By Jamal Thomas
Montgomery, AL- If you have little or no health insurance, then you probably go the emergency room every time you get sick. Sometimes you decide not to go because of your inability to pay the hospital bill. Don’t even talk about a prescription! Nevertheless, if you have a chronic illness you have no idea how to find a primary care provider. The Wellness Coalition knows that there are people like you. That is why they work to help communities get the healthcare that they need.
“We are breaking barriers” said Executive Director Molly Stone. “We help improve access to healthcare for the underserved in the River Region.”
The Wellness Coalition was established when a group of health care providers came together to work on improving health care for individuals with chronic diseases and little or no insurance. They currently serve five counties in the River Region: Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon, and Montgomery.
With social programs in place, The Wellness Coalition has helped improve the quality of life for many individuals and families. One program is Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), REACH was established to create healthier communities for populations experiencing chronic disease health disparities. Through REACH, The Wellness Coalition has improved access to healthy food through the Healthy Corner Store Program and Community Garden Training Program.
In addition to REACH, The Wellness Coalition established the River Region’s first CDC-recognized Diabetes Program, Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life (CYL2). CYL2 reduces the risk for Type 2 diabetes and many other chronic conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. The goal of the program is to help participants lose 5 to 7% of body weight. Participants get their own coach to teach them how to eat healthy foods and increase physical activity. “It’s an educational support group and there is a lot of comradery built in the class” says Stone.
According to Stone, CYL2 has really taken off. The program is only in its second year and already has some success stories. A total of 99 individuals participated in the program last year. In addition, research showed that there were 58% less incidents of developing Type 2 diabetes. “I am really happy with this program because it fits in so well with the high needs we have in this area” Stone said. “We have high rates of obesity and diabetes in the River Region. This is something we have to get a handle on.”
The Wellness Coalition works to improve the health and wellness of people with limited or no health insurance in Central Alabama through collaboration, services, and education. For more information visit www.thewellnesscoalition.org or call (334) 293-6502.
All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine. Copyright 2019.