Leah Yingling

What has been the highlight of your year of service thus far?

Seeing my initiatives and efforts become a reality. As the Diabetes Patient Specialist at the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center, I meet one-on-one with patients to set diabetes self-management goals, I co-lead Diabetes Group Visits, I organize our Diabetes Awareness Day, but most importantly I am initiating a new program to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes among our prediabetic patient population. Prediabetes means having a blood glucose level that is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be technically diagnosed as diabetes.

As of November 13th, I am certified to lead Group Lifestyle Balance-- a year-long comprehensive lifestyle behavior change program intended to reverse the prediabetes diagnosis and initiate a lifestyle change among my patient population. The Group Lifestyle Balance is a workshop offered by the Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC) at the University of Pittsburgh. I was able to attend the two-day workshop after receiving a scholarship from the DPSC. The GLB program will target a cohort of prediabetic patients who are willing to make lifelong lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of diabetes. GLB reduces the risk of diabetes among our prediabetic patient population which translates to cost savings within our local health systems. In 2012, diabetes cost our nation 245 billion dollars. People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes.

Diabetes is an epidemic, and we can be the prevention.