2017-18, the Diabetes Prevention Program rolled out to the wider Emory community earlier this year. Emory employees who either have prediabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes can now participate in the DPP. Offered at a variety of sites at both Emory University and Emory Healthcare, the year-long program consists of one-hour classes which are offered once per week for 16 weeks and an additional 8-16 classes for the remainder of the 12 months.

Upcoming interest sessions are listed below, with more planned for later in the year. Those planning to attend should also complete the Diabetes Prevention Program interest form.

  • Campus Services, Building B; Thursday, Feb. 28
  • Emory Decatur Hospital; Friday, March 1
  • Emory Johns Creek Hospital; Thursday, March 21
  • White Hall; Thursday, March 28
  • Emory University Hospital Midtown, Tuesday, April 9 

Facilitated by lifestyle coaches who are trained at the Rollins School of Public Health, the classes focus on healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management in a support group setting. Employees who participate in the program can also earn a medical plan incentive.

Maurice Watson, who works in the Food Nutrition Department at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, participated in the DPP pilot program last year. He says the lifestyle coaches were highly motivating, the classes were very interesting, and the program provided him with a lot of support and encouragement. And, for Watson, the results have been dramatic. “I exercise every morning, eat regular healthy meals, have lost 25 pounds, and I feel so much better,” he says.

The Rollins School of Public Health serves as the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTAC), a national training center for lifestyle coaches. DTAC has trained 3,600 lifestyle coaches nationally from 1,300 organizations in 48 states.

Several Emory employees have recently participated in the specialized training to become lifestyle coaches for the DPP program for fellow employees. One of them is Erin Ferranti, assistant professor in the School of Nursing. Ferranti, who had long been familiar with the DPP, wanted to incorporate the program into her own research which focuses on the prevention of type 2 diabetes among high risk women.

Ferranti says the training reminded her of the true power of social support and group dynamics in promoting healthy behavior change. “I am so excited that Emory is offering this to our employees,” she adds. “Building on workplace teams and social groups will be highly beneficial to promote workplace wellness here at Emory.”

For more information about the DPP at Emory, visit the DPP webpage.

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