NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County held a special graduation ceremony on June 30 for 171 patients who successfully completed its Diabetes Self-Management Education Program. The annual event marks the graduates’ successful completion of a six-class series that helps patients learn how to control their blood pressure, reduce A1C blood glucose levels, eat healthier, exercise, and best manage their condition. This year, Kings County celebrated the largest cohort of graduates from the program.
A group of 2016 graduates who completed NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County’s Diabetes Self-Management Education Program display their certificates.
“This event is a way for us to recognize the empowerment of our patients to manage their diabetes and live a long, healthy life,” said Suzette Williams, MSN, FNP-BC, CDE, Director of the Diabetes Resource Center. “For many of our patients, this was the first graduation ceremony they have ever attended. Our care team was thrilled to honor the success of so many of our diabetic patients in the presence of their friends and families.”
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County offers diabetes self-management classes in three languages: English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. Program graduate Gerda Delpe, who is a Haitian Creole speaker, said she felt more comfortable participating in the program because she could learn the skills she needed in her native language. “It was so much easier for me to understand what I needed to do to manage my diabetes,” Delpe said. “Now, I’m urging my friends and family members to take the classes, too.”
Several patients talked about their positive experiences in the program during the graduation and many were recognized for achieving excellent results. Program graduate Burt Hurwitz, who is also a Kings County Hospital employee, was diagnosed with diabetes last summer. Today, his A1C levels are in the normal range and he’s about 30 pounds lighter. “I’m so grateful to the Kings County diabetes team for helping me get healthier,” Hurwitz said.
The graduation ceremony ended with a healthy lunch and patients posing proudly for photos with their certificates of achievement. Program alumna LaTanya Flemmings also shared words of encouragement with the recent graduates. “Thanks to Kings County and this program, I don’t live with diabetes — diabetes lives with me. I control it, and so can you,” she said.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County’s diabetes management team [l to r]: Catherine Williams, PCA; Fabiola Buddan-Mais, LPN; Marie Telusma, LPN; Suzette Williams, FNP, CDE; Audrelle Daniels, RN HN; Eva Cooper, ADN; Anayo Ikeme, RN, CDE; Hazel Thomas, RD, CDE; and Melissa Lee, MD
A number of Kings County Hospital providers also spoke at the event, including Suzette Williams; Opal Sinclair-Chung, RN, Chief Nursing Officer; and Melissa Lee, MD, Director of Primary Care. The educators who teach the classes in the three languages addressed the group as well, including: Fabiola Buddan-Mais, LPN (Spanish); Marie Telusma, LPN (Creole); and English educators Pauline Winters, RN, HN; Anaya Ikeme Ed. D, RN, CDE; and Hazel Thomas, RD, CDE. A special “poem of inspiration” was also delivered by Catherine Williams, PCA.
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation with a network of 11 hospitals including six regional trauma centers, community-based health centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, and a correctional health services unit. The system includes a home care agency and a health plan, MetroPlus. The health system provides essential services to 1.2 million New Yorkers every year in more than 70 locations across the five boroughs. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees are uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. Visit nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected: https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter@NYCHealthSystem.