Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital Helps Employees Tackle Pre-Diabetes

Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital Helps Employees Tackle Pre-Diabetes

The prevalence of pre-diabetes among Emory employees is estimated to be 28% (CDC Diabetes Prevention Impact Tool), this places many of our employees at a higher risk of stroke, heart attack or type 2 diabetes. To help address this critical health issue, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital’s Congregational Health Ministry is currently piloting the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) for a group of its employees.

“It is important that we meet the health needs of our patients and community,” says Heather Dexter, CEO of Emory Saint Joseph’s, “but it would be impossible to fulfill that mission if we have not first considered the health needs of our own employees and caregivers.”

The National DPP is a year-long Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program focuses on those who are considered pre-diabetic and prevent them from developing type 2 diabetes in the future. The program has two main goals: to reduce participants’ body weight by 5-7% and to encourage participation in physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. At the beginning of the program, participants are screened for blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and weight and waist circumference, in order to track their progress over time.

The DPP pilot program at Saint Joseph’s kicked off in October 2017 and enrolled over 40 employees. Since then, the employees have been participating in sessions with trained lifestyle coaches and attending support groups which focus on increasing physical activity, avoiding negative thoughts, building resilience, and committing to a healthier lifestyle.

“What I love most about this program is that it leaves out the dreadful word ‘diet’ and focuses on lifestyle changes,” says Kimberly Richardson, a DPP participant. “Despite my ups and downs, staying committed to myself through the 3Ds: Discipline, Dedication, and Determination, will get me across the finish line. My daily affirmation is hydrating, moving, enjoying and forgiving.”

The program is already making an impact. In the first 16 weeks alone, the DPP participants collectively lost over 110 pounds and many also lowered their blood pressure and blood sugar levels!

The DPP program is available without charge to any Saint Joseph’s employee who is willing to commit to better health. The pilot program is also being offered at Peachtree Center and Emory University Hospital Midtown. Programs at additional sites at Emory will be offered throughout 2018.

To learn more, please contact Healthy Emory at healthyemory@emory.edu.