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Programs and Classes

Step Up Diabetes Lifestyle Management Program

The Step Up program is for people recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, as well as those living with type 1 diabetes. Through structured exercise, nutrition and meal planning, behavioral support, and medication management, the Step Up Program helps participants gain and maintain healthy lifestyles. Contact us at 413-586-1601 for dates and location.

Diabetes Basic Class Series

The Diabetes Basic Class Series instructors teach and review basic information for anyone with diabetes.

  • Class I (2 hrs): Overview of diabetes, diabetes care and goal setting
  • Class II (2 hrs): Nutrition
  • Class III (2 hrs): Medications, preventing complications
  • Class IV (1.5 hrs): Exercise, coping
  • Follow-Up Refresher Class(1.5 hrs): Staying or getting back on track
Insulin Pump Therapy Program

We provide individual and group education as well as support for insulin pump therapy, including individualized pump start and follow-up visits. The program consists of:

Diabetes Tech 101
  • Is insulin pump therapy right for you? (2 hrs.)
  • Preparation for insulin pumping (2 hrs.)
 Advanced Pump Classes
  • Site care, hospitalization, time off the pump and trouble-shooting (2 hrs.)
  • Tweaking your basal (slow-acting insulin) rates and bolus (fast-acting insulin) doses (2 hrs.)
  • Better bolusing and temporary basal rates

For more information about these classes, view the classes and events page or call 413-586-1601.

Cooking Class for People with Diabetes

Learn how to cook quick meals that are healthy and affordable, and that you will enjoy. This class is held monthly on the third Monday at 6 pm at The Baker’s Pin at 34 Bridge Street in Northampton (across from the post office). Registration is required and space is limited to 12 participants per class. Cost: $5 per person.

Living Well with Diabetes

This series is offered on the second Wednesday of each month. Speakers address issues that are common to people living with diabetes. Contact us at 413-586-1601 to inquire about upcoming dates.

Supermarket Tours

Walk the aisles of Stop & Shop on these healthy food tours, in search of diabetic-friendly meal options. The program is free, but you must register in advance as tour size is limited. People living with diabetes and their families are encouraged to attend. Our certified diabetes educators conduct the tours in Northampton, Hadley, and Greenfield. View the classes and events page for dates and locations.

You can inquire about these services through the Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center:

Other Services
  • Individual assessment and follow-up sessions with diabetes educators and dieticians
  • Medical nutrition therapy assessments with Diabetes Center registered dietitians

Stepping Up

Managing Diabetes through Diet and Exercise

A “disheartening diagnosis” is what Alicia Guidotti thought when her doctor told her she had type 2 diabetes.

Knowing how diabetes had affected her father and brother—including amputations and disability—Guidotti initially feared she wouldn’t know how to manage a chronic illness. But, mootivated and aware of a local resource, she stepped up to the challenge of managing her diabetes.

Gaining a New Perspective
Guidotti’s doctor referred her to the Center for Excellence in Diabetes Education, a program offered through Cooley Dickinson Hospital, where she gained knowledge and support. Initially, she changed her diet, but other lifestyle changes proved problematic, so she enrolled in Step Up, a diabetes lifestyle management program.

Getting Motivated
“Exercise was my biggest hurdle,” said Guidotti, 63, who in addition to her diabetes suffers from arthritis in her knees. She quickly learned that regular physical activity is important to someone living with—and successfully managing—diabetes, along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed, and reducing stress.

“The Step Up staff altered my fitness program to incorporate swimming, and I did other exercises that preserved my knees. They made me feel good about my progress and helped me put into perspective how to make my health a priority,” added Guidotti.

Lessons Learned
From April through June, 2013, Guidotti attended sessions with eight other participants where she exercised three times a week under the watchful eyes of exercise coaches, registered nurses, and behavioral therapists. One session per week was devoted to education, including strategies for changing behavior and preparing and cooking healthy, diabetic-friendly meals.

“The education and the camaraderie were very important, and helps me to this day,” Guidotti said, noting that when she “falls off the exercise wagon” she plays back in her mind the encouragement that came from her fellow Step Up classmates and her coaches.

A New Approach
By the start of 2014, Guidotti had decreased her blood sugar, or A1C score, from 6.8 to 6.0, and lost 15 pounds. Research shows that a one percent drop in A1C levels correlates to reduced death from diabetes by 25 percent, while the risk of nerve damage, vision loss, and kidney disease drops by 35 percent.

“With my family history, it is a major accomplishment that I am able to stay off medication. I have learned to maintain the quality of life I want using the tools I have learned,” said Guidotti.

To others facing a similar diagnosis, Guidotti advised: “Diabetes is not your fault and you are not alone.”

About Step Up
Step Up offers a group approach to structured exercise, as well as nutrition and meal planning, behavioral coaching and support, and medication management. To learn more or to sign up for the next available Step Up session, call 413-586-1601.

Cooley Dickinson Medical Group Diabetes Center

CONTACT 413-586-1601

OFFICE HOURS Monday - Thursday, 8 am - 5 pm;
Friday, 8 am - 3 pm

Location & Directions 22 Atwood Drive
Northampton, MA 01060

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