News

New Juniper Initiative Can Help You Prevent Diabetes

9/21/2021

More Minnesotans will soon have access to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) through the Juniper network. Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, Trellis, the organization that leads Juniper, is forming the first “umbrella hub” organization in the state of Minnesota.

Umbrella imageMore Minnesotans will soon have access to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) through the Juniper network.

Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, Trellis, the organization that leads Juniper, is forming the first “umbrella hub” organization in the state of Minnesota. This partnership will open the door for you to take Juniper DPP classes where you feel most comfortable. In addition to classes provided by health care providers, watch for classes to become available through your local YMCA, senior center, church or other familiar places in your community.

Juniper is proud to work with the Minnesota Department of Health to help improve the health and well-being of Minnesotans.

Juniper Network Director Sarah Blonigan, says, “The Diabetes Prevention Program is nationally recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of the positive impact it can have on people with pre-diabetes. As a result, community-based organizations will now have the opportunity to access Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement to cover the costs of delivering DPP classes.

This funding will help to sustain programs and open more doors of opportunity for people to take the class. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “This Minnesota umbrella hub is at the forefront in the Nation. When our community-based organizations thrive, their communities thrive.”

How are Minnesotans benefiting from diabetes prevention?

Kara Schaefer, Juniper class leader

Kara says DPP meets people where they are and helps them create a realistic plan. People continue to eat the foods they love but in moderation. “It’s a one-year program with core classes one hour a week for 16-weeks and then once a month for the remaining nine months,” she says,.“The group aspect is what makes this program. People come together, share challenges and hold each other accountable. Old habits take time to change, but it’s easier with support.”

Classes are currently being held via Zoom and Kara is embracing this opportunity, while waiting for in-person classes to resume. “I’ve gotten to meet people from all over the state from Duluth down to Mankato. I view it as a win-win opportunity!”

DPP participants are making positive lifestyle changes. Here’s a sampling:

  1. Living a low-fat lifestyle
    This doesn’t mean fat-free, just lowering the intake. calorie range and fat gram goals.
  2. Choosing real foods
    This means more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods and preservatives that can increase your risk of diabetes.
  3. Eating from all 5 food groups
    We all know these: Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Grains and Dairy.
  4. Learning to read labels at the grocery store
    If sugar is the second ingredient on the label, it’s best to avoid the food. And, avoid eating chemicals such as red and blue dye.

Kara says the beauty of the program is how people work together and support each other. They share challenges and solutions like healthy and delicious recipes, and they hold each other accountable. She says, “Most participants are reaching their personalized goals half way through the program, and as a result, they reset them. They’re still enjoying a cookie or a piece of birthday cake. They’re just doing it in moderation.”

Kara believes we all have the ability to take charge of our health, and it doesn’t have to be hard. “Don’t be nervous to take the next step,” she says. “Change can be scary, but it can improve your life in so many ways. Group support and guidance from your coach/facilitator will make it easier. For example, you won’t be the only person in the group who dislikes exercise, but together, we’ll make it fun. It’s about changing your mindset and turning bad habits into healthy habits.”

What steps can you take to benefit from the Diabetes Prevention Program?

  1. Sign up for a Diabetes Prevention Program class.
  2. Talk to your health care provider about DPP—it increases awareness.
  3. Visit MN Dept of Health website to learn more about diabetes.

Juniper is excited to provide greater access to the Diabetes Prevention Program. If you are a community provider and would like to add DPP to your class offerings or join our Umbrella Hub Arrangement email Sarah Blonigan.

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