Participants in the Durham Diabetes Coalition (DDC) program were celebrated at the Coalition’s Patient Appreciation Day, held July 22 at Healing With CAARE in Durham.
More than 70 people attended the event, which honored DDC patients who have participated in workshops, health screenings and other events throughout the year. DDC Senior Project Manager Dr. Lisa P. Davis and Duke endocrinologist Dr. Susan Spratt welcomed the group and thanked them for faithful participation in weekly programs.
The afternoon began with a friendly quiz about diabetes goals and management. The voices of DDC patients joined together in a chorus of “true” or “false” to each question, demonstrating the impact the program has had in raising awareness of type 2 diabetes.
DDC Community Health Worker L’Tanya Gilchrist shared her experience in working with the program over the past 2 years, how she has been inspired to improve her own health and that she remains committed to a mission of “encouraging you to live your best life.”
Gilchrist – joined by sisters Cynthia and Regina – treated guests to an inspirational song, moving guests to tears. Participants also enjoyed the music of jazz guitarist Wayne Kee.
DDC participants shared personal stories of how the DDC education programs have helped them make lifestyle changes to improve their health. Successes included reaching A1C goals, making changes in grocery shopping and cooking, and understanding portion control.
Several attendees praised the quality of DDC initiatives, calling the meetings “priceless,” and noting that they felt genuinely “appreciated and cared for” by the clinical teams.
One participant shared that the DDC was extremely valuable to her by providing home-based visits during a period of 5 months after she experienced significant diabetes-related complications. Another shared that she has lost 120 pounds since learning about healthier eating.
Crystal Ellis Dixon – a Health Educator with the Durham County Department of Public Health – thanked participants for the “commitments you have made to yourselves,” making DDC events a priority.
A special thanks was also given to Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum, Director of Healing With CAARE, for graciously allowing the DDC to hold regular small-group meetings and cooking demonstrations at CAARE facilities. The DDC is also supporting its members through a diabetes-friendly food pantry at CAARE.
Dr. Lisa Davis ended the program by presenting the attendees with a certificate honoring their participation in the Durham Diabetes Coalition.