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September Partner Spotlight

NDEP Materials a Valuable Tool in Alabama’s Schools, Senior Centers & Prisons

Partner Spotlight: Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Alabama Department of Public Health

Ask anyone in the Alabama public health department’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) and they’ll tell you the NDEP’s Road to Health toolkit has lived up to its name, serving as a map to help educate Alabamans about diabetes in schools, senior centers, and prisons throughout the state.

Intended especially for African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos at risk for type 2 diabetes, the Road to Heath toolkit provides materials for community health workers to develop an outreach program that emphasizes type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented. Debra Griffin, the DPCP’s diabetes nurse educator, says Road to Heath is most effective for its simple, three-pronged message about healthy food choices, exercise and weight loss.

Partner Spotlight: Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Alabama Department of Public Health
Students in the Diabetes Ambassador Program at Resurrection Catholic School with LaMont Pack (far left) and school principal Sr. Gail Trippett in March 2014

In the last year and a half, DPCP staff members have hosted Road to Health sessions at 15 senior centers, where they educated about 355 residents. And they trained employees at the Alabama Office of Minority Health, who, in turn, led a Road to Health course at four prisons.

LaMont Pack, the DPCP’s community-clinical linkages manager, says he’s also visited “churches that you can’t get to with a GPS” to spread the word about how to prevent and manage diabetes.

“The things you do to prevent diabetes are the same things you do to prevent its complications: nutrition and physical activity,” Pack says.

Meanwhile, Pack and his staff have used other NDEP resources to educate the younger generation about diabetes and its effects. In March, Montgomery, Ala.-based Resurrection Catholic School implemented the Diabetes Ambassador Program, in which seven student ambassadors educated their peers, teachers, school staff members, and parents about diabetes prevention. The students wore Blue Circle pins from the International Diabetes Federation to promote the global symbol for diabetes, and on March 25—Diabetes Alert Day—the school’s principal allowed students to wear the color blue (instead of their required uniforms) to raise awareness about diabetes.

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