The Department of Family Medicine at The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) has joined forces with the community to combat diabetes, a chronic disabling condition, that is epidemic in the borough. To help, the department is offering a free Diabetes Club that meets on the last Friday of each month to teach participants about nutrition, exercise, and the skills necessary to successfully manage the disease.
“TBHC is working hard to educate people about diabetes, which is devastating our community,” says TBHC president and CEO Richard Becker, M.D. “More than one in eight New Yorkers has diabetes, but the number of people with diabetes in Brooklyn is second only to the Bronx.
According to Victoria Dantchenko, M.D., the family physician at TBHC who runs the club, the key to successfully controlling the disease and preventing multiple complications lies in the patient's understanding of the illness, and desire to change dietary habits and lifestyle. “Controlling diabetes is a lifelong process,” says Dr. Dantchenko, explaining that each meeting features a formal presentation, followed by a discussion. “We give club participants information about nutrition, exercise and medication in a supportive environment so they will have the tools necessary to manage the disease. Our discussions help participants share ideas, concerns, and successes with people who are encountering the same obstacles on their road to well being. The club is so empowering that many participants bring friends and relatives.”
According to Dr. Dantchenko, the club concentrates on four primary topics that cycle through the year: introduction to diabetes, including patient objectives, control, nutrition, the importance of doctor’s visits, and A1C goals; nutritional information, including complex carbohydrates versus simple carbohydrates, how to read labels and effective shopping; and how to exercise safely. Each session also covers medications, side effects and the latest information.
The club meets at 5 p.m. on the first Friday of the month at the Family Practice Clinic in TBHC’s Maynard Building conference room. Meetings are scheduled to run for one hour, but discussions generally run over. For additional information, call 718-250-8621.