I DO - Improving Diabetes Outcomes

Kennan Wethington, left, regional vice president of sales for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky, presents a $150,000 check to Dr. Frederick deBeer, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and Fran Feltner, Director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, during a ceremony announcing the improving Diabetic Outcomes (I DO) initiative.

Kentucky Homeplace has announced a $150,000 gift to expand its diabetes self-management education efforts in 26 Eastern Kentucky counties.

The funding, provided by the Anthem Foundation, will support the Improving Diabetes Outcomes (I DO) initiative. In the project, Kentucky Homeplace will focus even more attention on counseling diabetic clients about the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Specific emphases will include better food choices and exercise habits, with goals of lowering clients’ blood glucose levels and body mass indices.

“We will use this gift to increase our diabetic clients’ self-management knowledge, thus improving outcomes that lead to a reduction in complications caused by diabetes,” said Fran Feltner, a registered nurse and director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health-Hazard, where Kentucky Homeplace is based. “I would like to thank the Anthem Foundation for enabling us to offer this much-needed service.”

The mission of Kentucky Homeplace − the University of Kentucky’s award-winning community health worker program − is to provide access to medical, social and environmental services for residents of rural Kentucky. The program’s workers are employed from within the communities they serve and are trained to deliver education on prevention and disease self-management.

Most Eastern Kentucky counties have unusually high rates of diabetes, which is a major contributing factor to such health complications as blindness, lower extremity amputations and heart disease. Self-management education can empower diabetic patients to monitor medications, nutrition, physical activity levels, and other aspects of their own condition.

“On behalf of UK and UK HealthCare, we would like to thank the Anthem Foundation for this gracious gift,” said Dr. Frederick de Beer, dean of the UK College of Medicine. “It will positively impact many lives in Eastern Kentucky. Through its wonderful team of community health workers, who offer access to life-changing health care services, Kentucky Homeplace has proven to be a tremendous asset for people across Kentucky. With funding provided by this gift, Kentucky Homeplace will be able to offer even more assistance to its Eastern Kentucky clients who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, leading to a better quality of life and potentially saving lives.”

“Teaming up with Kentucky Homeplace fits Anthem’s mission to improve the health and the lives of the people in our communities,” said Deb Moessner, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky. “Kentucky ranks 47th in the nation for the number of adults with diabetes. I’m confident this program will help begin to turn the tide and decrease the prevalence of this disease.”

The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health-Hazard works to improve the health of Kentuckians through education, research, health care services and community engagement.