Tillamook couple makes positive health and lifestyle transformation with innovative program

TILLAMOOK, Ore. — When Mandie Phipps was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, she knew that she was going to have to make some significant changes to improve her health. But when her partner, Shawn Parker, decided to join her and include the whole family, they were able to transform their lives for the better.

Columbia Pacific’s Community Advisory Council in Tillamook County teamed up with local health care providers, OSU Extension and Tillamook Family YMCA to offer an evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program that was developed by the Centers for Disease Control for members on Oregon Health Plan. The instructor was trained as a certified Community Health Worker through a partnership that was forged with OSU Extension.
Beginning with diagnosis, the yearlong pilot program encourages participants to learn more about diabetes, diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes. The participants can also join the YMCA for one-third of the cost, the other two thirds are covered by Columbia Pacific CCO and the YMCA.
“My health care provider at Tillamook Regional Medical Center gave me a prescription for the program,” said Phipps. “I realized that this was very serious and that I was going to need to make some significant changes to stay healthy.”
“I joined Mandie for moral support,” said Parker. “But in the first class we took a test where I learned that I was at high risk for pre-diabetes as well. We realized that we were going have to overhaul our entire lifestyle.”
“In the classes, we learned about how to evaluate healthy food choices,” Phipps continued. “We read labels, count calories and fat in everything we eat now. We began to practice good portion control. We have almost cut out all soda and drink water about 90 percent of the time. And we added walking as a family activity in the evenings instead of just hitting the couch and watching TV.”
“We used the activity trail at the middle school, next to our house, as a walking path after dinner to spend quality time together as a family. We focused on our diet first and lost most of our weight. Then we slowly added exercise. Since we started in April, Mandie is down 31 pounds and I’m down 40 pounds. And we are still losing weight, even when we take time off for vacations and holidays. Our children are in sports now as well. It’s helping the whole family be healthy.”
At the end of the first year, program collaborators will decide how to improve or continue this project. More information will be announced.
About Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization
Established in September 2012, Columbia Pacific CCO coordinates health services for more than 25,000 Oregon Health Plan members in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties. For more information, please visit www.colpachealth.org.

Patti Atkins, APR