The Skinny Gene Project has launched an intensive 12-month diabetes prevention program in two South Texas clinics, owned and operated by Methodist Healthcare Ministries.
Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving low income and uninsured families that would not qualify for federal or state programs that would provide such care. MHM invests well over $30 million annually to provide quality healthcare to the communities surrounding their 3 primary clinics. The Skinny Gene Diabetes Prevention Program will be implemented in two of these facilities, Wesley Health and Wellness and Dixon Clinic.
The Wesley Health and Wellness Center provides care for one of the most under-served populations in San Antonio. The area has nearly 100,000 individuals (90% Hispanic), of which more than half are 185% below the federal poverty guidelines. The Dixon Clinic provides medical and counseling services to a community on San Antonio’s east side, which has a large African-American population.
In 2009, Kevin Moriarty, President and CEO, expressed to the Skinny Gene Project his great concern for the growing obesity and diabetes epidemic that was affecting their communities. MHM has excellent programs in place to help their patients control their diabetes, but they realized a more aggressive approach would be needed to fend off this disease. To better serve their communities, Kevin decided to take it take it one step further and implement a program that focuses on diabetes prevention.
As of April 2010, we are proud to announce that the Skinny Gene Diabetes Prevention Program is successfully being implemented at MHM. Over the next 12-months, our bilingual nutritionist (Nancy Juarez), under the supervision of our Senior Registered Dietitian (Emily Barr,MS,RD,CNSC), will be working one-on-one with a total of 15 patients to help them adopt healthy lifestyle changes and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Here are some of the new members of our Skinny Gene Family, San Antonio!
We’ve asked Nancy to share her experiences with us. Here’s what she had to say….
Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving low income and uninsured families. Their first and utmost interest is to provide the best quality healthcare they are able to offer to their patients. They provide medical, dental, and social services, along with a variety of activities, for the families they serve. They provide after-school care for children, whose parents work late, as well as computer and fitness classes for various ages ranging from children up to seniors. In the short period of time that I have worked in the MHM facility, it has opened my eyes to many possibilities and shown me the kind of help this organization can provide to its patients. Not only is there a sense of community, but there is also a real sense of family. A considerable number of families that benefit from MHM’s services are extremely grateful. If it wasn’t for MHM, these families wouldn’t have access to essential medical care, as well as the expensive medicines required to treat significant conditions and diseases. MHM has top-of-the-line equipment, which makes it possible for them to provide the best quality of care to each of their patients.
As a Skinny Gene nutritionist, I have been very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with MHM. Since diabetes is a huge issue affecting millions of Americans in South Texas, this program will help these families by teaching them to make better food choices in order to achieve a longer and healthier life. We are currently making a difference in the lives of 15 individuals who are a part of our inaugural program at MHM. I am personally working with each of these wonderful people who are all grateful to Methodist for putting our Skinny Gene Diabetes Prevention Program in their lives. Each patient has an immediate family member or relative that has been diagnosed with diabetes, and after seeing the impact the condition has on their lives, want to prevent it from affecting them or their children.
Prior to this program, these patients (all at-risk of developing diabetes) had never been instructed by a personal nutritionist or dietitian on what they should or shouldn’t eat to lead a healthy life. Having the opportunity to have a nutritionist to guide them along the way to attain their goals is a dream to them.
All of these wonderful people are extremely motivated and excited to make very good use of what is being taught to them.
I have something in common with most of these patients—we come from Mexican descent. As a bilingual nutritionist familiar with their culture and customs, I am able to communicate to them in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their lives. I am very pleased with the progress we have made in the short time we’ve had, but in time the difference will be noticeable and we will have paved the road for a healthier life.