PVH Diabetes Prevention Program Awarded Continued Full Recognition

Pictured left to right: Valerie Starcher, Diabetes Educator and Brenna Earnest, Diabetes Education and Prevention Coordinator

The WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital diabetes prevention program has been awarded continued full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The hospital’s program was actually the first Diabetes Prevention Program to be fully recognized by the CDC in the state of West Virginia.

Pre-diabetes, defined as a condition in which the fasting blood glucose is elevated (100-125) but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes, is a growing threat to our population. Approximately 1 in 3 adults have pre-diabetes and 90% of them are not aware they are at high risk. In attempt to help improve the health of the individuals in our community, Potomac Valley Hospital adopted the Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) Program, a Diabetes Prevention Program.

Establishing a Diabetes Prevention Program allows primary care providers and lifestyle intervention coaches to work together to identify, screen and educate those at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The GLB Program consists of twenty-two sessions held over a period of 12 months, aiming at reaching two main goals: weight loss and physical activity.

“I believe the GLB diabetes prevention program has been a wonderful asset for our community. Since the beginning of the program, I have seen many patients increase their physical activity. Increases in total movement including steps taken and physical activity help prevent diabetes and contribute to healthy weight loss. I’ve noticed that our group participants enjoy the group sessions and comradery with each other,” says Diabetes Education and Prevention Coordinator, Brenna Earnest, MSN, RN, CDE.

Since the inception of the Diabetes Prevention Program at PVH in 2012, participants have seen many successes. The program sponsors a weight loss program called the “biggest loser.” The challenge winner lost 72 pounds over the course of a single year. From the beginning of January 2017 to the end of December 2018, there were 129 individuals attending that experienced a 4.7% average weight loss and had increased their weekly physical activity.

Potomac Valley Hospital currently has four GLB coaches conducting various programs throughout Mineral County: Tricia Barbarito, RN, Ellen Barnard, CCT, Brenna Earnest, MSN, RN, CDE, and Valerie Starcher, BSN, RN, CDE, who is the most recently hired certified diabetes educator for Potomac Valley Hospital.

“I am eager to participate as a lifestyle coach with WVU Medicine/Potomac Valley Hospital’s successful CDC recognized Diabetes Prevention Program. As a certified diabetes educator, my interest for improving the overall health of our community has always been on the forefront of my mind. This program is designed to do just that,” says Starcher.

“The Diabetes Prevention Program at Potomac Valley Hospital is another great example of the excellent work being done at our hospital to care for the community and emphasize health and prevention. Our team does an amazing job and demonstrates a lot of commitment and compassion to improving the overall health of our community, and is another great example of Potomac Valley Hospitals journey to provide high quality care and to take care of our patients like we would take care of our own family,” stated Mark Boucot, President and CEO.