Diabetes Patients Offered Culturally-Sensitive Care Through Group Medical Visit Program

(front row, from left) A team of health providers including Alejandra Limon, medical assistant; Wendy Blanco, RN; Assistant Clinical Professor Vanessa Rodriguez, FNP; and Alma D Diaz, medical assistant/admit worker in Population Health Management at the UC Irvine Family Health Center Santa Ana/Anaheim, work with patients participating in a Diabetes Group Medical Visit.

Spanish-speaking Diabetes patients now have a new program designed just for them.  The Diabetes Group Medical Visit, offered through UCI Health's FQHC in Anaheim and staffed by faculty and alumni from UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, targets the large Spanish-speaking population in Anaheim by offering health education classes taught in Spanish.  The program welcomes the families of patients to join the class, as well in order to increase patient accountability and motivation.  

"This program is a great way for our patients to gather together, learn and understand Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and develop a plan to manage this chronic disease," said Assistant Clinical Professor Vanessa Rodriguez, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,  a new faculty member at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing and leader of the Diabetes Group Medical Visit program in Anaheim.  "We teach our patients ways to decrease their risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure associated with DM through lectures, hands-on activities and exercises. This class is important to help our patients understand diabetes in a more intimate environment."

Patients participating in the Group Medical Visit have the unique opportunity to ask a healthcare professional questions that they may have forgotten to ask during their DM follow up visit, or to have the provider explain something they do not understand in an effort to increase adherence to their diabetes treatment program.  

"This class gives us another opportunity to reinforce what our patients were taught during their medical visit with their PCP," said Rodriguez. "Through additional one-on-one sessions and the Group Medical Visits, we have seen our patients' A1C levels decreasing."

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. It is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research. In addition to tests and other medical aspects of diabetes, the Group Medical Visit offers patients much needed emotional support.  

"We have patients with testimonials on how this program has helped motivate them to eat healthier, exercise and decrease their risks of complications that arise from having Diabetes," added Rodriguez. "Our goal for the diabetes workshop is to continue patient-driven, culturally sensitive care and continue to empower patients. Ultimately, we hope to help patients understand the importance of decreasing their A1c and being able to live a happy and healthier life."

The Diabetes Group Medical Visit is currently offered through UCI Health's FQHC facility in Anaheim. 

Click here for information on how to enroll in the program.