Our YMCAs are transitioning many of the evidence-based health initiatives (EBHI) to a virtual platform during a COVID-19 era. And our communities appreciate that support.
A Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) participant at the Twin Rivers YMCA was worried about how she would continue her wellness journey without weekly in-person meetings when the Y closed. After the Y launched DPP virtually, she shared this with YMCA staff: “I had come to rely on the continual connection to the group. YMCA staff saved the day by connecting us via the Internet!! It has been helpful to me to keep me on track with the daily journals. I look forward to the ‘life ring’ of video conferencing being tossed my way to help me stay afloat!”
Angela Rogers, Community Integrated Health Consultant for the NC Alliance of YMCAs, has worked closely with NC Healthy Living leads and Y-USA to coordinate this shift in programming for DPP, Blood Pressure Self-monitoring Program (BPSM), LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, Healthy Weight and Your Child, Moving for Better Balance, and Weight Loss.
“As we transition our programs to the virtual space, we have an opportunity to serve all of our North Carolina communities. In the past, some of our Ys did not have the capacity to offer some evidence-based programs; now with our virtual programming ability that will no longer be a barrier, “ Rogers said. “The Y’s effective programs will continue to help prevent or manage chronic disease across all 100 North Carolina counties.”
The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina is launching new classes this month, starting with DPP, BPSM, and Healthy Weight and Your child programs, followed by Moving for Better Balance.
“Our YMCA is one of the first in the nation to offer these programs virtually,” explains Bridget Carroll, program coordinator at the YMCA of Southeastern NC. “While social distancing practices are in place, we are encouraging anyone that is at-risk for chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or childhood obesity to make the most out of this time at home and consider participating in these programs to lower their risk, and improve their health.”
Six other NC YMCA associations are also offering the BPSM program and working toward a 25% increase in enrollment, 25% increase in program offerings and a 25% increase in referrals across the state. Rogers said that most of those Ys are part of YUSA’s hypertension control grant, and they are working collaboratively to support each other in this work.