Down with Diabetes

 “Down with Diabetes,” a health literacy program developed by Manatee Technical Institute and funded by Florida Blue via the Florida Literacy Coalition, is in full swing in the upper level classes of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Manatee Tech.  The students are learning how to detect and prevent diabetes.

        Late last school year, Manatee Technical Institute was awarded a one-year $4,480 grant for the implementation of a health literacy program to benefit its Adult ESOL and family literacy students.

        The Florida Blue grant is allowing Manatee Tech to integrate health and nutrition into the Adult ESOL curriculum.   The focus is to help students acquire information and resources that will help them navigate the medical system and make informed health decisions.

        “The feedback has been tremendous from these students,” said assistant director Linda Agresta. “Diabetes is a subject they don’t know very much about.  We’re so grateful to Florida Blue for the opportunity.”

        Students are learning about making healthy food choices and the connection between diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  By the end of the class, they will understand diabetes risk factors, the glycemic index of foods and its effect on blood glucose levels.  Their final project will be to complete meal plans with low-glycemic-index foods and put their plans in a booklet they can share with their classmates, families, and friends.

        The health literacy project is a joint effort between Manatee Tech’s Adult ESOL program and Manatee Tech’s Patient Care Technician program. The PCT program instructor, Janet Gallagher, RN, EMT-P, is also teaching the diabetes class.  As a service learning project for SkillsUSA, her high school PCT students will assist her by checking the Adult ESOL students’ blood glucose levels on October 28.

        The Manatee Tech Adult ESOL program has students from over 60 countries in classes from Foundations to Advanced levels.  Most are learning English to enhance career opportunities.  The PCT students qualify for different career opportunities at each occupational completion point of their program.  Upon finishing, most will continue to the Practical Nurse program.

        For more information about the project, please call Linda Agresta at 941.209.6800 x 2201.

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