UTHSCT’s Lifestyle Change Program Gains CDC Certification

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) has a Diabetes Prevention Program, “Prevent T2,” that has received official, full recognition certification from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) for effectively delivering a quality, evidence-based program that meets CDC standards.

The program is led by certified lifestyle change coaches who work with participants for an entire year, providing support to teach them how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routines, manage stress, stay motivated and solve problems that can get in the way of their health goals. The program’s first cohort of five people lost a combined 68.4 pounds and lowered their risk of diabetes.

“The program is proven to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by participants losing 5 to 7% of their body weight and by participating in 150 minutes of exercise per week,” said Carlea Patrick, program coordinator. “By accomplishing those goals, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 58%, and even 71% for people over 60.”

The Department of State Health Services funded the program at UTHSCT beginning in March 2017 focused on blood pressure self-management. Success with the program led to the addition of a diabetes component in 2019. UTHSCT began this accreditation journey with an approved application to CDC with a DPRP preliminary status, but by receiving full recognition certification from the DPRP, the UTHSCT program has met all required measures during its first year to enable it to begin charging Medicare and other insurance carriers to provide program sustainability.

The Lifestyle Change Program “Prevent T2” will begin a new cohort with orientation from 11 a.m. to noon, Friday, February 19, at the Allen Memorial Public Library in Hawkins, Texas. All workshops are also offered virtually on Microsoft Teams computer platform for participants with difficult schedules, mobility constraints or transportation issues.

The last day to join this yearlong workshop series is Friday, March 12. Medical provider referrals are not needed to participate, and all workshops are free and open to the community. To register or get more information, email or call 903-877-1436.

“The program runs for one calendar year with weekly one-hour meetings the first six months, where participants learn to eat healthy without giving up all the foods they love, add physical activity, manage stress and get back on track when they stray, because everyone slips up now and then,” Patrick said. “During months six to nine, participants meet twice monthly for an hour to build on the skills learned and maintain positive changes. Then, from months nine to 12, participants meet monthly for an hour. They review key concepts like setting goals, tracking food and physical activity, staying motivated and overcoming barriers. The second six months is essential to help patients stick with new habits.”

Over the course of a year, CDC-recognized lifestyle-change programs offer about 30 hours of instruction that lower participants’ risks of  Type 2 diabetes by more than half. The program provides lessons and handouts, motivation from a specially trained lifestyle coach who teaches new skills and encourages goal setting. It also becomes a support group of people with similar goals and challenges to help each other succeed as they share ideas, celebrate successes and work to overcome obstacles.

“Participants often remain in contact with each other during the week and even well after the program ends,” Patrick said. “It may be easier to make these lifestyle changes working as a group than doing it alone.”

UTHSCT, led by Julie V. Philley, MD, is an instructional site of UT Tyler that will soon be home to a new UT medical school, pending regulatory and accreditation approvals. For more information visit uthct.edu. With a mission to improve educational and healthcare outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to 10,000 students. Through its alignment with UTHSCT and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with innovative medical research, medical education and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston. For more information, visit uttyler.edu.