At left is Theresa Hoyles who is a RD from Winona Health, and at right is German Victoria, who was the interpreter from Project FINE.

Learning to live with diabetes


Being diagnosed with diabetes can be scary and trying to manage the condition can feel daunting.

To help support people living with diabetes, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), Winona Health, and Project FINE partnered to create a diabetes group education pilot program that was interpreted in Spanish. Two classes were offered to eight Spanish-speaking individuals living with diabetes and five family members or friends. Participants received recipes, a food-plan guide, and a basic guide to diabetes.
Topics included what diabetes is, how to treat or manage it, basic nutrition information, blood-sugar targets, how to prevent complications from high or low blood sugar, how diabetes changes over time, and how to take diabetes medication safely.

Each class began with a healthy meal and included education about appropriate portion sizes. During the break, movement was incorporated.

The program was taught by Theresa Hoyles, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Winona Health. “The class provided basic information to help manage diabetes. We gave participants the knowledge and skills to live the longest, healthiest life possible, and we worked with them to find out what would work with their lifestyle,” said Hoyles.

Since taking the class, 100 percent of respondents indicated their knowledge about diabetes had increased either slightly (three people) or increased greatly (four people). In addition, 57 percent of respondents said they are more active following the class, 86 percent of respondents are making healthier food choices, and 100 percent of respondents would recommend this class to a friend with diabetes.

“Sometimes it’s hard to do things that are good for you, and classes like this one motivate me to do them,” said one participant.

“I think the classes are very interesting, especially because it taught me how we should eat and what to do if my blood sugar is high or low. I learned good exercises. Thank you; I hope these classes will be repeated again in the future,” said another participant.

Winona County PartnerSHIP is the local grantee of the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, and collaborates with many partners to help people live longer, healthier, better lives. Visit to learn more.


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