Greenbrier Co. Health Alliance promotes Diabetes Workshops


If you or someone you love has diabetes there is help. Community workshops are being planned across the county to help people with diabetes learn to manage symptoms and make small healthy changes.

This program is being sponsored through the Greenbrier County Health Alliance in collaboration with Robert C. Byrd Clinic and Rainelle Medical Center. The newly formed Alliance is on a mission to empower all local communities across Greenbrier County to improve health through community action, innovative programing, and grassroots advocacy. The Alliance is in the process of identifying additional community partners and will train leaders to offer diabetes self-management community workshops to their families, friends, and neighbors.

“I learned that I can do a lot of things to take charge of my own health,” says Patricia Deitz, a participant with Type 2 Diabetes who just completed the Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) workshop in Rupert. During the 6-week workshop, Deitz made a weekly action plan and took small steps to improve her diet. She also added more exercise into her daily routine. “I’ve found that I can lower my blood sugar by paying close attention to my activity and what I eat,” said Deitz.

Workshop participants meet once a week for about two hours in community settings. Trained leaders facilitate the fun sessions that combine group discussions and activities with short lectures. Interactive workshop activities include: What is Diabetes; Monitoring; Formula for a Healthy Eating Plan; Preventing Low Blood Sugars; Preventing or Delaying Complications; Planning Low-Fat Meals; Reading Nutritional Labels; Strategies for Sick Days; and Foot Care. Other topics relate to how to talk to your doctors, how to better manage your medication, and how to deal with the emotional ups and downs and side effects that you have to deal with every day.

Carma Korman, a master level social worker from Robert C. Byrd Clinic has been an active leader of the program since January 2011. Korman believes the program delivers results. “The idea is to help people make small changes in their lifestyle so they don’t have as many problems with diabetes, and to prevent the disease from being worse down the road,” she said. This program teaches people how to understand what it takes to balance blood sugar levels and set goals to keep blood sugars within a good range. “People living with a complicated disease such as diabetes need this type of help. The activities and discussions make it easy for people to better understand what they need to do. The workshops are fun! They are educational, very interactive, and help people practice skills to live healthier lives,” Korman stated.

This diabetes program is part of an evidence based self-management initiative that started in the early 1990s at Stanford University and now has gone national. The WVSOM Center for Rural and Community Health recently acquired a license from Stanford to disseminate the program through the Greenbrier County Health Alliance.

A leader training is scheduled for mid-April. Anyone with diabetes or anyone who is interested in becoming a leader is encouraged to contact Sally Hurst at 304-793-6554. No experience is necessary to attend this training and all materials and lunch are provided free of charge. Space is limited.

Support for this project is provided by the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, the WVSOM Center for Rural and Community Health and the WV Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, U54GM104942.

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