Fresno State alumnus, Rosendo Iniguez, graduated from Fresno State’s Master of Public Health program in the spring of 2015, where he received the Graduate Dean’s Medalist Award for the Division of Student Affairs for his work as a Health PAWS Ambassador. Since then, he’s taken his passion for health education and applied it to his new position as program coordinator of The Diabetes Education Program, based out of the Central Valley. The article below is reprinted from Vida En El Valle, as written by Maria G. Ortiz-Briones. Originally published Dec. 8, 2015.
Thanks to a letter she received from her children’s school, Maria Lopez learned that free classes to self-management diabetes were going to take place at the Goldenrod Elementary School campus in Kerman.
Lopez, who is a mother of three children, said she was diagnosed with Diabetes when she was 40 years old.
Lopez, 49, said in each of her three pregnancies she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and her father also had diabetes, so getting diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago was not a surprise for her considering her family history.
“It’s been hard to make a change,” Lopez said of her struggle to live with diabetes and one of the reasons she wanted to take the self-management diabetes classes.
The classes were offered by The Diabetes Education Program (DEP) of the California Health Collaborative, which in the past year has been offering free self-management diabetes classes in the communities of southwest Fresno and Kerman.
Rosendo Íñiguez, program coordinator for DEP, developed and teaches the six-session educational Spanish curriculum on diabetes self-management for people living with diabetes.
And thanks to the curriculum, Iñiguez has been educating people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in Fresno County about how to better manage the disease.
The classes are one hour and take place twice a week for three consecutive weeks, with class attendance averaging almost 20 people per class, he said.
Throughout the year the DEP provided free diabetes self-management classes at nine sites throughout Southwest Fresno and Kerman including Columbia Elementary School (Fresno); Sequoia Courts Apartments (Fresno); Fairview Heights Terrace Apartments (Fresno); Bridges at Florence Apartments (Fresno); Goldenrod Elementary School (Kerman); Kerman Senior Citizen Center (Kerman); Kerman Covenant Church (Kerman); United Health Centers (Kerman) and Valley Health Team (Kerman).
According to Iñiguez, a total of 188 participants have attended the diabetes self-management classes sessions.
“The pre/post-tests indicates an increase in physical activity, a decrease in sugary beverage consumption, and an increase in knowledge regarding diabetes self-management,” said Iñiguez of some of the positive results from the program in the community. “However, the vast majority of the participants were unaware of their hemoglobin A1C, which is crucial for diabetes self-management.”
Iñiguez said The Diabetes Education Program “will increase its effort to encourage its diabetic participants to obtain an A1C test every three months.”
Iñiguez said no all the participant in the classes had diabetes themselves, but some attended to learn how to improve their own health.
“One participant from the Kerman Senior Citizen Center shared that she does not have diabetes, but that she has implemented the tips provided by the DEP and has lost 10 pounds,” he said. “She shared this with her doctor and the doctor encouraged her to continue attending.”
Iñiguez said The DEP had participants that attend the classes more than once at different sites and many have also invited a family member.
“Although the DEP has experienced success thus far, it will continue to strive to improve its services to the community of West Fresno and Kerman,” Iñiguez said.
He said The DEP will be offering diabetes self-management classes at West Fresno Middle School and Kerman High School beginning in late January 2016.
“The DEP is currently seeking opportunities to expand its services to other cities in the county,” Iñiguez said.
According to Iñiguez, The DEP is currently in discussion with Valley Health Team to implement additional diabetes self-management classes in English and Punjabi in the near future and participants are not required to be Valley Health Team patients.