Overcome Diabetes

October 12, 2016


More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 86 million are living with prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“In our tri-county area approximately 20, 267 people have diabetes and 56, 684 people have prediabetes,” Jeril Goss, dietitian, diabetes educator and supervisor at The Diabetes and Nutrition Wellness Center of Penn Highlands DuBois, said. “Many don’t even know it.”

Diabetes is a disease in which your body does not properly use glucose, or sugar. When you eat, your body transforms glucose from food into fuel for your muscles and tissues. If you have diabetes, however, too much glucose stays in your blood. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, kidney disease, heart disease and lower-limb amputation. Unfortunately, more than 9 percent of Ameri¬cans have diabetes and many of them don’t realize it. 

And many adults have prediabetes. Their blood sugar levels are too high, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Without making lifestyle changes, people with prediabetes will likely develop diabetes. 

In our region, many of us are or know someone who has diabetes or prediabetes. That is why The Women’s Health Center of Penn Highlands Healthcare has partnered with the diabetes educators of Penn Highlands Healthcare to bring you “Overcome Diabetes.”

“Overcome Diabetes” is a program of Spirit of Women, a national organization that provides evidence-based information for education to hospitals across the country. All four Penn Highlands Healthcare hospitals are members of Spirit of Women and men are welcome to attend.

“Overcome Diabetes” will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in two locations. Cost to attend either event is $10 per person to cover the cost of a light meal. The programs will be:
• Wednesday, Oct. 26, at The Highlands Banquet Center, 535 S. Michael Street. St. Marys;
• Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Central Resource Center, 204 Hospital Ave., DuBois.

“The objectives of this program are to provide participants healthy ways to prepare meals, how to incorporate physical activity into a daily program and educate on the long term complications as it relates to proper foot care, heart health and weight management,” Marie Michelini, clinical dietitian, diabetes educator and renal dietitian at Penn Highlands Elk, said. 

“Programs like ‘Overcome Diabetes’ are important to attend because there are many misunderstandings about the diabetes,” Anna Hummel, clinical dietitian of Penn Highlands Brookville, said. “Diabetes is a disease that can be easily managed when people understand how to care for themselves properly. Even if you don’t have diabetes, the program will be valuable for understanding a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.”

Both events will be similar. 

From 5:30-6:15 p.m., there will be two workshops offered.

One is a cooking demonstration led by Amanda Wright, student intern from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in DuBois or Chad McDermott, chef at The Highlands, in St. Marys.

The second workshop is a Tai Chi for Diabetes demonstration by Ruth Pifer, physical therapist at PH DuBois, and by Gette Bardo, physical therapy assistant at PH Elk, both certified Tai Chi instructors. Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that uses slow movements to encourage relaxation and reduce stress while moving muscles. It is effective in helping balance and mobility.

At 6:15 p.m., a light dinner will be served. It will be followed by a panel discussion about diabetes and its affects led by Dr. Sarvesh Rajan, endocrinologist with Penn Highlands Endocrinology.

At St. Marys, the panel will include Rajan, Dr. Brett Karlik, ophthalmologist with Elk County Eye Clinic; Dr. John Hewitt, podiatrist of DuBois and of The Wound Center of PH Elk; a representative of The Heart Center of PH DuBois, and others.

At DuBois, the panel will include Rajan, Dr. Thomas Smith, ophthalmologist with Penn Highlands Ophthalmology; Dr. Charles Rice, podiatrist of DuBois; Scott Nearhoof, physician assistant with The Heart Center of PH DuBois and others.

“Because diabetes is so prevalent throughout our Penn Highlands communities, it is important that we share the education and support that is planned in Overcome Diabetes in two locations,” Lori Rancik, RN, case manager of The Women’s Health Center, said. “The Women’s Health Center is pleased to join the team of skilled and knowledgeable providers and educators that offer care to patients with diabetes in our region.”

RSVP by Friday, Oct. 21, by calling 371-9666. If you leave a message, please give the names of those attending, which location and a phone number to reach you. Checks can be made out to Penn Highlands Healthcare and mailed in advance to The Women’s Health Center, c/o Lori Rancik, 100 Hospital Ave., DuBois, PA 15801. 

“Overcome Diabetes will be the final program of our 2016 Spirit of Women calendar,” Rancik said. “We value your attendance and participation in our Spirit of Women programs throughout the year and will invite those who attend to provide feedback and input to what you, as women and families in our communities, are interested in as we plan and look forward to continuing our community programs in 2017 across our Penn Highlands system.”