From Our Team
The diabetes journey can present challenges. But free programs like Project VyBE make the voyage easier.
Posted on January 25, 2024 by Dr. Michael Kelly
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation partners with the Texas A&M University Colonias Program, a diabetes initiative grantee, to offer Project VyBE. This new program helps participants, primarily residents of El Paso County colonias, learn to manage their diabetes while dealing with various factors that may impact their lives. Project VyBE trains regionally certified Community Health Workers (CHW) as diabetes education coaches. The CHW then works to establish relationships with individuals wanting to improve their diabetic condition or prevent the onset of the disease. Once a relationship is developed, the CHW helps navigate participants to local medical services. As a follow-up to primary care, Project VyBE encourages people to modify their lifestyles and manage diabetes. The program also promotes early detection of diabetes symptoms and offers awareness and education through friendly, non-intimidating “Talks” in group settings to those in need. “It’s community-based and not clinic-based. It immediately erases the intimidation factor of ‘I need a referral to go here.’” Eufemia (Pema) Garcia, Regional Director said.
The CHWs lead support groups, contributing to ongoing peer sharing, learning, and support. Groups work with project staff to develop topics related to meal planning, stress reduction, resources, and guest speakers. Project VyBE annually trains over 30 certified CHWs and reaches more than 300 individuals with diabetes support or referrals.
The program offers no-cost screenings, glucose, blood pressure, and HA1C checks.
“Each participant has their own record. We help them document that record. They have all of their documentation and readings in a folder, so at their next doctor visit, they can take that with them.” Garcia said.
In partnership with the Health Foundation, Project VyBE plans on hosting more community sessions this year at schools, senior homes, and more locations. They also plan on working with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Foods Bank to help clients pick foods based on their health needs.
“The Health Foundation helps not only bring legitimacy to what we’re doing in the community, but it also expands us to not being on an island by ourselves in the community,” Garcia said.
PDNHF Initiative: Diabetes
Foundation Staff: Michael Kelly
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