As struggles continue nationwide with Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and sedentary lifestyles—physicians and healthcare providers search for ways to not just tell people what they should do to spark change—but show them.
In some community-based clinics built by UT Physicians, your health care provider can “prescribe” no-cost educational classes that are making a huge impact on patients.
From cooking, nutrition and tai chi to yoga and diabetes education, patients are sharing first-hand how the classes play an important role in their lives.
Shan Chen first started attending the yoga class at UT Physicians – Southwest in September 2017.
“It totally changed my thinking about coming to a clinic,” says Chen. “I enjoy the instructions by the teacher. I feel very comfortable when I am here. It releases my tension and it has made my body stronger.”
Chen recommended it to her sister, Ying Chen, who now attends regularly. “She said, ‘come with me.’ I did, and it has helped my health,” says Ying Chen. “Last year, I was in the hospital and needed to do something about it. I like that I have learned how to exercise here—and can do it at home now, too.”
Chen agrees with a smile and winks at her sister. “I am the younger sister. I forced her to come. I told her physical activity will be good for you. She enjoys it now,” says Chen, with a little laugh. “Everybody can do it.”
Jing Zhou, M.S.N., is a nurse practitioner at UT Physicians – Southwest and believes in the idea of expanding patient options to promote healthy lifestyles. “The clinic provides a full-range, patient-centered approach to health care,” she says. “Along with the wellness educational activities, patients are also supported by a care team comprised of a case manager, social worker, health educator, and community health worker who collaborate to coordinate and manage patient care. I can refer them to these options to improve their lives. I really love this clinic. We always work like a team to help our patients.”
On the advice of Zhou, Sue Lee began attending classes. “The yoga teacher is inspiring,” says Lee. “I think to myself—that is how fit I want to be. I like Ms. Zhou. She is very patient. She gives me time to ask questions and never rushes me.”
For Amy Hedges, the educational resources have provided a sense of calm during her health challenges. “I was impressed with the classes,” she says. “It gave me more energy and stamina. You can come with a very busy mind and find focus here. I would encourage anyone with chronic illnesses to try it. Get on board with it now. Don’t be afraid to come and do it. If you can’t do everything, they will show you how to modify it.”
Health programs at UT Physicians include a Diabetes Education Empowerment Program (DEEP), Diabetes Self-Management Education, Hatha yoga, organic gardening, tai chi, nutrition and cooking classes.