Most groups at the end of a year of the NKFM’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) are more than ready to go it alone. However, for a group of nine women, predominantly African American, in metro Detroit, DPP was just the beginning. These eight ladies plus their DPP coach, who are in their 50s through 70s and come from various areas of Wayne and Oakland County, gained more than improved health in the DPP, the CDC-certified yearlong lifestyle change program. They became friends, staying in touch after the program ended. They also continue to meet regularly on Zoom, just as they did when DPP went virtual after COVID hit. In Fall 2020, the group, who had christened themselves “The DPP Ladies of Inkster”, completed their second Detroit MOTTEP (Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program) 5k LifeWalk.
Some DPP groups lose participants along the way, but this group started together, learned together, supported one another, walked together and, as a group, despite the challenges of COVID, is still together. Octavia Smith from the Western Wayne Family Health Center in Inkster was their DPP lifestyle coach and remains a part of the group. They chat through Zoom and group texts, touching base with each other at least twice a week. They still track their steps and remain conscious of their fitness, and of their eating.
In March 2019, the ladies qualified for the class because they all had prediabetes. After becoming classmates they:
-formed a group friendship
-supported each other
-formed a walking group to meet their fitness goals
-trained together for the fall MOTEPP 5K LIFE Walk 2019 (a first for all). MOTEPP stands for Gift of Life’s Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program Foundation in Detroit.
-walked as “The DPP Ladies of Inkster” in the above 5K
-moved to DPP on Zoom when COVID ended in-person meetings in spring 2020
-completed the DPP in May 2020
-stayed in touch after the program ended through Zoom and group texts
-celebrated their first anniversary of completing DPP by walking separately in the virtual MOTEPP 5K LIFE Walk 2020
-remain close friends today, connecting virtually about twice a week
DPP participant Cynthia Hicks, a retired nurse and self-described “overachiever”, was so impressed with her DPP group that she chronicled their journey from classmates to friends. The title is “Not Given to the Swift”, referring to the considerable length of time it takes to learn and master healthy lifestyle habits. “The DPP Ladies of Inkster are more knowledgeable,” says Cynthia. “But something magical happened along the way… None of this would have been quite the same without each other.” Read Cynthia’s story here.