Diabetes Educator of the Month: Chris Reichert, RN, MS, CDE

Apr 1, 2005

Chris Reichert, RN, MS, CDE, is the director of the Diabetes Care Center at Parkview in the Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado. In 1990, she developed the diabetes program at Parkview and became a certified diabetes educator in 1992.

The program has been recognized by the ADA since 1996.

How did the diabetes self-management education program you coordinated in your community hospital grow to be what it is today?

Our program started with just me in a half-time position in 1990, and it has grown to include two RN/CDEs, one RD/CDE, an office manager, and occasional part-time staff as needed. We have grown because of community need, an excellent department team, effective marketing, a forward-thinking responsive administration and Parkview’s strong customer service and quality-improvement environment.

What gave you the idea to do outreach and focus on diabetes prevention?

Our hospital lives by Deming’s philosophy of quality improvement. We’re very process oriented. Development of type 2 diabetes (which affects 89 percent of our patients) is a process. About five years ago, I began to look at upstream prevention. Publication of the Diabetes Prevention Program results was a huge catalyst.

What type of community is Parkview located in?

The city of Pueblo is located about 100 miles south of Denver. The city has a population of approximately 104,000. Forty-four percent of the city’s residents are of Hispanic/Latino heritage. In the city, 17.8 percent of our residents live at poverty level. About 7.8 percent of Pueblo County residents have diagnosed diabetes. That increases to 10.4 percent when the undiagnosed are added in. With those figures, we estimate that at least another 20 percent of our population has pre-diabetes.

How did you go about obtaining grant funding?

The Colorado Trust funds in-state programs based on various focused initiatives. Diabetes and diabetes prevention became a focus area three to four years ago. The program Steps to a Healthier Pueblo was a competitive process for counties to apply in partnership with the state health department for federal dollars. The legislative appropriation was similar to a grant request and came about after convincing our U.S. representative of the need.

How are you implementing the outreach, and how will you be measuring its success?

Outcome measures include improved knowledge about diabetes, reduced BMI and blood pressure and increased physical activity scores. Long-term outcome would include decreased ER and inpatient admissions due to diabetes complications and decreased (or less of a rise) in health insurance premiums.

How are you promoting the program?

Word of mouth in Pueblo is huge. Other avenues of promotion include our diabetes self-management classes, health fairs, physician mailings, bus kiosks and larger billboards, church bulletins, the local newspaper and public service announcements.

What do you hope to do next?

Obviously, to sustain our work through continued grant funding and in-kind community support. We love this community and its people, and we are passionate about helping all of us live more healthfully. There is so much positive energy here toward achieving that goal.

The Colorado Trust grant is a three-year project to promote worksite wellness with a curriculum based on a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Steps to a Healthier Pueblo is a five-year community and schools project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The project’s goals are to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and reduce the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, asthma and tobacco use.

The third endeavor is a one-year legislative appropriation to fund several projects of the Pueblo Community Diabetes Project (PCDP), including a diabetes prevention outreach project based on the DPP curriculum, which is conducted in small groups throughout the community.

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Categories: CDE of the Month, Diabetes, Diabetes, Professional Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Apr 1, 2005

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