Health Care and Nonprofits

Medical clinic creates Spanish diabetes program

April 21, 2017
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Samantha Orozco
Samantha Orozco. Courtesy Exalta Health

A local nonprofit medical clinic now offers a program catering to Spanish-speaking diabetes patients.

Grand Rapids-based Exalta Health said last month it introduced its Diabetes Self-Management Program, a group meeting in Spanish designed to help patients understand and manage their diabetes.

Based on the program of the same name developed at Stanford University, the patients discuss nutrition, exercise, medication and ways to monitor their blood sugar.

The group meets once a week for six weeks at Exalta Health, at 2060 S. Division Ave., where participants pair up and brainstorm how to best manage their diabetes.

They are asked to complete a weekly action plan and set individual goals, like exercising, carbohydrate counting and meal planning, as homework.

Participants are given a glucometer, test strips and blood-glucose diary to track their own blood-sugar levels.

Exalta Health Clinical Coordinator and RN Samantha Orozco said the program is beneficial in three key ways.

“First, we are offering the program in the patients’ own language,” Orozco said. “Second, we are giving them tools to actually monitor their progress. And third, the group provides accountability and support. It helps to know you don’t have to it alone.”

The next program will begin in July, unless demand necessitates an expedited program, Exalta President Bill Paxton said.

Exalta plans to offer three groups per year — more if the demand is there — with a maximum of eight members to each group.

Exalta Health

Formerly Health Intervention Services, Exalta Health was founded in 1996 as a provider of faith-centered medical care for the underserved.

As the organization’s focus broadened, HIS re-branded as Exalta in January.

The organization has now integrated behaviorial health into its services, measures the impact on patients and the community and identifies social factors that impact community health.

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